Raikkonen on Ferrari's 200th pole - France

Kimi Raikkonen claimed Ferrari's 200th Formula One pole in French Grand Prix qualifying, leading teammate Felipe Massa in a front row sweep

Raikkonen on Ferrari's 200th pole - France

Lewis Hamilton was third fastest for McLaren, but will drop to 13th on the grid due to his penalty for hitting Raikkonen in the Montreal pits.

That will elevate Fernando Alonso (Renault) to third place, with Jarno Trulli joining him on row two after an impressive effort for Toyota.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen and championship leader Robert Kubica (BMW) will complete the leading three rows.

Although Massa had dominated Q1 and Q2, it was Raikkonen who took charge in Q3, claiming provisional pole on his first run.

When Massa then failed to improve sufficiently to demote his teammate, Raikkonen chose to abandon his second lap, rightly believing he was assured of pole.

Hamilton's eventual third place was a comparatively successful result after an error at the Nurburgring chicane on his first Q3 run had left him eighth - and facing a potential ninth row start. He managed to vault to third with his second flying lap and minimised the damage.

Behind Alonso, Trulli and Kovalainen, Kubica took sixth place despite struggling in the earlier parts of qualifying.

He went out for two runs in Q1 to be sure of making the cut, and then came close to being eliminated in Q2, only just hanging on to 10th at the end of the session.

The Red Bulls will start seventh and eighth, with Mark Webber ahead despite being slowed on his first Q3 lap when Trulli had a spin in his path at the 180 corner.

Timo Glock was the final Q3 qualifier in the second Toyota, and will start ninth.

Nick Heidfeld's qualifying difficulties continued, despite the BMW driver's pre-event optimism. The German was just 0.063 seconds slower than teammate Kubica in Q2, but that was the crucial difference between 10th and 12th places.

Despite topping final practice, Renault's Nelson Piquet was edged out of the Q3 positions when Coulthard made a last-gasp improvement at the end of Q2. That left Piquet back in 11th, as the Brazilian missed the Q3 cut by a scant 0.047 seconds.

Toro Rosso looked set to produce an upset after Sebastian Vettel's rapid practice times, but in qualifying the German was only able to take 13th, one place and 0.2 seconds better than teammate Sebastien Bourdais, who will start his first ever home GP from his best grid position yet.

Nico Rosberg could only manage 15th place for Williams, and will fall to the back when the penalty for his involvement in the Montreal pitlane crash is applied. His teammate Kazuki Nakajima was knocked out in Q1, where he was just 16th quickest.

The Hondas and Force Indias were slowest of all. Honda's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello have lacked speed all weekend and will start 16th and 17th once Rosberg's penalty is applied, while the Force India duo trailed the field by some margin, with 19th fastest Giancarlo Fisichella over 0.6 seconds slower even than the struggling Hondas.

Pos Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps 1. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:15.133 1:15.161 1:16.449 16 2. Massa Ferrari 1:15.024 1:15.041 1:16.490 17 3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.634 1:15.293 1:16.693 15 4. Alonso Renault 1:15.754 1:15.483 1:16.840 18 5. Trulli Toyota 1:15.521 1:15.362 1:16.920 19 6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.965 1:15.639 1:16.944 18 7. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:15.687 1:15.723 1:17.037 19 8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:16.020 1:15.488 1:17.233 18 9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:15.802 1:15.654 1:17.426 19 10. Glock Toyota 1:15.727 1:15.558 1:17.596 24 11. Piquet Renault 1:15.848 1:15.770 12 12. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:16.006 1:15.786 14 13. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:15.918 1:15.816 17 14. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:16.072 1:16.045 17 15. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:16.085 1:16.235 12 16. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:16.243 9 17. Button Honda 1:16.306 9 18. Barrichello Honda 1:16.330 6 19. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:16.971 10 20. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:17.053 9 All timing unofficial 
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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Ferrari
Author Matt Beer
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