‘Mature' first pole from Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen hit back at any Canadian criticism in perfect fashion with his first Grand Prix pole position at Nurburgring, his first ace since dominating Formule Renault in the UK. The Finn's lap delighted both Ron Dennis and Norbert Haug, with Dennis saying that it reflected a more mature approach

‘Mature' first pole from Raikkonen

"This track emphasises the importance of not being too ambitious at the first corner," Dennis said. "Kimi set the pole without recording fastest time in any of the three sectors - a clear indication of a more mature lap, of making sure that he was near the limit without going over it.

"It was certainly a more mature approach than Canada, where he arrived at the first corner almost 10mph faster than he had ever been before! That was immaturity and he has learned from it."

Haug, who repeatedly punched the air after Raikkonen crossed the line said: "It is a good coincidence that Mika (Hakkinen) had his first pole position here in 1997, then had his first win later on and went on to win the championship the following year. Kimi has already got his first win, of course, but here's hoping for history to repeat itself."

A tongue-in-cheek Raikkonen said: "I don't know about some other Finnish bloke taking pole here, but it certainly feels good."

Team-mate David Coulthard had a less than inspiring qualifying session, and will start from ninth as a result, but as Dennis is quick to point out the MP4-17D usually races more strongly than it qualifies. "Speaking In terms of fuel load, I would be surprised if any other team has been more conservative than us," he said.

Whether or not the team's 'conservative' strategy changed from practice to qualifying, Coulthard didn't look entirely comfortable with his final set-up. "The balance of the car was not as good as in the warm-up," he said. "The car touched the ground a bit in some places, and I locked up at turn one, which cost me time.

"We will do the best we can in the race tomorrow, and I believe it will be a case of strategy and reliability."

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