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Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. Day 4

Kimi Raikkonen is on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton took 14th at Formula 1’s biggest race.

The 37-year-old Finn is at the front of the grid for the first time in nine years – his last pole was the 2008 French Grand Prix.

Raikkonen edged out team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.043 seconds, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas 0.002secs further back.

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

Jenson Button will start from the back after qualifying ninth on his return to F1 because of a grid penalty.

What happened to Hamilton?

The Briton was struggling with a lack of grip, had to abort two laps after almost crashing, and then came across another crashed car on his final lap.

The Mercedes driver had been struggling since second practice on Thursday afternoon and, despite set-up changes for Saturday morning, he was still struggling going into qualifying.

He was 10th in the first session, 0.3secs off Bottas, but the second session began unravelling from the start.

Ferrari’s conundrum

As Ferrari’s main title contender, Vettel will start a strong favourite for victory on Sunday, but Bottas is in the same place on the grid as he was when he won in Russia a month ago.

Ferrari have never said that Vettel has number one status but it is widely believed within the paddock that he does.

Ferrari therefore face a conundrum – do they let the two drivers race and potentially have Raikkonen win, or engineer a situation that enables Vettel to take the flag and maximise his points gain against Hamilton, who is six points behind heading into the race.

Ferrari haven’t won at Monaco since 2001, when Michael Schumacher triumphed

Button’s joy and despair

Jenson Button qualified ninth on his return to Formula 1 as a substitute for Fernando Alonso while the Spaniard races at the Indianapolis 500 this weekend.

Button ended up a place ahead of McLaren team-mate Vandoorne, who was quicker than Button by 0.2secs and seventh in second qualifying only to crash at the end of the session.

But Button will start at the back of the grid because of a 15-place grid penalty for using too many engine parts.

Button lived in Monaco for 17 years during his F1 career

Red Bull revival?

The Red Bulls had looked as if they might challenge at the front but dropped away as qualifying progressed and Max Verstappen had to be content with fourth, 0.3secs off pole and half a second ahead of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz was an excellent fifth, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez, Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Button and Vandoorne.

Jolyon Palmer had a difficult time struggling with understeer in the Renault and qualified 17th, nearly a second off team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in the first session as whispers grow that the Englishman’s seat is under threat.

So, results of Practice 3:

F1 result3

Qualifying ended with the following results:

F1 qualifying

Timetable of Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix. Day 4:

F1 Day4

And the starting grid looks as follows:

F1 starting greed


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