Kimi Raikkonen beats title duo to Italian pole

Kimi Raikkonen delighted the tifosi as he clocked the fastest ever lap in Formula 1 to take pole position for the Italian GP, beating title rivals Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

Finn triumphed after a thrilling fight with team-mate Vettel and Mercedes’ Hamilton, setting the fastest lap in Formula 1 history in the process.

It was a tense start to qualifying at Monza as dark clouds threatened overhead. A few drops fell in the build-up to the afternoon session with the FIA forecasting an 80 percent chance of rain.

This led to a busy start to Q1 with even the Ferraris heading out in the first few minutes.

Sebastian Vettel finished the opening segment fastest with his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen second. The Finn, though, ended the session asking Ferrari to check the floor of his SF71H after hitting the kerbs at Turn 8.

Out went Sergio Perez; Charles Leclerc; Brendon Hartley; Marcus Ericsson and Stoffel Vandoorne. Perez missed out by 0.001s.

Q2 saw Lewis Hamilton break into the 1:19s but even that wasn’t enough to hold off Vettel. A 1:19.785 for the German, who upped his pace to a 1:19.629.

Valtteri Bottas had a moment as he spun on a damp patch at the entry to the pit lane while seeming to turn towards the weighbridge.

Out went Kevin Magnussen, Sergey Sirotkin and Fernando Alonso – who at one stage ran side-by-side with Magnussen as he got a big tow from the Haas driver and tried to pass him into Turn 1 – as well as Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. The latter two have grid penalties and therefore did not set a time in Q2.

The Alonso versus Magnussen incident will be investigated by stewards after qualifying.

Title protagonists Vettel and Hamilton continued to fight amongst themselves in Q3 as they chased that all-important pole position.

Hamilton drew first blood in Q3 with a 1:19.390, the fastest ever lap at Monza. Raikkonen went second while Vettel was third after running wide. A tenth of a second separated the trio.

On his final run, Hamilton upped his pace only to be pipped by Vettel. Then came Raikkonen, using the tow from both.

A 1:19.119 saw the Finn take pole by 0.161s ahead of Vettel. Hamilton was a further tenth off the pace.

Bottas was fourth ahead of Verstappen, Romain Grosjean and Carlos Sainz.

Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll completed the top ten.

Times
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:19.119
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 0.161s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.175s
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.537s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1.496s
6 Romain Grosjean Haas 1.817s
7 Carlos Sainz Renault 1.922s
8 Esteban Ocon Force India 1.98s
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 2.231s
10 Lance Stroll Williams 2.508s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:21.669
12 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:21.732
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:22.568
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault no time
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull no time
16 Sergio Perez Force India 1:21.888
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:21.889
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:21.934
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:22.048
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:22.085

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