Kimi Raikkonen charged to his first Formula 1 pole position in over a year after topping a close-fought final qualifying session for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza on Saturday, leading a front row lock-out for Ferrari at its home race.

In a session that saw pole position change hands back and forth between Ferrari and Mercedes, Raikkonen managed to get a tow on teammate Vettel's with his final effort to go one-tenth of a second quicker, grabbing his first pole since Monaco 2017.

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Raikkonen's time of 1m19.119s saw him record the fastest lap in F1 history as Juan Pablo Montoya's benchmark from 2004 was beaten six times across the course of the Q3 shootout.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton held provisional pole after going six-hundredths of a second faster than Raikkonen across the initial efforts in Q3, with Mercedes threatening to upstage Ferrari's homecoming.

Vettel managed to edge out his title rival by 0.014 seconds with his final lap to snatch pole away, only for Raikkonen to cross the line a couple of seconds later and go 0.161 seconds clear to secure a surprise pole position.

The result marked Ferrari's first pole at Monza since 2010, giving the team a boost heading into the final race of the European season on Sunday.

Hamilton was left to settle for third place on the grid ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas, who finished half a second slower than Raikkonen down in fourth.

Max Verstappen took fifth for Red Bull ahead of Haas' Romain Grosjean, while Carlos Sainz Jr. enjoyed a successful 24th birthday as he charged to P7 on the grid for Renault.

Esteban Ocon took eighth for Force India ahead of two surprise names in Q3: Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll. Gasly made up for the deficiency of his Honda engine to take ninth on the grid, while Stroll gave Williams its first Q3 appearance of the year, taking P10.

Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso both dropped out in Q2 after a wheel-to-wheel encounter at the first corner on their final laps, compromising their runs. Alonso tried passing Magnussen around the outside at Turn 1 after closing on the main straight, only to run wide and cause both drivers to lose time.

Magnussen ultimately missed out on a Q3 berth by just two-thousandths of a second, finishing 11th, while Alonso - who bemoaned the fact Magnussen "wanted to race" at Turn 1 - finished 13th, with respective bosses Gunther Steiner of Haas and Zak Brown of McLaren spotted arguing in the pit lane after the incident. The incident will be investigated after the session by the stewards.

Following Stroll's lead, Sergey Sirotkin recorded his second straight Q2 appearance, finishing the session 12th between the quarreling drivers. Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo finished 14th and 15th as neither driver set a time due to their grid penalties for Sunday.

Just half a second covered all cars outside of the top six in Q1, resulting in a couple of surprise casualties. Force India's Sergio Perez was caught out by the rapid improvements of the cars behind, having remained in the pits after his first run, meaning he dropped out in P16.

Sauber's Charles Leclerc paid the price for dipping a wheel into the gravel at the first Lesmo, finishing P17 ahead of Brendon Hartley, who wound up six places behind teammate Gasly in Q1 despite being just one-tenth of a second slower.

Marcus Ericsson ended up 19th for Sauber, while Stoffel Vandoorne suffered his seventh straight Q1 knock-out, propping up the timesheets for McLaren in P20.

 

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