Button Takes Surprising Pole in Canada

Jenson Button surprised his rivals when he secured his second career pole position as he put the struggling BAR-Honda team back to the front ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix

Button Takes Surprising Pole in Canada

Button, who finished third in last year's Championship behind the two Ferrari drivers, put in a stunning time of 1:15.217 midway through the session that proved unbeatable for his rivals.

Button's time put him 0.258 seconds ahead of reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher, who had expected to struggle but came back to secure his second front row start of the season.

Schumacher has won the last three events here and had earlier admitted his hopes of securing his eighth Canadian Grand Prix are slim because of handling difficulties with his Ferrari.

But he gave his chances a boost with second when Championship leader Fernando Alonso, who went out last, failed to match the top two and had to settle for third place, 0.344 seconds off the pace.

Giancarlo Fisichella made it an all-Renault second row when he claimed fourth fastest time just ahead of lead McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya and sixth placed driver Takuma Sato in the second BAR.

Kimi Raikkonen, who is second in the championship race, 32 points behind Alonso, will start from seventh on the grid after a disappointing run and will have home favourite Jacques Villeneuve alongside him in the lead Sauber.

Jarno Trulli and German Ralf Schumacher completed the top ten runners for Toyota while Williams duo Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber finished a disappointing 13th and 14th respectively.

Rubens Barrichello will have to start from the back of the grid after failing to set a time when a tell-tale plume of smoke from the rear of his Ferrari signalled the end of his run.

Christian Klien, returning to the Red Bull race team after a stint as the third driver, was out first and set a time of 1:18.249, but that was quickly beaten by Williams driver Mark Webber, who went exactly half a second quicker.

Ralf Schumacher, who has been on pole for the last two races in Canada, was out next and raised the benchmark further when he went 1.387 seconds faster before Minardi driver Christijan Albers sprung a surprise by going faster than Klien.

Jordan driver Narain Karthikeyan put in a cautious lap and could only beat Patrick Friesacher, who sat at the bottom of the pile, but the Indian was still faster than teammate Tiago Monteiro, who slotted between the two at the back.

Felipe Massa then went second for Sauber to put pressure on Canadian teammate Jacques Villeneuve, out next, but the home favourite drew huge cheers from the crowd when he went fastest despite locking a wheel into the hairpin.

Sato, the tenth driver out, immediately silenced the crowd when he knocked Villeneuve off top spot and Raikkonen, who crashed out of the last race in the Nurburgring on the last lap, could only manage to slot into second.

Button was faster than Sato in the first and second sectors and moved ahead by half a second. Trulli could do nothing to match the Briton and slotted into fifth then Montoya claimed second in the second McLaren.

Fisichella got closer to Button but still missed out on his lap and had to replace Montoya in second, then Schumacher took second place when he finished 0.258 seconds behind the Briton and Alonso could do nothing to improve on top spot.

Pos        Driver        Team                   Time
 1.  (12)  Button        BAR-Honda         (M)  1:15.217
 2.  (16)  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:15.475 + 0.258
 3.  (20)  Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:15.561 + 0.344
 4.  (15)  Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:15.577 + 0.360
 5.  (14)  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:15.669 + 0.452
 6.  (10)  Sato          BAR-Honda         (M)  1:15.729 + 0.512
 7.  (11)  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:15.923 + 0.706
 8.   (9)  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:16.116 + 0.899
 9.  (13)  Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:16.201 + 0.984
10.   (3)  R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:16.362 + 1.145
11.   (8)  Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:16.661 + 1.444
12.  (17)  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:16.890 + 1.673
13.  (19)  Heidfeld      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:17.081 + 1.864
14.   (2)  Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:17.749 + 2.532
15.   (5)  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:18.214 + 2.997
16.   (1)  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:18.249 + 3.032
17.   (6)  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:18.664 + 3.447
18.   (7)  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:19.034 + 3.817
19.   (4)  Friesacher    Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:19.574 + 4.357
20.  (18)  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  No Time 
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