Kimi Raikkonen smashed Formula One’s all-time fastest lap record as he outpaced team-mate Sebastian Vettel to grab pole position Saturday for the Italian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen’s record lap was clocked in 1min 19.119sec at an average speed of 263.587 kilometres per hour (163.785 miles per hour), convincingly beating the outright record of 1:19.525 set by Juan-Pablo Montoya on the same track in 2004.
In the final seconds of a dramatic session three leading drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Vettel and then Raikkonen, all broke Montoya’s record in turn.
In the end, Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid with defending champion and current leader Hamilton of Mercedes third even though the Briton had twice beaten Montoya’s record.
Raikkonen was one-tenth of a second faster than both Vettel and Hamilton.
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 since 2010 and Raikkonen’s first pole in 12 years. At 38, he also became the oldest pole sitter since Nigel Mansell, aged, 41, took pole for the 1994 Australian Grand Prix.
The Finn, whose future at Ferrari is uncertain, was as phlegmatic as ever amid the wild celebrations.
“Thank you,” he said. “It’s great for tomorrow...Hopefully, everything goes smoothly and we end up in the same position.”