Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen takes pole, records fastest-ever lap in Italian GP qualifying

Ferrari will be hopeful of ending an eight-year wait for a win at its home track after taking the front two places on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix for the first time since 2000.

Surprisingly, it was Kimi Raikkonen who edged his teammate and title hopeful Sebastian Vettel in qualifying today to clinch only his second pole position in 10 years — and setting Formula One's fastest ever lap in the process.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who saw his advantage cut to 17 points last weekend, was third fastest — missing out on pole at Monza for the first time in five years.

"It's only half the job done, tomorrow is a very important part, so hopefully we can get another great result, said Raikkonen, who was last on pole in Monaco last year.

The passionate Ferrari tifosi fans were delighted as Vettel briefly took top spot after crossing the line ahead of Raikkonen at the end of Q3, and the cheers grew even louder when the Finn completed his lap to post a time 0.161 faster.

"It's a special place for sure to get the pole position at our home grand prix in front of our fans ... it's good today, hopefully tomorrow it's very good," Raikkonen added.

Vettel appeared to celebrate before being told on team radio that he had been beaten by Raikkonen.

"We speak later," was Vettel's terse response.

The four-time world champion was asked about the incident in the news conference later but only said: "Clearly I wasn't happy but I won't tell you why."

Monza — known as the Temple of Speed — is the fastest track on the circuit and Raikkonen's lap was at an average speed of 263.587 kph (almost 164 mph), beating the sport's quickest lap which was also set here by Juan Pablo Montoya for Williams in 2004.

The last time Ferrari took pole position for the Italian GP was in 2010, which was also the year it last won its home race, with Fernando Alonso driving.

"(Fans) go crazy whether it's practice or now in qualifying so that's nice to see," Vettel said. "But I'm not entirely happy with the end of my qualifying and that's the emotion that's dominating at the moment."

Vettel became F1's then-youngest race winner when he triumphed in Monza in 2008 with Toro Rosso. He also won the Italian GP in his 2011 and 2013 title years with Red Bull.

Hamilton has won four of the past six races in Monza. The Mercedes driver would tie Michael Schumacher's record of five Italian GP victories with another win tomorrow.

"We gave it everything we could — it's obviously incredibly close between us but they've had the upper hand this weekend," said Hamilton, who was booed by the crowd during his post-qualifying interview.

"Everyone in the team is working as hard as they can to make the difference."

He added: "It was just amazing how intense it was, and that's how racing should be."

Hamilton's teammate Valtteri Bottas was a distant fourth, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen fifth and Romain Grosjean of Haas sixth.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg will start in the back row after they were penalised for taking on new engine parts.

MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 1, 2018 in Monza, Italy.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
Kimi Raikkonen of Finland driving the (7) Scuderia Ferrari SF71H on track during qualifying for the Formula One Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza. Source: Getty


Italian rider who pulled rival's brake banned for rest of 2018

Italian motorcycle rider Romano Fenati has been banned for the remainder of 2018 after pulling a rival's brake lever while racing at 140 miles per hour.

The 22-year-old was sacked by his Marinelli Snipers team and banned for two grands prix following the incident during the Moto 2 race in San Marino on September 9.

His latest punishment comes after he was asked to explain his actions at a meeting with motorcycle racing's governing body, Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

"Following the discussion with the rider and his representative, the FIM decided to withdraw Mr Fenati's FIM licence until the end of the current calendar year," reads a statement on

"A new FIM licence for the 2019 season may be granted to him subject to the conditions laid down in the FIM regulations."

Fenati was disqualified in San Marino after reaching across to the bike of Stefano Manzi.

Manzi managed to stay upright, but the dangerous incident prompted some to call for Fenati to be banned for life from the sport.

Giovanni Castiglioni, the owner of his future employer MV Agusta, said the rider's contract for 2019 would be torn up.

Fenati later issued an apology, during which he referred to an earlier moment in the race, which saw Manzi rebuked by officials for causing Fenati to leave the track.

"During the meeting, the FIM representatives emphasised the Federation's deep concern for the safety of all riders and other participants in motorcycling competitions," the FIM statement continued.

"They also highlighted the importance it attaches to fair play in motorcycling sport.

"While acknowledging that riders, and in particular those who reach the highest level of the sport, are subject to many pressures both on and off the track, they reminded Mr Fenati of the profound influence high-level athletes can have on fans and young people and urged him to be mindful of his responsibility to set a positive example in future."

Italy's Romano Fenati is facing a lengthy ban for his petulance in Misano. Source: Moto GP



Exclusive: Auckland edging closer to hosting Formula E championship - as early as next year

Formula E is the future of motor-racing and now it looks like Auckland could host a round of the championship from as early as next year.

As Formula E prepares for a fifth season, Kiwis should prepare for a chance to get a first-hand look at the technology that will power our future.

Kiwi driver Mitch Evans let the secret slip as his team unveiled their new car for this season.

"There could be some good news coming in the next few months," he said.

"Hopefully a race in NZ, in Auckland, my home city, in season six. That would be amazing."

1 NEWS understands local organisers have made great progress in the area after previously expressing interest in hosting a round and discussions with Formula E have been positive.

Auckland Council's events arm ATEED says they’re aware of the bid but have yet to receive a proposal.

Evans says it’s great just knowing there’s an effort being made.

"I know there's a big team working to try and make it happen and get it down to the City of Sails."

The event has been held on the inner city streets of Hong Kong, Paris and New York.

Although the ongoing city rail link development in Auckland creates a major problem, it's understood a central location has been identified that would cause minimal disruption to public streets.

Such a solution exists because Formula E circuits are usually only a couple of kilometres long.

Kiwi driver Mitch Evans said there could be some "good news" coming in the next few months. Source: 1 NEWS



Four-time IndyCar champ in awe of former teammate Scott Dixon's dominance

One of Indycar's most successful drivers has described his former teammate Scott Dixon as "a chameleon" with "exceptional desire" after surpassing him for career driver's championship wins.

Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title on Monday to sit second only to American great AJ Foyt who won seven championships.

With the achievement, the 38-year-old Kiwi broke away from the four-time winners group of Dario Franchitti, Mario Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais.

Franchitti drove alongside Dixon before becoming an adviser to Chip Ganassi Racing - the team Dixon races for - and said the Kiwi's ability to adapt was phenomenal.

"He's like a chameleon. He adapts to different styles of cars and different styles of tyres," Franchitti told

"He learns from every teammate he's got. He uses every resource he can get, and he'll ask questions of them. You see the results.

"Talent only gets you so far. He's got lots of it, maybe more than I've ever raced against. That's saying a lot with some of the people I've raced against. He just keeps working at it. That desire is exceptional."

But Dixon said after yesterday's triumph it was more than just him.

"It’s all about the people, I’m the lucky one that gets to take it across the line," he said.

"I can’t thank my wife, Emma, enough, she’s been so amazing through the whole season, it’s actually the anniversary of her father’s passing today so it’s an emotional time."

The Kiwi driver notched up the milestone at Sonoma Raceway in California. Source: Seven Sharp


'It's been a while!' Hayden Paddon claims seventh career podium finish at Rally Turkey

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has earned his first podium finish of the 2018 World Rally Championship season after a clean final day in Turkey.

Paddon and British co-driver Seb Marshall stuck to their game plan of racing a consistent race in the final four stages of Rally Turkey, allowing them to finish in third.

The pair went into the final day with a firm grip on third place - they were nearly a minute behind second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala but ahead of fourth-placed Teemu Suninen by a safe margin of over two minutes.

Paddon said racing with the concept of preserving third place instead of chasing those ahead of him felt like being in no man's land.

"It's a about playing the long game in this rally. When you're in 'no man's land' it can be really hard because you have to look after the car. It can be really painful but it's what you have to do."

The finish is Paddon's seventh on a WRC podium.

"I am really happy to take our first podium of the season. It has been a very tough rally. We have adopted a particular strategy this weekend that has required us to hold back and be patient," he said.

"Thankfully that approach has paid off and we have been rewarded with third place - it's been a while since we've been on the podium."

Paddon is coming to New Zealand for the Ashley Forest Rallysprint in Canterbury next weekend before he returns to Europe for the Wales Rally GB next month.