Formula One: Record lap puts Ferrari’s Raikkonen on pole in Italy

Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen (L) celebrates winning the pole position with team members. (AFP)

Kimi Raikkonen put Ferrari on pole position for their home Italian Grand Prix with Formula One’s fastest lap ever on Saturday.

Unhappy team mate Sebastian Vettel completed the front-row sweep for Sunday’s race, with championship leader and 2018 winner Lewis Hamilton a close third for Mercedes.

Vettel is 17 points adrift of Hamilton in the standings with eight rounds remaining and can expect Raikkonen to give him every assistance when race day comes.

Raikkonen’s stunning lap of one minute 19.119 seconds, at an average speed of 263.587 kph, smashed the track record of 1:19.525 set by Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya for Williams at Monza in 2004.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to be on pole,” said Raikkonen, who appeared to benefit from an aerodynamic tow after running behind his team mate on track. Vettel ended up 0.161 slower.

It was the Finn’s first pole position since Monaco last year, the 18th of his career and Ferrari’s first at Monza since 2010, when they last won at the track outside Milan.

The 38-year-old, who has not won since he was at Lotus in 2013, also became the oldest pole-sitter since Britain’s Nigel Mansell in 1994.

Ferrari’s last front-row lockout at Monza was in 2000, when Michael Schumacher and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello were first and second on the grid.

Vettel thought he had the pole and exclaimed ‘Yes!’ as he crossed the line only to be told he was second fastest to the team mate following behind. “We speak later,” he said.

“Clearly I wasn’t happy but I don’t tell you why,” explained the German when asked by reporters later what he planned to discuss.

“To be honest it was not a tidy lap and I think the other laps were actually better ones,” said Vettel. “I lost time pretty much everywhere.

“It was just not a good lap and not good enough. (I’m) lucky to get second and not third.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52