Hakkinen takes record pole

Mika Hakkinen's Imola pole means that he has now taken more pole positions than any other driver on the current Formula One grid

Hakkinen takes record pole

He has now started from the front 24 times, once more than Michael Schumacher, and equal with Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet. He is sixth in the all-time pole rankings.

'I don't look at these statistics too much, it doesn't have a huge meaning for me,' said the Finn.

'What really matters at the end of the day is how many championships you have. How many poles you have compared to someone else does not have too much of a meaning.'

A delighted Hakkinen gave a thumbs up sign as he nabbed pole back from Schumacher on his very last lap, when the clock on qualifying had already run out. He knelt down beside his car and the McLaren-Mercedes logo and gave a thumbs up sign to the cameras and his fans across the pit lane.

'It was exciting stuff. I was absolutely on the limit and a little bit beyond it sometimes,' he reported.

'This track is one in which the kerbs are different to other places. You can run on them a lot and if you get too greedy it can be dangerous. But if you do it right you can do a good lap time like I did today.

'I game the thumbs up because its been a really hard time for all of the team. We have had a terrible time in the last two GPs and this was our reward.

'To have failures like we have had in the last two GPs is not normal. I believe the team will fix the problems, the thumbs up was to give them lots of encouragement. But the pressure is still on for the race. I want to finish and score points.

'I would like to win but we don't know if its going to happen. Let's hope so.'

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