Kimi Raikkonen leads Ferrari front-row in Monaco, Lewis Hamilton only P14

Lewis Hamilton is set to start a lowly 13th for the Monaco Grand Prix following a disastrous display in qualifying on Saturday as Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen claimed pole position.

Raikkonen, who secured his first pole position since the 2008 French Grand Prix, refused to get carried away despite his starting position.

Jenson Button qualified ninth on his return to F1 in place of Fernando Alonso, but Button's McLaren-Honda will drop to the back of the grid thanks to a 15-place penalty for engine component changes ahead of final practice.

These days, he tends to perform a supporting number two role at Ferrari to Sebastian Vettel, the current leader of the world championship.

In those latest two races team bungles hurt the pole-sitter dearly - in 2015 Hamilton's team made a timing miscalculation that cost him.

Hamilton was constantly fighting his Mercedes as he struggled throughout the session, before he was ultimately eliminated from qualifying in Q2 after Stoffel Vandoorne crashed out while Hamilton was on his final attempt to try and make it into the final segment of qualifying.

'I hope Valtteri wins the race, ' added Hamilton. "I mean I don't drive the auto badly, and I'm not slow here".

"It has been a problem for us this weekend", he said.

Vettel set an unofficial lap record through FP2 on Thursday afternoon, but was able to gain even more time through FP3 for Ferrari as he shaved another three-tenths of a second off his best lap.

Ocon missed the cut by 0.202s but was well clear of the second Renault of Jolyon Palmer, who complained of too much understeer as he struggled to the 17th fastest time.

"It's a good surprise for all of us, because it has been a tricky first five races for us, I think we all expected a bit more from the vehicle and the pace, and suddenly to get this P6 in Monaco is the best boost for everyone".

"In Q2 the same stuff, and in Q3, the best lap of the weekend up until now, the lap where I went for it 100 percent, and it came really well together". That lap may have got me into the top 10 but I think I'd have struggled to be in the top five. "It was a good start into the weekend - now let's let that sink in and see that we keep the tension until Sunday".

"That last lap may have just got me into the top 10, but then I probably would have struggled to be in the top five, with the pace that I had, with whatever issue I was having in the auto", said Hamilton.

"I don't know the weather forecast", said Vettel.

The Mercedes looked in slightly better shape than it did on Thursday, but the auto was still lacking the effortless grip of the Ferrari.

The fact that Bottas had clearly managed to do so, as was the case in Russian Federation where the Finn took his first Formula One race win on a day of struggle for Hamilton, made it all the more galling.

  • Leroy Wright