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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report


Raikkonen on pole for Spanish GP

May 08, 2005 15:44 IST

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen snapped up his second successive pole position as Renault's championship leader Fernando Alonso was pushed off the front row for his home Spanish Grand Prix.

With an sea of blue-shirted fans blasting klaxons and roaring in support as he left the pitlane, Alonso could only qualify third behind Raikkonen and Australian Mark Webber in a Williams.

Raikkonen's pole was the fifth of his career and his aggregate time of two minutes 31.421 seconds was 0.247 quicker than Webber's surprisingly swift Williams.

Ferrari's seven times world champion Michael Schumacher meanwhile saw his run of five successive pole positions at the Circuit de Catalunya come to an end with a distant eighth place.

The German, who went from 13th to second in the last San Marino Grand Prix, will make Formula One history if he is to win for the fifth year in a row in Spain.

The race is one of the most predictable on the calendar and since the circuit's debut 14 years ago, no driver has won in Barcelona from lower than third place on the grid. Ten of the winners have come from pole position.

"I'm happy now. After qualifying yesterday I wasn't too happy because of my mistake," said Raikkonen, who skidded wide at turn two on Saturday and lost about half a second.

"I knew that if I kept it on the road I should be okay because the difference between first and third yesterday was so small.

ALONSO CONFIDENT

"Hopefully we can have a good race," said the Finn, who led at Imola for nine laps before a driveshaft failure forced him to pull over. "We just need to have a good start, after that it should be sorted."

Alonso, chasing his fourth victory in a row, starts alongside Toyota's Ralf Schumacher.

"There was a fantastic feeling and atmosphere in the track," said the 23-year-old Spaniard. "I'm very happy with this third place. It's not the front row but it's the clean side of the circuit for the start.

"I think we will have very good pace in the long runs."

Alonso's Italian team mate Giancarlo Fisichella was on the third row with fifth placed compatriot Jarno Trulli in a Toyota. Trulli had been on the overnight pole but his fears of being unable to hold on proved right.

Williams provided the main surprise after Webber had to miss Friday practice while waiting for an engine to be flown in from Munich after the new one he had been due to use was diagnosed with a faulty exhaust valve.

"It's an amazing turnaround," said Webber, whose team mate Nick Heidfeld starts from the rear with Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello. "All in all a huge weekend for the team and we're very happy to be on the front row.

"Clearly the Renaults and McLarens are strong, they've shown that in the last four races, but we are coming back I believe and I hope that we can give them a good run," said Webber.

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya, returning from a two-race layoff due to a shoulder injury, starts alongside old foe Michael Schumacher.

Briton David Coulthard, in a Red Bull, was alongside Sauber's Brazilian Felipe Massa on the fifth row.

The two clashed on the track at the last race with the Scot grabbing Massa by the throat in the car park afterwards.

© Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage

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