Kimi Raikkonen broke his 129 pole position-less streak by grabbing P1 in Monte Carlo while defending Monaco GP champ Lewis Hamilton failed to make it out of Q2.
On a hot Saturday afternoon in Monte Carlo – track temperature up to 53’C – it was all about Ferrari and Red Bull at the front while Mercedes, especially Hamilton, struggled.
Hamilton, who was only tenth quickest in Q1, had a difficult time in the second session which included a close encounter with a barrier.
He was down in 14th place and with time for only one more lap when Stoffel Vandoorne crashed his McLaren into the barriers on the exit of the Swimming Pool.
“I’m out, right?” asked Hamilton. He was. P14.
The Brit’s exit was good news for Ferrari as championship leader Vettel and Raikkonen vyed for pole position along with the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo.
Raikkonen led the early running and upped that ante to a 1:12.178 on his final run. That ensured the Finn claimed pole position, his first in 129 grand prix weekends.
Vettel put in a late improvement but fell short, 0.043s down. Valtteri Bottas was third, a further 0.002s off the pace.
Max Verstappen was fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean.
Jenson Button, filling in for the Indy-bound Fernando Alonso, was P9 while Vandoorne qualified tenth. Both McLaren drivers are facing grid penalties.
Esteban Ocon was a late arrival in qualifying after his FP3 shunt. He was unabel to find the pace needed to get out of Q1, finishing down in 16th place.
Marcus Ericsson was slowest of all after whacking the barriers and damaging the rear left wheel of his Sauber.
1 Raikkonen Ferrari 1:12.178
2 Vettel Ferrari 0.043
3 Bottas Mercedes 0.045
4 Verstappen Red Bull 0.318
5 Ricciardo Red Bull 0.820
6 Sainz Toro Rosso 0.984
7 Perez Force India 1.151
8 Grosjean Haas 1.171
9 Button McLaren 1.435
10 Vandoorne McLaren no time
11 Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.516
12 Hulkenberg Renault 1:13.628
13 Magnussen Haas 1:13.959
14 Hamilton Mercedes 1:14.106
15 Massa Williams 1:20.529
16 Ocon Force India 1:14.101
17 Palmer Renault 1:14.696
18 Stroll Williams 1:14.893
19 Wehrlein Sauber 1:15.159
20 Ericsson Sauber 1:15.276