Raikkonen Narrowly Secures Monaco Pole

Kimi Raikkonen narrowly secured pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix when he maintained the advantage over Championship leader Fernando Alonso in final qualifying on Sunday morning

Raikkonen Narrowly Secures Monaco Pole

In what is expected to be the final aggregate qualifying session before a change in qualifying regulations, Raikkonen made the most of his 0.481-second advantage from the first session to secure the coveted top spot.

He finished 0.083 seconds faster than Championship leader Fernando Alonso over the two combined laps to leave the Spaniard hoping for a fast start to take the fight into Sainte Devote on the opening lap.

Mark Webber held onto his third fastest time with Giancarlo Fisichella, who had topped the final practice session in the morning, fourth in the second Renault, just ahead Jarno Trulli in the lead Toyota.

Nick Heidfeld, in the second Williams, was sixth and David Coulthard, of Red Bull Racing, set the seventh fastest time to line up alongside eighth-placed Michael Schumacher on the grid.

Schumacher put in an impressive lap to jump up from his 11th place finish in first qualifying while ninth-placed Jacques Villeneuve split him and teammate Rubens Barrichello, who finished tenth.

Ralf Schumacher, who changed an engine after his qualifying crash on Saturday afternoon, decided not to complete a lap in the second session having failed to set a time in the first.

Narain Karthikeyan was the first driver to complete a lap in the morning session, which was run in temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius as the morning haze over the harbour burned away, but he could do little to improve.

His teammate Tiago Monteiro was also unable to make up a position while Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher both went faster than the Jordans to secure Minardi's best qualifying result in two years.

Vitantonio Liuzzi had an exciting lap, making a mistake where Ralf Schumacher crashed but getting away with it, and he managed to hold onto his position with a strong final sector.

Felipe Massa also held station but Michael Schumacher managed to jump two places after outpacing Barrichello and Villeneuve on an impressive run that secured him a top-ten grid spot.

Coulthard did enough to maintain his place with Trulli, who was hampered by running immediately after Schumacher's crash in first qualifying, putting in an impressive run to move ahead of Heidfeld.

Juan Pablo Montoya then elected not to run having had his time from the first qualifying session annulled when he was blamed for causing a collision in Saturday morning practice.

He was accused of brake testing Ralf Schumacher after being blocked by the German on a flying lap in the fourth practice session of the weekend and the two will now line up next to each other on the back of the grid.

Fisichella was out next and he was faster than Trulli to hold onto his grid spot then Webber, Alonso and Raikkonen each went out in turn with Alonso setting the fastest lap of the session but still missing out on pole overall.

Pos       Driver        Team                   Time
 1.  (18) Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  2:30.323
 2.  (17) Alonso        Renault           (M)  2:30.406 +  0.083 
 3.  (16) Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  2:31.656 +  1.333 
 4.  (15) Fisichella    Renault           (M)  2:32.100 +  1.777 
 5.  (12) Trulli        Toyota            (M)  2:32.590 +  2.267 
 6.  (13) Heidfeld      Williams-BMW      (M)  2:32.883 +  2.560 
 7.  (11) Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  2:33.867 +  3.544 
 8.   (8) M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  2:34.736 +  4.413 
 9.  (10) Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  2:34.936 +  4.613 
10.   (9) Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  2:34.983 +  4.660 
11.   (7) Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  2:35.120 +  4.797 
12.   (6) Liuzzi        Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  2:37.152 +  6.829 
13.   (5) Friesacher    Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  2:40.810 + 10.487
14.   (4) Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  2:42.206 + 11.883
15.   (3) Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  2:43.078 + 12.755
16.   (2) Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  2:43.442 + 13.119
17.   (1) R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  No Time    
18.  (14) Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  No Time    
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