Kimi Raikkonen produced Formula One’s fastest lap ever to take pole position for the Italian Grand Prix to the flag-wavering, hollering delight of the home faithful.
He pipped his team-mate Sebastian Vettel by 0.161sec, with Lewis Hamilton, the championship leader, 0.175sec off the pace to set Ferrari up perfectly for back-to-back wins, having triumphed through Vettel in Belgium last week.
It was Raikkonen’s first pole position since Monaco last year and only his second in a decade, and a timely reminder of his lingering powers with his contract up for renewal. Ferrari have not locked out the front row at Monza since 2000.
Kimi Raikkonen salutes the crowd after claiming pole position for the Italian Grand Prix
Modern history says Raikkonen is likely to grab the victory, with race winners at Monza having come from pole on 14 occasions this century.
Hamilton, leading Vettel by 17 points, may have hoped for rain but, despite some drops falling before the start and grey skies threatening more, it remained dry for the one-hour session.
Valtteri Bottas, of Mercedes, was fourth.
Raikkonen’s speed over the lap – still being