Sebastian Vettel says there is no reason Kimi Raikkonen cannot win the Italian Grand Prix after the Finn took pole position for Ferrari’s home race.
Raikkonen took his first pole position of the season with an impressive final lap at Monza, beating Vettel by over 0.1s as his teammate just edged out Lewis Hamilton to secure an all-Ferrari front row. With Vettel 17 points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ championship standings, Raikkonen has often had to play the support role but Vettel insists the 38-year-old will be allowed to win on Sunday.
“Well, if he’s starting from pole, I guess he’s allowed to win,” Vettel said. “It’s a long race. Obviously he wants to win, I want to win. Hopefully one of us will win.
“I guess [it changes the start] a little bit. Obviously you are still always trying to get out ahead, no matter who you’re racing but for sure you try to avoid contact. Then again, as I said, you try to avoid that anyway. It’s not like there’s another car and you say, ‘Yeah, I’m happy to make contact.’ With our cars you can’t really afford to touch or be touched.”
Vettel’s initial celebration when he crossed the line to pip Hamilton was immediately tempered by his team telling him Raikkonen had beaten him to pole, to which the German replied: “We speak after.” While not elaborating on what he wanted to talk to the team about, Vettel insisted his own performance wasn’t good enough, despite having been ahead of Raikkonen on track and therefore giving his teammate a tow.
“My last lap I wasn’t happy with and I think it was the only chance I had to get a shot at pole. So, well done to Kimi. I think he had a very, very good lap, and did a great job, so it’s great to have the cars in one and two.
“To be honest, it was not a tidy lap. I think the other laps were actually better … I lost a bit in the first chicane, the second chicane, the Lesmos, pretty much a bit everywhere. I think the last sector was OK but also not fantastic. It was just not a good lap and not good enough. Obviously lucky to get second instead of third but… yeah. Just not good enough.”