Ferrari in pole position to end 16-year wait for Monaco GP win
Raikkonen on pole for first time since 2008; Vettel also on front row for Sunday's race; Scuderia's last win in Monaco was in 2001
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 29/05/17 8:28am
Ferrari have put themselves in the perfect position to end their 16-year wait for a victory at the Monaco GP after Kimi Raikkonen took pole and Sebastian Vettel also secured a front-row grid spot.
The Scuderia have not won around Monte Carlo's iconic street circuit since Michael Schumacher led Rubens Barichello home in a Ferrari one-two back in 2001.
But their SF70H has appeared to be the car to beat this weekend, dominating Practice Two and Three before Raikkonen topped the timesheets in two of the three qualifying sessions.
Raikkonen's 1:12.178 in Q3 gave him his first pole since the 2008 French GP, a run of 129 races, while it was also Ferrari's first in Monaco since 2008.
"It's the best place to start but it doesn't guarantee anything," Raikkonen said. "We have two cars on the front to try and make the most of it."
Key Monaco GP Qualifying Stats
- This was Kimi Raikkonen's first pole since the 2008 French GP
- Raikkonen's run of 129 races between pole positions is a new Formula 1 record
- This was Ferrari's first pole in Monaco since Felipe Massa's in 2008
- This was Ferrari's 57th front-row lockout
- 28 of the last 63 Monaco GPs have been won from pole position
- Aged 37 years and seven months, Raikkonen is F1's oldest pole sitter for 20 years
Championship leader Vettel had to settle for second and conceded he had been "too greedy" with his Q3 laps.
"I am not totally happy with my performance today," said the four-time world champion. "I should have done a better job overall. The car was good, so it was my mistake. I was a bit too greedy in my last run."
Overtaking in Monaco is one of the greatest challenges facing the drivers but Vettel expects it to be a fair fight into Turn One.
"We've done enough races so we know what to do at the first corner," Vettel said.
"We are here to race. The start here is important, the first corner is important, every race is important.
"The start is the beginning of the race, not the end. We know that pole is important at Monaco so we know what happens."
Vettel is set to start at least 10 places ahead of his championship rival Lewis Hamilton after the Mercedes driver suffered a surprise exit in Q2.
But the German downplayed what impact Hamilton's lowly grid spot could have on the race and the wider title battle.
"I don't really care about that," he said. "We were both fighting for the best spot for tomorrow."
Ferrari last locked out the front row two races ago in Russia but saw Valtteri Bottas sweep past on the first lap from third, where he starts on Sunday, to claim victory.
Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene hopes they have learnt their lesson from the events of Sochi.
"I'm really happy for Kimi because he deserves it. The champion is coming out," he told Sky F1.
"Sebastian made a mistake in Turn Five but having two cars up there means I'm happy. We have to remember to be careful after what happened in Sochi."
Analysis - Sky F1's Damon Hill
"It couldn't have been a better day for them. Deep down Arrivabene must be thinking 'that is absolutely brilliant' and he can go back and rally the troops.
"What a great way to lock out the front row at the Monaco GP.
"I don't think [there will be any team orders]. I can't imagine they are going to say 'Kimi we need you to back out'. To be honest, is he going to listen? I think you'd be hard pushed to get him to cooperate with them. What has he got to lose? He'll be going for the win."
Have your say! Comment below to get involved in the debate, but please adhere to our House Rules. If you wish to report any comment, simply click on the down arrow next to the offending comment and click 'Report'.