Räikkönen edges Vettel to Italian GP pole as Ferrari roar

Kimi Räikkönen earned pole position with a lap of 1:19.119. (AFP pic)

MONZA: Kimi Räikkönen smashed Formula One’s all-time fastest lap record as he outpaced teammate Sebastian Vettel to grab pole position on Saturday for the Italian Grand Prix.

Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid with a blitz of speed that left defending champion and current leader Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes third, despite twice beating the record set at Monza by Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who drove a Williams, in 2004.

Raäikkönen’s record lap was clocked in one minute and 19.119 seconds at an average speed of 263.586 kilometres per hour (163.785 mph). He was one-tenth of a second faster than both Vettel and Hamilton who set up a memorable three-way finale in a dramatic session, all of them setting records along the way.

Valtteri Bottas was fourth for Mercedes ahead of Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Romain Grosjean of Haas. Carlos Sainz was seventh on his birthday for Renault ahead of Esteban Ocon of Force India, Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso, and Lance Stroll of Williams.

It was Ferrari’s first pole on home soil at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for Ferrari since 2010 and Raikkonen’s first pole in 12 years. At 38, he also became the oldest pole-sitter since Nigel Mansell, then aged 41, took pole for the 1994 Australian Grand Prix.