Monaco Grand Prix: Kimi Raikkonen takes his first pole of the season
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 27, 2017 Updated: 6:22 PM
Photo: Scuderia Ferrari
MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen turned up the heat on the streets of Monaco as he took his first pole position since 2008 at the French Grand Prix.
“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 . We got it right, the team put me in a very good position every time; things were running smoothly and hopefully tomorrow we can get a great result with both cars," said Raikkonen.
Ferrari looks incredibly strong heading into Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix with Sebastian Vettel setting the second fastest time around the principality. Vettel was 0.002s faster than Mercedes Valtteri Bottas in third, who was the only Mercedes to make it into Q3 after teammate Lewis Hamilton failed to make the top ten.
“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," said Vettel.
Max Verstappen qualified fourth for Red Bull ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was 0.5s behind his teammate in fifth. Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz finished sixth as the sister Red Bull team has looked strong all weekend. Force India's driver Sergio Perez crossed the timing beam seventh ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean in eighth.
Jenson Button took ninth for McLaren-Honda along with his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne in 10th. The order will be reshuffled as Button will start from the back of the grid and Vandoorne will start from 12th due to penalties ahead of Sunday's race.
With the reshuffling of the grid, it will move Daniil Kvyat, in the other Toro Rosso, to ninth and Renault's Nico Hulkenberg to tenth followed by Grosjean's Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen to 11th. With Vandoorne in 12th, Lewis Hamilton will start tomorrow's race from 13th as he was unable to make it into Q3.
"I really struggled with the car today and I just don’t think the opportunity was quite there for me. It was a little bit unfortunate with the yellow flag, but it doesn’t really matter now if I could have gone faster. I think that lap may have just got me into the top 10 but I would have struggled to make it into the top five with the pace that I had. Valtteri didn’t have any struggles today so I’m a bit confused and I can’t pinpoint the problem at the moment. I’m feeling pretty deflated right now but I’ll try again tomorrow," said Hamilton.
Hamilton had been struggling with his car since the second practice session on Thursday. This continued thru the qualifying sessions. Then, things got worse during the closing mins of Q2 when Stoffel Vandoorne's McLaren crashed into the barriers causing a triggering of the yellow flags.
Williams' Felipe Massa will start 14th as part of the re-shuffled grid with Esteban Ocon managing to take 15th for Force India after a jarring collision with the wall in the third practice session, which has now set him back about half a second from his teammate Sergio Perez.
Jolyon Palmer finished 17th, putting him 0.9s behind his Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg while the second Williams of Lance Stroll qualified 18th. Nineteenth went to Pascal Wehrlein, who walked into the weekend with a wave of momentum after scoring points two weeks ago in Spain but wasn't able to complete his lap due to his teammate Marcus Ericsson triggering a yellow flag after making contact with the barrier at Nouvelle Chicane.
Jensen Button will take the final spot on the grid and will also do his best to move up as Monaco is McLaren's best chance at scoring for the first time this season.