Raikkonen Grabs Pole in Spain

Kimi Raikkonen silenced the massive sell-out crowd at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Sunday morning, when he beat home hero Fernando Alonso to secure pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix

Raikkonen Grabs Pole in Spain

Raikkonen, who finished third fastest in a closely fought first qualifying session, jumped two places to secure his fifth career pole position for McLaren as Alonso slumped to third.

Crowds flocked to the circuit to watch Championship leader Alonso challenge for pole but will have to hope the race brings more cheer after not only Raikkonen but also Williams driver Mark Webber bettered his time.

Raikkonen secured an aggregate time over the two sessions of 2:31.421 to finish more than two tenths faster than Webber, but the Australian was delighted to jump up from provisional sixth to secure a front row spot.

In rising temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius Alonso could only manage the third fastest time of the session, more than two tenths down on leader Raikkonen, with Ralf Schumacher securing a second row berth alongside him for Toyota in fourth.

Schumacher jumped Trulli, who had an unusually disappointing run to secure fifth place on the grid, while Giancarlo Fisichella finished sixth and Juan Pablo Montoya, in the second McLaren, will start from seventh on the grid.

But it was another disappointment for World Champion Michael Schumacher, who had started from pole in Barcelona for the last five races, when he dropped a place from his provisional position to finish eighth.

Scot David Coulthard finished a satisfying ninth for Red Bull Racing as they hope to benefit from the ban on BAR-Honda to chase some extra points this weekend, and Felipe Massa claimed the final top-ten spot for Sauber.

The session was stopped almost as soon as it had begun when the Toyota engine in Tiago Montiero's Jordan expired at the end of the Portuguese driver's flying lap and deposited oil over the final corner and start-finish straight.

Marshals put down cement dust on the circuit, making it particularly slippery for Montiero's teammate Narain Karthikeyan, who put in a careful lap and still set a faster time than his Jordan rival.

Montoya was the first top driver out on track and he was more than a second faster on the lap than any of the previous runners and he went top with an aggregate time of 2:33.472.

Felipe Massa then went second before David Coulthard bettered his time to take the place, more than a second faster than his teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi, as he achieved Red Bull Racing's aim of out-qualifying Sauber.

Rubens Barrichello was due out next but he was already set for a 10 place penalty for changing an engine on his Ferrari so the team chose not to run the car, apparently electing to maximise their fuel loads for the race.

Fisichella was up next and he went top, six tenths ahead of early leader Montoya, with the fastest lap of the session so far. Schumacher, out next, slotted into third, less than a tenth off Montoya.

Webber was next out and he moved to the top of the aggregate times with an impressive second-session lap time that was more than half a second faster than Fisichella.

Williams chose not to run Nick Heidfeld in the second session because he had already changed engines twice during the weekend to slap a bizarre 20 position penalty on his grid position, so there was little point in running.

Ralf Schumacher could only manage third fastest lap and the session then went down to the final three runners, who were covered by just 0.025 seconds after the first qualifying session.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. (16) Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 2:31.421 2. (13) Webber Williams-BMW (M) 2:31.668 + 0.247 3. (17) Alonso Renault (M) 2:31.691 + 0.270 4. (15) R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 2:31.917 + 0.496 5. (18) Trulli Toyota (M) 2:31.995 + 0.574 6. (11) Fisichella Renault (M) 2:32.830 + 1.409 7. (7) Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) 2:33.472 + 2.051 8. (12) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 2:33.551 + 2.130 9. (9) Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 2:34.168 + 2.747 10. (8) Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 2:34.224 + 2.803 11. (6) Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 2:35.302 + 3.881 12. (5) Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 2:36.480 + 5.059 13. (4) Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 2:39.268 + 7.847 14. (3) Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 2:39.943 + 8.522 15. (2) Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 2:41.141 + 9.720 16. (1) Freisacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 2:42.759 + 11.338 17. (14) Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) No Time 18. (10) Barrichello Ferrari (B) No Time 
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Author Will Gray
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