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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.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.