When your rival’s team principal starts applauding, you know you’ve done something special. Kimi Raikkonen produced an absolutely stunning lap to clinch pole position at the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix. It remains one of the Finn’s best pole positions ever and the lap itself can only be described as a work of art.
When Kimi Raikkonen produced a magical lap at Monaco
The 2005 season was a breath of fresh air in Formula 1. It was the year which saw Ferrari’s dominance of 5 seasons come to an end. More importantly, the young drivers were leading the way. With Ferrari out of the equation, Renault had stepped up and was the team to beat.
The French team’s closest rivals were McLaren whose title hopes rested with Kimi Raikkonen.
Heading into the race in Monti Carlo, Renault were favourites to dominate yet another race weekend. Furthermore, Alonso looked mighty throughout practice and looked set to claim pole. However, the iceman had other plans.
In the dying stages of qualifying, Fernando Alonso set a blistering lap around the streets of Monte Carlo to take provisional pole. The session looked done and dusted and many expected the results to stay the same. Only one man could deny Alonso pole that day and boy did he deliver.
As Kimi crossed the start/finish line, the world watched on with anticipation and a hint of uncertainty. The Finn manoeuvred his McLaren around the street circuit with ease.
As he completed the first sector, the timing screen lit up green. However, he wasn’t done yet and had three-quarters of the lap to go. As Kimi finished the second sector, the timing charts went green again. Finally, on crossing the finish line, the F1 world erupted in jubilation. Raikkonen took pole by a whopping half a second!
The onboard camera captured Raikkonen triumphantly raising his fists in the air as the Monte Carlo grandstands cheered on. What was most surprising was Flavio Briatore’s reaction. Because cameras captured the Renault team principal applauding Raikkonen’s phenomenal lap.
Kimi’s lap was a thing of sheer brilliance and the only thing the paddock could do that day was to applaud and acknowledge.
Even Martin Brundle adjudged Raikkonen’s lap as the best of the year.
The Finn went on to win the race, followed by Nick Heidfeld in second and Webber in third.