First Pole for Heidfeld in Nurburgring

Nick Heidfeld claimed his maiden career pole position when he topped qualifying for Sunday's European Grand Prix after the grid was decided by a single session on Saturday for the first time this season

First Pole for Heidfeld in Nurburgring

The previous format, which saw final positions decided on aggregate times from Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning sessions, was scrapped after the Monaco Grand Prix and Heidfeld made the most of his chance to secure pole.

Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who has won the last two races for McLaren, could only manage second fastest time on his flying lap as his run of three consecutive pole positions was brought to an end.

Heidfeld's time of 1:30.081 put him 0.116 seconds ahead of Raikkonen and out-classed Australian teammate Mark Webber, who will start from the second row in third after finishing 0.287 seconds behind.

Italian Jarno Trulli finished fourth fastest for Toyota with Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, in the second McLaren, finishing fifth but around seven tenths slower than teammate Raikkonen.

Championship leader Fernando Alonso, who struggled at the last race in Monaco, will start from sixth place on the grid as Renault struggled to find the pace they showed in the early races.

Ferrari, who have won four of the last five races here, missing out only to Ralf Schumacher and Williams in 2003, continued to struggle leaving both drivers to rely on a strong race pace here Sunday.

World Champion Michael Schumacher secured a hat-trick of pole, fastest lap and victory here last year but he will start from tenth while teammate Rubens Barrichello fared slightly better with seventh place.

Ralf Schumacher, who suffered a disastrous race in Monaco, finished eighth fastest in the second Toyota and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, fighting to come back from struggles with Renault, finished ninth.

BAR-Honda, who have missed the last two races after being banned for failing to prove their car legal at the San Marino Grand Prix, finished out of the top ten with Jenson Button 13th and Takuma Sato 16th.

The BAR-Honda cars were first out, in temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius, and Sato set a time of 1:32.296 but was immediately beaten by his teammate Button, who went 0.332 seconds faster to go top.

Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard then showed BAR what they could expect when he went top while Patrick Friesacher drew cheers from the Minardi garage when he beat the time of Jordan driver Narain Karthikeyan.

Liuzzi looked set to go top after showing a strong pace in the first two sectors but Coulthard's impressive run in the final sector was too tough to beat and the Italian had to slot into third.

Christijan Albers finished just behind Friesacher but Tiago Monteiro saved the day for Jordan when he went faster than both his teammate and the two Minardi drivers to claim the top spot of the two backmarker teams.

Fisichella was out next and immediately posted the fastest time in every sector to go 0.987 seconds quicker than Coulthard then Villeneuve slotted in behind Liuzzi in fifth with ten drivers left to run.

Trulli was next out, and he tore 0.866 seconds off Fisichella's lap to go top, then Massa dropped in third, more than half a second faster than his Sauber teammate Villeneuve.

The two Ferraris were next to run and Barrichello made a small mistake into turn one but finished with a time of 1:31.249 to go second then Schumacher had a poor second sector and finished behind Fisichella.

Ralf Schumacher then posted the third fastest time with five runners to go then Montoya put his McLaren second and Alonso slotted into third before Webber went top with just Heidfeld and Raikkonen left to run.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. (19) Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:30.081 2. (20) Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:30.197 + 0.116 3. (18) Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:30.368 + 0.287 4. (11) Trulli Toyota (M) 1:30.700 + 0.619 5. (16) Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:30.890 + 0.809 6. (17) Alonso Renault (M) 1:31.056 + 0.975 7. (13) Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:31.249 + 1.168 8. (15) R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:31.392 + 1.311 9. (9) Fisichella Renault (M) 1:31.566 + 1.485 10. (14) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:31.585 + 1.504 11. (12) Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:32.205 + 2.124 12. (4) Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:32.553 + 2.472 13. (2) Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:32.594 + 2.513 14. (6) Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:32.642 + 2.561 15. (10) Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:32.891 + 2.810 16. (1) Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:32.926 + 2.845 17. (8) Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:35.047 + 4.966 18. (5) Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:35.954 + 5.873 19. (3) Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:36.192 + 6.111 20. (7) Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:36.239 + 6.158 
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