Raikkonen sets record-breaking pole for Italian GP

Photo by: www.kymillman.com/f1

It’s been a long time since Ferrari claimed pole position for its home grand prix at Monza but with a new power unit and a week-old win in their pocket, The Scuderia are looking to repeat their 2010 pole position glory.

Just like a week ago, however, the dark gray clouds managed to threaten Ferrari’s attempt as the rain seems to favor Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. The German car just seems to fare better on the intermediate and full wet tires.

Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg acquired penalties along with Marcus Ericsson for taking a new engine and all three will start from the back of the grid.


With the dark clouds overhead, Ferrari sent Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen out immediately and Seb was out front ahead of 10 other cars to put in his banker lap. Raikkonen led his teammate by six tenths with a 1:20.937s.

Lewis Hamilton brought his Mercedes out for his banker lap with 12:30s left in the session on a set of Supersoft tires. The middle sector or S2 favored Lewis with the fastest time and he joined his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, in 3rd and 4th respectively just behind a brace of Ferrari’s. Vettel completed an additional lap and jumped to the top with a 1:20.758s.

Max Verstappen made his initial run in Q1 to find 5th position and that’s about where team boss Christian Horner said they would qualify given their lack of power. Esteban Ocon put in a quick lap slotting in P6 for his first run and Fernando Alonso managed to drag his McLaren up to 9th which was a better performance than last weekend in Belgium.

Daniel Ricciardo put in a nice lap with 2.45s left in the session and shoved his Red Bull up to 4th place. With 1:30 left in the session, the battle to avoid elimination was between the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin and Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson hovering in 14th and 15th respectively. Could either Toro Rosso or Stoffel Vandoorne knock them out?

Out in Q1- Ericsson, Vandoorne, Leclerc, Hartley, Perez missed Q2 by one millisecond.


Ferrari, once again, were out early in Q2 as were both Mercedes with Hamilton and Bottas. Lewis took the top spot with a 1:19.798s but Vettel quickly eclipsed the time with a 1:19.785s. Raikkonen’s Ferrari in third behind Hamilton.

With 9:15s left in the session, Ocon managed to shove his Force India into 6th just behind Verstappen’s Red Bull as both Haas F1 cars ran nose-to-tail in 7th and 8th. Renault’s Carlos Sainz managed to move up to 7th.

With 2:30s left in the session, all the cars came out at the same time and began trying to elbow out enough room to make a hot lap. Bottas lead Hamilton for a possible tow and Vettel following Hamilton for a possible tow with Sirotkin following Vettel for a possible tow down the long straights.

Out in Q2- Hulkenberg, Alonso, Sirotkin, Ricciardo, Hartley, Magnusen


The sun began to shine meaning that the wet weather advantage Mercedes seem to have wouldn’t’ come into play in Q3 and this meant that Ferrari might be able to have a shot at pole position for their home grand prix.

The Ferrari’s led the Mercedes duo and it looked as if Vettel in the lead may give Raikkonen a bit of a tow. Kimi set a 1:19.4 and Lewis Hamilton immediately setting a 1:19.390s to set a new lap record. Sector 2 was where Lewis had been strong most of the day and it paid dividends by securing top spot.

For the final runs, Bottas led Hamilton for a possible tow with Vettel ahead of Raikkonen which was a bit surprising. With Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen all running nose-to-tail, the running order was turned upside and down and reversed in order. Raikkonen, Vettel and Hamilton were the top three in that order. 1:19.119s at nearly 164mph average and Kimi has pole with Ferrari locking out front row.

1Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1m19.119s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1m19.280s0.161s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m19.294s0.175s
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1m19.656s0.537s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1m20.615s1.496s
6Romain GrosjeanHaas/Ferrari1m20.936s1.817s
7Carlos SainzRenault1m21.041s1.922s
8Esteban OconForce India/Mercedes1m21.099s1.980s
9Pierre GaslyToro Rosso/Honda1m21.350s2.231s
10Lance StrollWilliams/Mercedes1m21.627s2.508s
11Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1m21.669s2.550s
12Sergey SirotkinWilliams/Mercedes1m21.732s2.613s
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/Renault1m22.568s3.449s
14Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m21.888s2.769s
15Charles LeclercSauber/Ferrari1m21.889s2.770s
16Brendon HartleyToro Rosso/Honda1m21.934s2.815s
17Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren/Renault1m22.085s2.966s
18Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1m22.048s2.929s
19Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault
20Nico HulkenbergRenault
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Fast Freddy

Did the stewards make a decision on the Magnussen – Alonso incident?


No further action.


Ricciardo is on just a terrible spate of rotten luck. Last five grand prix:

Austria–Retired due to PU failure
Great Britian–Runs fine and comes in fifth
Germany–20th on grid due to PU penalties
Hungary–Eliminated in Q2 due to team botching wet quali strategy
Belgium–Caught from behind by collateral damage from Hulkenberg’s crash
Now Italy–Starts somewhere in the back two rows due to PU penalties

I wonder if he’s having a bit of buyer’s remorse about the Renault decision, considering his two races since the decision have been ruined by his future teammate and the Renault power unit.


I’m really excited for the race tomorrow. It should be a nail biter, if they get out of the first chicane ok.


I know I’m cynical. Bit did anybody else think that Seb sacrificed pole so that he could give Kimi a tow and have him on the front row with him, otherwise Kimi would have ended up 4th and not able to block the Mercs.