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Despite ending 9-year F1 pole drought, Raikkonen remains the Iceman in Monaco

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Given he has not started a Formula 1 race from pole position in close to nine years (eight years, 11 months for those wondering), you may have thought that Kimi Raikkonen would have been more jovial about finally ending his drought during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

But this is Kimi Raikkonen.

Even after scoring what is widely-regarded as being the most important pole position of the year, the Finn stayed true to his ‘Iceman’ nickname, refusing to be too overawed by the success.

When teammate Sebastian Vettel was informed in Russia that he had taken pole, the pit wall was met with excessive whooping and cheering from the cockpit. Kimi’s response?

He may be as non-plussed as ever, but the enormity of this result must not be lost for Raikkonen. We are already into the yearly debate about his future, with a list of names being thrown about that could possibly take his seat at Ferrari next year.

Raikkonen’s case has not been aided in the early part of the season by a failure to match Vettel for pace and, crucially, results. While Vettel has taken two wins and three second place finishes, Raikkonen has often finished way behind on-track, racking up just one podium in the same period.

But in Monaco, Raikkonen may just be about to take a big step towards securing his Ferrari future. The run down to Turn 1 will be critical, but assuming he stays ahead, he will then have a golden chance to prove he has what it takes to match Vettel on-track.

With Lewis Hamilton set to start a lowly 13th, the chips are stacked in Ferrari’s favor for Sunday – yet Raikkonen is refusing to get ahead of himself and start dreaming of a first race win for the Scuderia since Belgium 2009.

“If you take any circuit then here is the most important for pole position but it doesn’t automatically give you a win or good result,” Raikkonen said.

“There are so many things that can happen in the race that are nothing to do with you. You might be doing perfect and the team might be doing perfect but actually then there is something that is out of your own hands that might destroy your result.

“So it is going to be a long and difficult race but we have two cars in the best possible position.”

The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBC from 7:30am ET on Sunday, with F1 Countdown beginning on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”