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The ‘ice man’ returns to a ‘pole’ nine years later

The ‘ice man’ returns to a ‘pole’ nine years later
The Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari), nicknamed ‘Iceman’ (ice man), achieved this Saturday in Monaco a ‘pole position’ that he had not obtained for nine years, the last time in the 2008 French Grand Prix.
The ‘ice man’ flew over the Monte Carlo street circuit, in which he already won and obtained a ‘pole’ in 2005, with a best lap of 1: 12.178, which was 43 thousandths faster than his partner’s best time German Sebastian Vettel, and 45 better than that of his Finnish compatriot Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), third.
Raikkonen did not see himself leaving the first place of a Formula One race since June 22, 2008, at the French Magny-Cours circuit, where as he will tomorrow he shared a row with another Ferrari, that of the Brazilian Felipe Massa (today in Williams ), who ended up taking the victory.
Of that race, only six drivers are still active, including Raikkonen himself together with his partner Vettel (then at Toro Rosso), the Spanish Fernando Alonso (in 2008 at Renault, today absent from his McLaren-Honda for competing in the 500 Miles of Indianapolis), the British Lewis Hamilton (always on his Mercedes, then joined McLaren), the aforementioned Massa and the British Jenson Button (then at Honda, today returned to replace Alonso).
However, today as yesterday, the Finnish driver’s analysis was once again laconic, consistent with the reserved nature of Kimi, a ‘rare bird’ in the world of extreme media exposure that is Formula One.
It’s the best place to start tomorrow, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. However, I am very happy to have achieved this position, it has been a good weekend, “explained Raikkonen in the press conference after the qualifying session on Saturday, in which he said that his performance today was” better ” , but “not perfect.”
His teammate Vettel, current leader of the World Cup and who did not challenge his teammate’s record until the last moments, will have to try to emulate Massa in 2008 if he wants to take the victory and put points away with the British Lewis Hamilton, without a doubt the big loser of the day.
The Stevenage (UK) did not have its day. What were bad feelings with the grip of his Mercedes in training last Thursday were confirmed in the day this Saturday, in which he was fifth in morning training, tenth in Q1 and finally fourteenth in Q2, when he was eliminated .
Lewis was struggling with his tires from the start of the qualifying session, he passed it on to the workshops, but they couldn’t find the reason for the lack of grip. With the last tire change, the Briton seemed to improve and set fast laps, but was met with a final surprise.
Belgian Stoffel Vandoorme’s car (McLaren-Honda), which surprised everyone with a seventh place in Q2 and which left him qualified for the fight for pole position, hit his car against the barriers just as Hamilton painted green the sectors of your time table, which means that you improved your records.
Whether or not that improvement was enough to get into the top ten is something we will never know, because Vandoorme’s accident caused the yellow flag as time was running out for Q2, and made Hamilton’s fastest lap impossible.
“I was giving my all on the last lap and all of a sudden the one in front of me had an accident. I could not believe it! “, Explained later Hamilton, who does not have a very difficult ballot tomorrow starting from position 13 on a circuit where overtaking is almost impossible, and did not rule out riding with little risk to conserve the engine.
On the other side of the Mercedes garage, the Finn Valtteri Bottas did not seem to suffer with as much intensity from the grip problems indicated by his teammate, as he was just 45 thousandths of the time from pole.
Behind the first three, Red Bull fulfilled the forecasts and placed fourth and fifth the Dutchman Max Verstappen – who started outstanding, leading Q1 – and the Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who does not seem to be in the best situation to try the triumph that is he escaped in 2016, when he was ‘poleman’ in Monte Carlo.
Following his ‘older’ team was the Toro Rosso of the Spanish Carlos Sainz, who obtained an outstanding sixth place, 64 thousandths of Ricciardo’s time.
“If you want to make a good lap during the year, the place is Monaco and in the end the best has arrived here,” said a smiling Madrid driver, whose objective will be to maintain this position tomorrow, with special attention to the start and the strategy, which will be to a stop for most pilots.
The McLaren-Honda drivers were also positively surprised, Vandoorme sneaking in for the first time in his career in Q3 – although the accident at the end of Q2 did not allow him the pleasure of riding in the last session – and the British Jenson Button showing that his replacement of Fernando Alonso is not to act as a comparsa with a ninth place, although he will come out last due to the penalties that he carries due to engine changes.
This Sunday, at 2:00 p.m. local time (12:00 GMT), the departure from Monaco and the tire change phase will be key to knowing if the ‘ice man’, Kimi Raikkonen, is able to add a victory to the ‘pole’ which he has not achieved for four years (Austria 2013), and which would be the twenty-first of his career. EFE
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