Kimi Räikkönen Scores His First Pole Since 2008

The Iceman’s keen to show everyone he hasn’t thawed out.

byJames Gilboy|
F1 photo

Formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen has not been on his top form these last few years. Since his return to Scuderia Ferrari in 2014, he has been overshadowed—first by Fernando Alonso, and then by Sebastian Vettel, though the latter succeeded by a far smaller margin. He has also been involved in a handful of uncharacteristically dimwitted at-fault crashes on track, such as his botched overtake on Bottas at the 2015 Russian Grand Prix. The Finn was starting to look like he was losing his touch...but maybe he hasn't, because this morning in Monaco, he managed his first P1 qualification since the 2008 French Grand Prix. To put that in perspective, he has not scored a pole since before Jenson Button was a world champion, and before Abu Dhabi became the final race on the calendar.

This morning's qualifying session was a quaint one, with seven teams making up the top ten, with oddities such as both McLaren-Hondas making Q3, though due to a 15-place grid penalty, Jenson Button will start at the tail end of the grid anyway. Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was knocked out in Q2; it is suspected that a combination of setup problems and driver error hampered the Brit's efforts to keep pace with championship-leading Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas splits the Ferrari and Red Bull drivers with his P3 qualification, with Max Verstappen qualifying ahead of his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who, without Red Bull's pit stop foulup, could have won last year's Monaco event. Behind the Red Bulls come Sainz, Perez, Grosjean, Vandoorne, and Kvyat, to round out the top ten.

To celebrate Räikkönen's first pole in a decade, watch both his 2017 Monaco pole and his 2008 France pole together. Oh, and if all you have to say after watching the two videos is a complaint about engine sound, then stow it and watch NASCAR.