Raikkonen takes pole, Vettel 2nd, to boost Ferrari at Monza

Marcus Ericsson's Sauber has huge crash in Italian GP second practice

Marcus Ericsson's Sauber has huge crash in Italian GP second practice

Sebastian Vettel is hot on the trail of World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton as we close in on the Italian Grand Prix to be played out in Monza.

"We have not taken a decision yet", he said. "It's a long race". In Parabolica you normally launch the out-lap and start accelerating, but we arrived together into Turn One and we both lost the lap.

Raikkonen's pole position at Monza was Ferrari's first on home turf since 2010.

The Ferrari is also using its tyres better than the Merc and has probably the best low-speed traction of any vehicle on the grid, which will serve it mightily out of Monza's tight chicanes.

"On circuits where efficiency is important, like Silverstone, like Spa, we got good results and I think that is a good base for the rest of the season".

That extra power and determination saw a good drive from Bottas making his way up to fourth spot and accumulating valuable championship points.

McLaren's Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, whose team mate Fernando Alonso clashed on track with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in the second phase of qualifying, could not say the same after setting the slowest time.

Sauber later confirmed their driver was uninjured following the scary shunt, and although they remained tight-lipped on what caused Ericsson to stray off the track.

Vettel won his first ever F1 race at the Autodromo di Monza a decade ago, an unbelievable feat in his Toro Rosso. And the team have proven that they, just about, have the quickest auto at the moment, being quickest on raw pace for the last four races running.

Big news of the weekend was that billionaire Lawrence Stroll, father of Williams driver Lance Stroll, has bought the beleaguered team of Force India with the obvious intent of moving his son Lance to lead the team.

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"We have Vettel who is the Ronaldo of formula one and Kimi who is a great friend". The gap between them is now only 17 points, and Wolff is alarmed over the fact that they might not have enough margin.

Bottas is still waiting for his first win of the season after 13 races, as a variety of setbacks have all but eliminated his own title hopes. "We have to take it calmly", he added.

"It was a fantastic qualifying session". He said: "It's hard to get a worse weekend".

"He thought he could have the ideal slipstream and overtake me, and then gain - I don't know many tenths but you can gain a lot if you do that". Q3 was nice, everyone improved, but I knew it was going to be super tight.

"I think the last sector was OK but also not fantastic".

Spa had yet again proved a tough race for both vehicle and driver but at least the weather for a change had remained sunny and dry for the whole race. Ricciardo trudged back to the pits and after fixing a damaged rear wing, was forced to forfeit 29 laps in.

My guess would be a change within the next few races and the outcome could be a move to Williams for Ocon. And he's got a similar performance on his mind again.

"Certainly we are in a better position compared to ourselves, to start with, and if I consider Spa last year, for example, we were not as competitive as we have been this year", he told a media conference. "Monza was a good one". I don't know the weather tomorrow but the auto works. So we will see.

Hamilton, third quickest in the end, 0.175sec back from Raikkonen, pointed out that they were all getting a tow. "For me it is always fun".

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