Raikkonen heads Ferrari 1-2 lockout for home GP

Italian Grand Prix: Pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari in qualifying parc ferme.
© XPB 

Kimi Raikkonen sensationally pipped his Ferrari team mate Sebastian Vettel to pole position for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, delighting the fanatical Tifosi with a 1-2 front row lock-out for the team at its home race.

Raikkonen's Q3 time of 1:19.119s was not only a new track record, but also the fastest qualifying lap time in the history of Formula 1. It's the 60th time that Ferrari have taken both spots on the front row.

The second row line-up will consist of the two Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen the best of the rest in fifth.

His team mate Daniel Ricciardo, along with Nico Hulkenberg and Marcus Ericsson, will all start from the back of the grid due to grid penalties for taking additional power units this weekend.

Italian Grand Prix - Qualifying times

1Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:20.722s1:19.846s1:19.119s
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1:20.542s1:19.629s1:19.280s
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:20.810s1:19.798s1:19.294s
4Valtteri BottasMercedes1:21.381s1:20.427s1:19.656s
5Max VerstappenRed Bull1:21.381s1:20.333s1:20.615s
6Romain GrosjeanHaas1:21.887s1:21.239s1:20.936s
7Carlos SainzRenault1:21.732s1:21.552s1:21.041s
8Esteban OconForce India1:21.570s1:21.315s1:21.099s
9Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1:21.834s1:21.667s1:21.350s
10Lance StrollWilliams1:21.838s1:21.494s1:21.627s
11Kevin MagnussenHaas1:21.783s1:21.669s
12Sergey SirotkinWilliams1:21.813s1:21.732s
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:21.850s1:22.568s
14Nico HülkenbergRenault1:21.801s
15Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1:21.280s
16Sergio PérezForce India1:21.888s
17Charles LeclercSauber1:21.889s
18Brendon HartleyToro Rosso1:21.934s
19Marcus EricssonSauber1:22.048s
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren1:22.085s

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari

Q1: Ferrari flying at the front, Perez and Leclerc miss out at the back

The circuit had dried out in time for the start of the session following heavy rain overnight and sunshine was still in evidence in places. However the skies around the Autodromo Nazionale Monza were black enough to hint at a potential deluge of Biblical proportions, so it was little wonder that the drivers were keen to get out on track the minute the lights went green.

Toro Rosso's Brendon Hartley was first to post a time on supersofts followed by Sauber's Charles Leclerc. However it was the Ferraris who then took predictably charge of proceedings, Kimi Raikkonen's 1:20.937s more than six tenths of a second faster than team mate Sebastian Vettel in second.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton wasn't a match for the Finn but still took second place, briefly splitting the two Ferraris before Vettel's next effort was enough to pop him to the top by 0.179s. Behind the top three, Valtteri Bottas took up fourth place ahead of the Force Indias of Estaban Ocon and Sergio Perez.

Halfway through the session, Max Verstappen put in his first run of the afternoon and matched Bottas to the thousandths of a second. His Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo left it late before putting in a belated appearance in Q1: although he had little motivation to do well given his power unit penalties consigning him to the back row of Sundays grid, the Australian still found the pace to put him fourth.

Even though both Ferraris had done more than enough to ensure their place in the second round, Vettel and Raikkonen continued to pound round and succeeded in improving their times still further with Vettel's best run clocking in at 1:20.542s. Hamilton gave chase but still ended up over a quarter of a second off his rival's pace.

Carlos Sainz put in a good lap to finish in the top ten ahead of Haas' Kevin Magnussen. His Renault team mate Nico Hulkenberg also found strong late pace to finish in the top ten despite knowing that he will be joining Ricciardo at the back of the grid. t was also a good session for Williams, with Sergey Sirotkin and Lance Stroll in 11th and 13th straddling the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly. It's the first time both Williams have made it into the second round since Baku in April.

Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean also made it through, but the surprise was Perez missing out by one thousandth of a second, with Leclerc just behind in 17th place by the same slender margin. Also done for the day were Hartley, Marcus Ericsson and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW41.

Q2: Vettel stays top as Stroll makes progress for Williams

Despite the black clouds looking as though they were largely bypassing the track, drivers still didn't want to waste any time getting back out when pit exit opened for the second round of qualifying. Nor was anyone playing games by trying to make a run on anything other than the supersoft tyres.

Hamilton posted an earlier flyer of 1:19.798s putting him over four tenths ahead of Raikkonen, Bottas and Verstappen. Predictably, Vettel was soon able to beat that and go top - but the margin of 0.013s was as close as the two title rivals had been all weekend. However, Vettel later told his race engineer that he had gone wide at the Parabolica which had cost him time.

Ocon remained best of the rest after the first runs. He was in sixth ahead of Sainz and the two Haas cars of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, despite a messy first run for the Dane which saw him take ot the escape road at the second chicane. The two Williams drivers had opted to sit out the early running and bided their time.

No one felt safe enough with their situation to stay in pit lane as the chequered flag neared. Vettel moved the dial to an impressive 1:19.629s with Hamilton holding on to second ahead of Raikkonen and Verstappen breaking his tie with Bottas and moving up to fourth. Grosjean found some late pace to pip Ocon to sixth, with Stroll pulling out all the stops to make it through to Q3 in eighth ahead of Sainz and Gasly - Williams' first appearance in the final pole shoot-out round in 2018 to date.

Magnussen tangled with Alonso in the first chicane on their respective final flying laps. As a result, both ended up missing out of the final round and the clash will be reviewed by race stewards after the session. Also left on the sidelines was Sirotkin, while with their grid penalties pending neither Hulkenberg nor Ricciardo set times in Q2 for fear of accidentally doing enough to progress to Q3 which would deprive them of their free choice of tyres on which to start the race on Sunday.

Italian Grand Prix: Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas VF-18 and Fernando Alonso

Q3: Raikkonen out does Vettel and Raikkonen to steal pole position

The threat of rain had subsided and now it was September sunshine that greeted the drivers as they headed out for the start of Q3.

Grosjean set the first time, but Vettel's first effort was nearly two seconds faster. Even so, it wasn't good enough: a small error on his lap left the door open for Raikkonen, and then it was Hamilton who eked out another seven hundredths to claim provisional pole.

The cars retreated to pit lane for final tweaks before their last runs of the day, Vettel requesting that his pit crew "add one click" of front wing before heading back out again. It was just enough to put him back ahead of Hamilton, but Vettel then found himself pipped to the top spot by his team mate Raikkonen. A Ferrari 1-2 - just not quite the one that Vettel had been hoping for.

Behind the top four, Verstappen was almost a second further back but nonetheless safety in fifth place on the grid alongside Grosjean, followed by Sainz, Ocon, Gasly and Stroll.

Italian Grand Prix qualifying top three in parc ferme (L to R): Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari, second; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, pole position; Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1, third.

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