Montoya Leads McLaren Front Row in Spa

Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen secured the first all-McLaren front row of the season as the Colombian narrowly beat the Finn to pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday

Montoya Leads McLaren Front Row in Spa

Finn Raikkonen, who is chasing down a 27-point deficit to Renault driver Fernando Alonso, had set the leading time but Montoya raced ahead on the final run of the session.

Montoya's time of 1:46.391 put him just 0.049 seconds ahead of Raikkonen as the sun returned to Spa and fears eased after a washout day of heavy rain left drivers concerned about the race actually going ahead.

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella finished third fastest in the session but will be forced to drop ten places on the grid having had the engine in his Renault changed ahead of the qualifying session.

Italian Jarno Trulli finished fourth fastest for Toyota, just ahead of fifth-placed Spaniard Alonso, the World Championship leader, with the second Toyota of German Ralf Schumacher in sixth place.

World Champion German Michael Schumacher, who had prayed for rain to even the field this weekend, still looked happy in the sunshine as he secured seventh place finish but was more than a second off the pace of the McLarens.

Brazilian Felipe Massa finished eighth for Sauber with Briton Jenson Button ninth for BAR-Honda and Australian Mark Webber closing out the top ten in his Williams with Takuma Sato completing the top ten on the grid for BAR.

The early morning blue skies had been covered by cloud by the time the first driver out on track, Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan, set a benchmark time but his effort was soon eclipsed by the two Dutch Minardi drivers.

Victory in the battle between the backmarker pair, in what is the closest race to their home country, went to Robert Doornbos, who went out after Albers and beat him by just six hundredths of a second.

Sato was the first driver from a top team to set a time in his BAR-Honda but that was soon beaten by Mark Webber, of Williams, but then World Champion Michael Schumacher, the 11th car on track, went to the top.

Ralf Schumacher then put the Toyota ahead of the field by just 0.075 seconds then Trulli moved ahead by eight tenths of a second with an impressive lap as umbrellas rose in the stands with spots of rain starting to fall.

The rain stayed away and Raikkonen was out next, moving to the top of the times and none of the other runners could beat him before Montoya left him disappointed by knocking him down to second.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. (20) Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:46.391 2. (17) Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:46.440 + 0.049 3. (18) Fisichella Renault (M) 1:46.497 + 0.106 4. (16) Trulli Toyota (M) 1:46.596 + 0.205 5. (19) Alonso Renault (M) 1:46.760 + 0.369 6. (15) R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:47.401 + 1.010 7. (11) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:47.476 + 1.085 8. (12) Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:47.867 + 1.476 9. (13) Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:47.978 + 1.587 10. (7) Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:48.071 + 1.680 11. (5) Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:48.353 + 1.962 12. (6) Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:48.508 + 2.117 13. (9) Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:48.550 + 2.159 14. (10) Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:48.889 + 2.498 15. (14) Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:48.898 + 2.507 16. (8) Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:48.994 + 2.603 17. (3) Doornbos Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:49.779 + 3.388 18. (1) Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:49.842 + 3.451 19. (4) Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:51.498 + 5.107 20. (2) Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:51.675 + 5.284


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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Will Gray
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