Kimi Raikkonen claims Silverstone Pole Position - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Kimi Raikkonen claims Silverstone Pole Position

After the shenanigans of the pre-qualifying session, 19 runners tried their best to set the fastest lap time in final qualifying this afternoon at Silverstone. With rain threatening, but never arriving, Kimi Raikkonen pulled out an excellent lap in his McLaren Mercedes to take his third career pole position and his first of the season.

Raikkonen set the pace with a 1:18.233s to beat last year’s pole sitter Rubens Barrichello by just 0.072s. Barrichello’s lap looked all but unbeatable, especially when Raikkonen was four-tenths of a second slower in the first sector of the lap. The Finn kept his head down and put together a lovely end to his lap, knocking Barrichello from the top spot.

Jenson Button, fastest in pre-qualifying, was the final driver to qualify. In front of an estimated 60,000 fans, Button set the pace in the first sector, but the time slipped away in the final sector and he will have to be content with third fastest ahead of Michael Schumacher in the second Ferrari.

Jarno Trulli set the fifth fastest time in his Renault, just over half a second off Raikkonen’s ultimate pace. Team-mate Fernando Alonso set the sixth best time, but drops down the order to 16th due to his engine change earlier today.

David Coulthard was unable to match the scintillating pace of McLaren team-mate David Coulthard and starts the 60-lap British Grand Prix from sixth position, nine-tenths of a second off the quickest time.

It was a case of more disappointment over at BMW Williams as Juan Pablo Montoya starts from seventh position, with Marc Gene back in 12th place. Takuma Sato qualified his BAR Honda in eighth place and has struggled all weekend to match the pace of his pumped up team- mate Jenson Button.

Mark Webber did a solid job in his Jaguar to qualify in ninth position, while team-mate Christian Klien qualified back in 14th position. Over at Sauber, Felipe Massa also did a good job as he qualified in tenth position while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella starts last after not taking part in the session.

Olivier Panis* starts the race from 12th place in his Toyota, ahead of the Williams of gene and the second Toyota of Cristiano da Matta. Panis won few friends at Sauber as he baulked Felipe Massa on his qualifying run as he returned slowly back to the pit lane. With Christian Klien 14th, Giorgio Pantano starts 15th in his Jordan while team-mate Nick Heidfeld was a tenth of a second slower and two positions back.

Fernando Alonso starts in 16th in his Renault, his race effectively ruined by an engine failure this morning while the Minardi duo of Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner start 18th and 19th respectively. Fisichella, so fast in practice yesterday, starts at the back of the grid.

The qualifying hour brought some surprises and the speculation now turn to who is running light in qualifying and sacrificing distance come the 60 lap British Grand Prix. McLaren Mercedes meanwhile can finally put to rest their awful first half of the season as they have proved today that they are back…

* Panis was later penalised for baulking Felipe Massa on his qualifying lap. He will now start last on the grid.

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