Raikkonen on Monaco pole after nightmare qualifying for Hamilton

© XPB 

Kimi Raikkonen will start from pole position for the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, with his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel alongside him on the front row.

It's the Finn's first pole since France in 2008, his second in Monaco and the 17th of his Formula 1 career. That makes it a gap of 129 races since he started from the front. It sets a new record for the biggest interval between poles in F1 history.

Mercedes Valtteri Bottas was just two thousandths of a second behind and will line up in third place on the grid alongside Red Bull's Max Verstappen. The Dutch teen's team mate Daniel Ricciardo will start from fifth place.

Carlos Sainz qualified in sixth place ahead of Force India's Sergio Perez, with Haas' Romain Grosjean in eighth ahead of Jenson Button. Unfortunately, the Briton will start at the back following a 15 place grid penalty for more power unit upgrades to Fernando Alonso's McLaren MCL32.

Lewis Hamilton will start from the seventh row of the grid, a potentially major blow to his championship prospects. Already struggling with traffic and the handling of his Mercedes, the Briton had lost out on a final 'get out of jail' attempt at the end of Q2 when Stoffel Vandoorne crashed into the barriers at the swimming pool complex.

Vandoorne technically progressed to Q3 but was unable to make a run, putting him in tenth place in qualifying. Unfortunately, like his team mate he has a grid penalty to be applied before the start of Sunday's race as a result of an incident in Spain.

Verstappen on top in Q1

There had been a particularly fast start to qualifying, with even frontrunners Ferrari and Mercedes queuing up in pit lane for the lights to go green. Raikkonen and Vettel took the early advantage, half a second clear of Bottas and Hamilton.

Red Bull delayed their appearance, but it was worth waiting for. Verstappen took the lead with a lap of 1:13.078s, and Ricciardo slipped into fourth ahead of Bottas. Vandoorne gave McLaren a boost in sixth place, with Sainz, Perez and Haas' Kevin Magnussen also finishing faster than Hamilton who ended up dropping to tenth after complaining about this tyres on subsequent runs. Button made it through to Q2 safely in 11th place.

A late run saw Grosjean make it out of the drop zone. He had spun around in Mirabeau earlier in the session and narrowly avoided being collected head-on by Sainz. After his morning accident, Esteban Ocon was eventually able to make an delayed appearance in Q1 after a rapid repair job by the Force India crew, but he wasn't able to progress.

Also out after the first round was Jolyon Palmer, whose Renault suffered an early puncture. Williams' Lance Stroll joined him on the sidelines, as did both Saubers - Marcus Ericsson ended Q1 parked on the side of the track with a rear left wheel rim failure after clouting a barrier.

Hamilton fails to make it out of Q2

Ferrari once again shot to the top of the times in Q2, Raikkonen soon leading his team mate with a time of 1:12.231s. In response, Hamilton's first flying lap nearly ended up in disaster when he came close to losing it into Massenet, a moment reminiscent to Stroll's Thursday smash. Complaining that something wasn't right with the car, he made an urgent return to pit lane for a check-up.

By the time he returned to the track, Hamilton was in 14th place and with it all to do to avoid being eliminated. The car continued to be a handful, and after sliding and locking up he then hit traffic leaving him just one more chance. That opportunity evaporated when Vandoorne went into the barriers at the swimming pool, the clean-up bringing out yellow flags for the remainder of the session.

Vandoorne's team mate Button just scraped through into the final round of qualifying, Missing out were Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg, along with Magnussen and Hamilton. Also taking no further part in qualifying was Felipe Massa, Williams once again finding Monaco a tough circuit to crack.

Qualifying results

1Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:13.117s1:12.231s1:12.178s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1:13.090s1:12.449s1:12.221s
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1:13.325s1:12.901s1:12.223s
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1:13.078s1:12.697s1:12.496s
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:13.219s1:13.011s1:12.998s
6Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:13.526s1:13.397s1:13.162s
7Sergio PérezForce India1:13.530s1:13.430s1:13.329s
8Romain GrosjeanHaas1:13.786s1:13.203s1:13.349s
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:13.723s1:13.453s1:13.613s
10Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:13.476s1:13.249s
11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:13.899s1:13.516s
12Nico HülkenbergRenault1:13.787s1:13.628s
13Kevin MagnussenHaas1:13.531s1:13.959s
14Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:13.640s1:14.106s
15Felipe MassaWilliams1:13.796s1:20.529s
16Esteban OconForce India1:14.101s
17Jolyon PalmerRenault1:14.696s
18Lance StrollWilliams1:14.893s
19Pascal WehrleinSauber1:15.159s
20Marcus EricssonSauber1:15.276s

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