Hamilton grabs last-gasp British GP pole

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for his first ever home Grand Prix at Silverstone

Hamilton grabs last-gasp British GP pole

The McLaren driver beat practice pace-setter Kimi Raikkonen, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa sharing the second row.

Alonso had looked set for pole until the final seconds, having been fastest in both the preliminary sessions, and then quickest on the first flying laps of Q3.

The world champion then improved further on his second run, but his 1: 20.147 lap was quickly beaten by Raikkonen's 1:20.099.

Then Hamilton, who had only been fourth on his first Q3 run, improved by six tenths of a second - lapping in 1:19.997 to take the third pole of his career.

Behind the McLaren and Ferrari battle, Robert Kubica took fifth for BMW, ahead of a surprise performance by Ralf Schumacher. The Toyota earned his best starting position of the season so far by taking sixth.

The two Renaults occupied the fourth row, with Heikki Kovalainen out-qualifying Giancarlo Fisichella.

The final top ten places went to BMW's Nick Heidfeld, and Schumacher's teammate Jarno Trulli.

The Red Bulls will share the sixth row, with Mark Webber ahead of David Coulthard.

Their stablemates at Scuderia Toro Rosso easily reached Q2, but could not progress above row eight. Scott Speed beat teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi to 15th.

Jenson Button had a disastrous qualifying session for his home Grand Prix. He only managed 18th on the grid after encountering traffic on his first Q1 lap, then slowing on his second run after being informed of yellow flags in the complex, only to find they had been withdrawn by the time he arrived there.

His teammate Rubens Barrichello will start 14th.

Alex Wurz ended his string of poor qualifying performances by comfortably reaching Q2, and then came close to breaking into the top ten for the first time in his comeback season. He held eighth as Q2 came to an end, but late improvements by others pushed him down to 13th.

His teammate Nico Rosberg - who had been in the top five in two of the practice sessions - struggled to 17th after a mechanical problem in Q1 limited his straight-line speed.

The Super Aguris and Spykers will share the back two rows of the grid. with Anthony Davidson at the head of the quartet in 19th despite going off the road between Brooklands and Luffield and ending Q1 stuck in the gravel.

Adrian Sutil beat Takuma Sato and Christijan Albers to 20th.

Britain qualifying breakdown Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
Pos Driver Team Pos Time Lap Pos Time Lap Pos Time Lap
1. Hamilton McLaren 4. 1:19.885 4 3. 1:19.400 3 1. 1:19.997 12
2. Raikkonen Ferrari 2. 1:19.753 4 2. 1:19.252 3 2. 1:20.099 11
3. Alonso McLaren 1. 1:19.330 3 1. 1:19.152 3 3. 1:20.147 12
4. Massa Ferrari 3. 1:19.790 3 4. 1:19.421 3 4. 1:20.265 12
5. Kubica BMW Sauber 5. 1:20.294 8 7. 1:20.054 3 5. 1:20.401 11
6. R.Schumacher Toyota 6. 1:20.513 6 5. 1:19.860 6 6. 1:20.516 11
7. Kovalainen Renault 8. 1:20.570 7 8. 1:20.077 6 7. 1:20.721 11
8. Fisichella Renault 12. 1:20.842 7 6. 1:20.042 6 8. 1:20.775 11
9. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 7. 1:20.534 3 10. 1:20.178 3 9. 1:20.894 11
10. Trulli Toyota 13. 1:21.150 7 9. 1:20.133 6 10. 1:21.240 11
11. Webber Red Bull 9. 1:20.583 6 11. 1:20.235 6      
12. Coulthard Red Bull 14. 1:21.154 7 12. 1:20.329 7      
13. Wurz Williams 10. 1:20.830 9 13. 1:20.350 6      
14. Barrichello Honda 16. 1:21.169 6 14. 1:20.364 6      
15. Speed Toro Rosso 11. 1:20.834 6 15. 1:20.515 6      
16. Liuzzi Toro Rosso 15. 1:21.160 7 16. 1:20.823 8      
17. Rosberg Williams 17. 1:21.219 6            
18. Button Honda 18. 1:21.335 6            
19. Davidson Super Aguri 19. 1:21.448 5            
20. Sutil Spyker 20. 1:22.019 8            
21. Sato Super Aguri 21. 1:22.045 6            
22. Albers Spyker 22. 1:22.589 6            
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