Kimi Raikkonen set the fastest ever pole lap on his way to beating his teammate Sebastian Vettel to pole for Ferrari’s home Italian Grand Prix. The Finn inadvertently gained a tow from his German teammate who went a tenth and a half second, giving the team a first front row lockout since 2000.
Pole lap – K. Raikkonen 01:19.119
Kimi Raikkonen starts the lap, by lining himself up down the centre of the straight, he continues to drifts his Ferrari to the outside on the long run to the first corner. He breaks around the 130m before the corner slowing right down hitting the apex on entry and as he exit gets the power down. Stays on the inside then eases his way across the track, then head to the apex of Curva Grande. He eases back towards the centre of the track, on exit going to the outside. Breaking late into Variante della Roggia, he was up .04 on his best.
He breaks late into Variante Della Roggia chicane hitting both the apexes. On exit, he goes to the outside. Carrying speed into the first Lesmo, he eases off mid-corner before reapplying the power, going to the outside running to the second Lesmo. Breaks slightly and hits the apex, carry’s all the speed down the straight and thro Serranglio,
Breaks for the Vialone/Ascari chicane hits the apex on entry speed carried nicely up .08 on his best. Going to the inside on the back straight, before easing himself toward the centre of the track. Back to the outside as he approaches the Parabolicia breaking and across to the apex. He then goes to the outside, before crossing on exit to the inside and across the line with a 1:19.119, finding all the time in the last sector.
Vettel blames scrappy lap
Sebastian Vettel says he had a scrappy lap but has refused to expand on the messages which seemed to have suggested that he had the pole, but he was pipped by Raikkonen.
Vettel was informed by the team that he had ended up in second after being edged out by teammate Kimi Raikkonen. Replying over the team radio, Vettel said to the team: “We speak after.”
Clearly disappointed about missing out on pole, the most likely cause of any annoyance from Vettel would have been that he had been handing a slipstream to teammate Raikkonen, who was running behind him.
Pushed on his radio comment, and whether there would be team orders in the race, Vettel said: “No, I don’t think anything related to that. Clearly, I wasn’t happy but I don’t tell you why.”
Vettel said that giving the slipstream was not out of the ordinary, because it was Raikkonen’s turn to run second on the track. However, the German believes that he made a number of mistakes on his first run which cost him pole.
Adding “To be honest, it was not a tidy lap, the other laps were actually better,” he said. “I lost a bit at the first chicane, second chicane, the Lesmos, pretty much a bit everywhere. The last sector was okay but not fantastic, so not just a good lap and not good enough obviously.”
Mercedes on back foot
Going into this weekend I was expected to be faster and perform better that both Ferrari’s, however, they will start behind both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Last week, we spoke about the advantage they had in the wet conditions at spa, but it is believed Ferrari now holds the advantage on track.
Hamilton said “Going into the second run of Q3, I kind of knew that the Ferraris might just be able to pull out some extra bit of time, but I think second place might have been possible today. I lost maybe half a tenth in the last corner and that’s the difference between third and second.”
“We’ve got to fight hard tomorrow. The long-run pace of the Ferraris looked quicker than ours, so it’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. The start will hopefully create an opportunity for us.”
Valtteri Bottas has appeared to struggle all weekend, yesterday we know that the balance of the car was the issue and Mercedes did make some setup changes to the car which he said help him. However, he didn’t have the trust in the brakes.
Adding “I made a mistake going into Turn 1 on the first lap in Q3 and after that it was difficult to really get the corner right in the second run. But this was only Qualifying – this weekend is not over, the race is tomorrow and we will try everything to put the Ferraris under pressure and challenge them.”
Alonso mocks Magnussen
Fernando Alonso has mocked Kevin Magnussen after they fought for track position in the closing moments of Q2. The Spaniard and the Dane appeared to trip over each other as they started their final runs at the Rettifilo chicane.
Alonso was ahead entering the first part of the chicane, but Magnussen did not yield position – and both drivers’ laps were compromised as Alonso ran out wide exiting the section. Speaking after the session Alonso argued that Magnussen cut in line during the warm-up lap – and reckoned the incident made more of a difference to Haas, which is ahead of McLaren in the pecking order this weekend.
But Magnussen responded saying “I’m going fast so I just cruised past him. But then for some reason he tries to accelerate and get close to me instead of creating a gap like everyone else is doing. Obviously, he got a perfect slipstream and thought he could overtake into Turn 1, but I’d rather hang myself.”
The stewards took no further action, saying the incident “did not specifically constitute unnecessary impeding by either driver”.
Upgrades still a second off
Max Verstappen says that Renaults upgraded engine is still “over a second” off Mercedes and Ferrari, that is despite him running the new engine spec.
Verstappen qualified fifth for Sunday’s race at Monza, but was 1.496 seconds off the pace, and just over three tenths clear of Romain Grosjean’s Haas, despite the extra power. He said “It’s a little bit faster than the old one, so in that way it is positive, but it’s of course still not enough.”
“Maybe in Q3 it [the gap to the front] was a little bit bigger than in Q2, but in Q3 I was also the first one out in my final run when I did my fastest lap and they were all towing each other, so that’s another three, four tenths on this track.
“It could have been a little bit better. It’s still over a second off, but that’s also what we are missing from the engine.”
Force India “screwed up”
Sergio Perez says that he and his team “screwed up” after not doing a final run in Q1, which ultimately saw him be knocked out. Force India believed they were safely within the cut off, but a thousandth of a second.
It was a very unusual tight Q1 session, with less than a tenth between tenth and seventeenth. Perez admitted that the team had misjudged by how much others would improve, but conceded that his first lap should have been faster. He says “We had a little miscalculation there with the tow effect and the track evolving. I was two-tenths from P7, so the margin was really small.”
“But at the same time I should have done a better lap, so we screwed up together. I hope that tomorrow we can minimise the damage and hopefully score some points.”
“I was actually speaking with the team about what we can do better with the balance and so on, and I was looking at a lot of people going green, green, green.”
- Italian GP – Qualifying Result
- ITALIAN GP – Kimi Raikkonen sets a new fastest lap to take pole, as Vettel left head scratching his head
- Notebook – Italian Practice
- ITALIAN GP – Sebastian Vettel Fastest In FP2, As Ericsson Rolls The Sauber Into The Wall
- ITALIAN GP – Perez goes fastest as track conditions rapidly improve allowing him to outpace Raikkonen
- Prixview – Italian Grand Prix