Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Monza, 2018

Raikkonen sets F1’s fastest-ever lap to lead Ferrari one-two at Monza

2018 Italian Grand Prix qualifying

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Kimi Raikkonen broke Juan Pablo Montoya’s 14-year-old record for the fastest ever lap in an official Formula 1 session as he took pole position for the Italian Grand Prix.

He will share the front row of the grid with team mate Sebastian Vettel as Ferrari swept the front row of the grid for their home race.


Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg went into qualifying aware they would start from the back of the grid anyway due to their power unit penalties. Nonetheless both decided to set times and progressed into Q2.

That was bad news for Sergio Perez, who fell into the drop zone and was eliminated by just one thousandth of a second. He was the only Mercedes-powered car not to make the cut, as both Williams drivers grabbed a place in Q2. Perez hadn’t been running at the end of the session, seemingly believing his initial lap time was quick enough to secure his progression.

Another surprise elimination in Q1 was the Sauber pair, Marcus Ericsson has a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change anyway, but Charles Leclerc looked on course to progress until he made a mistake at Parabolica.

Brendon Hartley was the last driver to be eliminated.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’21.888
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1’21.889
18 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1’21.934
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.048
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1’22.085


Vettel headed the times in Q1 and stayed ahead in the second part of qualifying as the front runners began to show their real speed. His 1’19.785 was eight-tenths of a second quicker than he managed in the first session.

Hamilton almost kept pace with him, crossing the line just 0.013 seconds slower after his first run. But on their second runs Vettel improved by a tenth of a second.

Neither Ricciardo nor Hulkenberg made a serious bid to get into Q3 as doing so would mean having to start the race on old tyres. Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen also dropped out after the Haas driver tried to overtake the McLaren at the beginning of their final laps, but Alonso clung on around the outside and the pair held each other up as they tried to go through the first chicane together.

But even without that incident Lance Stroll would have claimed a place in Q3, as he ended the session eighth-fastest. Behind him were Carlos Sainz Jnr and Pierre Gasly – the latter clearly delighted by his result.

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Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’21.669
12 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1’21.732
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1’22.568
14 Nico Hulkenberg Renault No time
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer No time


By the end of the second phase of qualifying the front-running drivers were just a tenth of a second off beating Formula 1’s all-time record for quickest ever lap. The record was comprehensively beaten in a nailbiting final phase of qualifying which saw pole position swing between the home favourites and their championship rivals.

Hamilton drew first blood. Running behind the two Ferraris, all three cars beat the record in quick succession, Hamilton lowering the mark to 1’19.390. But the last runs proved decisive.

The final time around Hamilton left the pits first with the Ferrari pair behind him and Raikkonen the last of the three. All three lowered their times again, Hamilton finding almost a tenth of a second.

But at their home venue, Ferrari had a little more in hand. Vettel edged provisional pole position by a hundredth of a second. But Raikkonen, running just a few metres behind his team mate and potentially benefitting from his slipstream, blitzed the track with a 1’19.119, taking pole position by over a tenth of a second.

Valtteri Bottas never figures in the fight for pole and took fourth. Max Verstappen put the sole remaining Red Bull in fifth, and will share the third row of the grid with Romain Grosjean.

Carlos Sainz Jnr narrowly beat Esteban Ocon to eighth followed by Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll.

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Top ten in Q3

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’19.119
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’19.280
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’19.294
4 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’19.656
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’20.615
6 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’20.936
7 Carlos Sainz Jnr Renault 1’21.041
8 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’21.099
9 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1’21.350
10 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’21.627

2018 Italian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Raikkonen sets F1’s fastest-ever lap to lead Ferrari one-two at Monza”

  1. Vettel only has himself to blame for not taking pole. I am not sure if this is what Ferrari wanted by putting Lewis just behind them for the start. Lewis needs to be smart tomorrow and not like last week at SPA.

    1. If Hamilton gets a good start he should get the run down into turn 1. I really hope he gets ahead of Vettel so Kimi can build a lead and at least have a tiny chance of keeping the win.

      1. Lewis just cannot launch a dive into turn 1 like he attempted last week at the bus stop chicane and expect it to stick. He needs a superb start for that to happen or slipstream them down to the 2nd chicane, but the latter is highly unlikely to occur. He will need to play it smart tomorrow if he wants the win.

        1. Of course he can. It didn’t work last time because he had to back out of it because of the safetycar line.

          The longer it takes him to pass the less likely it becomes. I doubt he will get the run into the second chicane as the Ferrari seems stronger getting the power down out of corners.the cars can’t follow well through the mid sector so after that he will be out of DRS range after lap 1. There’s no chance he can stay less than a second behind for 3 Laps to wait for DRS so if he wants to win tomorrow he needs to do it early. Anything else and Ferrari will run away with it just like last weekend.

  2. Not bad for a has been washed up driver hey.

  3. Come on lewis, please use some interesting tactics for the race to take vettel out and let kimi win before he retires please!!!

    1. Why dont he win on merit instead if he wants to leave f1 with his head held high.

  4. Mwoah… :)
    Perfect lap from Kimi. He’s know what he’s doing. Congratulations.

    1. Yap. And i think porsche 919 should try lap monza and try to beat Kimi’s fastest time. If they can lols.

  5. It’s good to see 8 teams in the top 10 places.
    It hurts the tremendous difference in the lap time.
    Obviously it is a championship of two categories: A – Ferrari & Mercedes & Red Bull and B: the rest.

    1. I’d say A) only contains Mercedes and Ferrari to be honest.

  6. Wasn’t expecting to see a Toro Roso on the top 10 if I’m honest

    1. The Skeptic (@)
      1st September 2018, 15:41

      They got lucky – Toro Rosso only made it because of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo being at the back of the grid.

      1. @theskeptic still they did not exactly get trounced by Captain Freddo and the Chocclateers

      2. Alonso and K-mag also helped a little, it is still unexpected

    2. Reasons for a Toro Rosso and a Williams in top 10:
      Force India/Perez error
      Hulkenberg and Ricciardo penalties
      Magnussens tussle with Alonso eliminating Magnussen in Q2. – Mag had issues in his last run in Q1, so why do Haas insist on sending him out into the pack in the last moment – I believe that if he had come out with a few minutes left, he would’ve made the cut on a clear track…

      1. Did you expect all of that to happen?

  7. Didn’t pay attention to RBR’s time and… holy… it’s huge! RBR this quali is more like Category B.

    1. @mg1982 Max must’ve made a mistake. his time was slower than in Q2

    2. I think Max just secured P5. Probably didn’t push too much. They knew they didn’t have the pace to challenge the Ferraris and the Mercs.

  8. The biggest surprise of the session: Perez’s failure to get through to Q2, with the biggest, on the other hand, being Stroll getting into Q3 for the first time since round 4 in Baku.

  9. MB (@muralibhats)
    1st September 2018, 16:40

    Camilleri: 2019 drive if you will better Mercedes in Quali.
    Kimi: Okei
    Camilleri: 🤐

  10. Interesting how journalists feel the need to justify Raikonnen pole with tow slipstream don’t even look at S1 and S2 times…

    1. Your right! If it were Seb on pole they wouldn’t mention the tow helping. Also agree with other comment that Seb seems to be so far ahead as to have very little affect at least from kimis car camera, but maybe just enough to make the difference. Would love to see Kimi in a Ferrari next year, he has certainly earned it .

      1. Back in the days of Ferrari International Assistance, a gap that big is called impeding.

  11. Vettel’s comment in the cool down lap: “…we talk after…”
    not a happy camper. It was obvious who had the better tow would come on top at the end. Why wasn’t Vettel behind Kimmi? Why was Kimmi’s wife crying in the garage? Another year of a multi million contract in 2019?

  12. Kimi needs killer instinct to win and keep Seb and Lewis behind. If Kimi gets out of the chicane in P1 it’s going to be and edge of your seat type race. Also, it seems Sauber aren’t as competitive lately. Have they stalled out?

  13. Just watched the onboard of Kimi’s pole lap. It sounds as if he lifted slightly before the finish line.

  14. Kimi will need a massive Defence against Seb and Lewis. That DRS and tow will work perfectly on him on Lap 3.

    1. Don’t think so. Overtaking won’t be easy as DRS is not much of a help here (they’re running minimum downforce anyway).

    2. The tow worked perfectly for Kimi today, right?

      Ferrari is just too stupid. Vettel should have been where Kimi was.

      1. Vettel had all the tow he wanted from Hamilton. Can’t you just accept that Kimi was faster?

      2. How he got a tow if he was quite distant from Vettel… did you saw the tows from other years, is much more close.

      3. Well Seb was right behind Lewis, he got a tow too..

  15. I don’t think he was that close for an effective tow.

  16. This was by the way first dry qualifying since Monaco where Kimi and Vettel have the same spec engine. Kimi had to change his (to another older spec) in Spain, Vettel got an upgraded version in Canada.

  17. After a Ferarri smashing the outright lap at the fastest track in Formula 1, people will still claim the Mercedes is the fastest car.


  18. Good to see Raikkonen grab a pole especially in such a big way.
    RB 1.4 sec slower? HAAS another 1/2 sec slower again. Is this the biggest gap Ferrari/Merc have had over the rest of the field this season? Hopefully we ‘ll get to see a charge from the back by Ricciardo and the Hulk. We will get to see if the new Renault engine is more powerful and if it goes bang before the checkered flag.
    Discounting mechanical issues or accidents, I think Verstappen will have a lonely race again as he watches the Merc/Ferraris, disappear into the distance while he does the same to everyone else.

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