Raikkonen leads an all Ferrari front row in qualifiers

  Kimi Raikkonen led an all Ferrari front row start in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday. On the slowest track but most challeging track in the calendar, securing pole position here is more of a reward than anywhere else; locking out the front row is a synonym for sensational team work.

The last one-two for the team on the grid in the Principality dates back to 2008. A perfect lap crowned Raikkonen’s performance through the weekend so far, giving him his 17th pole position in F1. Team mate Sebastian Vettel’s lap was only slightly less perfect, with a gap of just over 4 hundredths of a second to his team-mate at the finish line. “It’s great to be on pole position! This is one of the races where it is probably most important to be at the front. Half of the job is done, but we still have a big challenge in front of us tomorrow. So far so good, I’m happy with the car. This is a very special place, it’s been a bit tricky to get everything working as we wanted, but in qualifying things fell into place: and very small things make a massive difference in the lap time here. Hopefully on Sunday we can get a great result with both cars,” Raikkonen said.

As for Vettel, he’s not making any excuses for missing out on pole. “I am not happy with myself because pole position was up for grabs, but it’s great for the team. If I had to give up pole position and hand it to someone, I would choose Kimi (Raikkonen). He did a very good job in qualifying. As I said, it’s been fantastic for the team, but I am not totally happy with my performance in qualifying.”

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas will lead off from the second row, having qualified third; ahead of Redbull’s Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton failed to make the cut in top ten for the first time in a long time. He struggled for grip throughout the session and was eliminated in Q2, after being unable to complete a lap that would have put him into Q3 (14th) owing to yellow flags for a crashed car.

The second Redbull of Daniel Ricciardo will lead off row three, with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz in the mix. “In Q3 we did one lap and we needed to push hard on the out lap to really get the tyres ready and warm, the ultrasofts are not that soft here and need to be worked hard. We came out and had cars in front of us and it seemed like I had a gap behind me, I don’t know why we didn’t wait for that gap so that I could push in the out lap. So I started the lap with the tyres not where I wanted them and obviously around here that’s a big thing, as is getting it right in qualifying,” a frustrated Ricciardo commented.

Force india is well represented by Sergio Perez on the fourth row, who qualified seventh. Haas’ Romain Grosjean qualified eighth to share the fourth row with Perez.

Both McLarens made the cut into the top ten with Jenson Button in ninth and the rookie Stoffel Vandoorne, tenth. Button’s return to the team immediately proved rather effective, but we’ll wait until the conclusion of the race to see…

2017 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix qualifying Q3

1 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:12.178
2 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:12.221
3 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:12.223
4 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING 1:12.496
5 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING 1:12.998
6 55 Carlos Sainz TORO ROSSO 1:13.162
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA 1:13.329
8 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS 1:13.349
9 22 Jenson Button MCLAREN 1:13.613
10 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN 1:13.249 (Q2)