Kimi Raikkonen beat Sebastian Vettel to Formula 1 pole position at the Italian Grand Prix by a tenth, whilst Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes could only make third place on the second row as the championship starts to get tight.
Raikkonen’s record breaking lap was a 1.19.119s, which set the Finn 0.161s clear of his Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate, who was just inch-clear of championship rival Lewis Hamilton.
Story of the session
As Qualifying started, some 10 cars immediately took to circuit with an 80% risk of rain, but Ferrari went straight to the top of the order, as Raikkonen set a 1.20.937s on his first run and was 0.641s clear of his team-mate.
As the Mercedes took to circuit Hamilton went second and some 0.3s off the pace, but just moments later Sebastian Vettel beat his team-mate to top spot by almost two tenths. The second Ferrari driver soon improved to come within a tenth of the lead Ferrari driver. The Ferrari of Vettel soon found pace on his third run, and whilst Hamilton improved slightly, the German set a 1.20.542s to set himself half a second clear of his title challenger.
As Q1 came to an end, Perez, Leclerc, Hartley, Ericsson and Vandoorne all faced elimination.
As Q2 got underway Lewis Hamilton broke into the 1minute-19s barrier with a 1.19.798s, but Vettel soon went 0.013s faster on his flying lap, whilst Raikkonen went third fastest.
Whilst the top teams were well clear of the cut off times, the top teams still took to circuit – whilst there was a mighty midfield battle between Alonso, the Haas’, Torro Rosso’s and the Williams.
Upon the second runs, Hamilton failed to improve but Vettel went even faster with a 1.19.629s to increase his advantage at the top. Meanwhile Magnussen, Sirotkin, Alonso, Hulkenberg and Ricciardo all faced elimination – but for the first time this year Williams made it through into Q3 with Lance Stroll.
At the end of the first runs, Hamilton put his Mercedes on provisional pole position with a 1.19.390s and the Ferrari of Raikkonen was 0.069s, with Vettel down to third after heading Q1 and Q2.
Upon their second runs Raikkonen surprised Monza with a lap 0.161s faster than Vettel, with Hamilton third.