Raikkonen on Pole as Montoya Spins

Kimi Raikkonen put the wheels in motion for a much-needed victory in Sunday's German Grand Prix when he secured his first pole position in six races with a dominant performance in qualifying on Saturday.

Raikkonen, 26 points behind title race leader Fernando Alonso, has set the pace with his McLaren team all weekend and he kept the pressure on his rival by securing his seventh career pole.

But his McLaren teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who won the last race in Britain, will start from the back of the grid after throwing away a strong lap in qualifying when he spun on the final corner of his lap.

Briton Jenson Button will start from the front row after securing the second fastest time, 0.439 seconds behind Raikkonen, after Montoya's crash handed him a lucky break.

Alonso, who admitted earlier in the weekend that his rivals are well ahead, did enough to prove he can race in the wake of the McLarens as he and Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella finished third and fourth fastest.

German World Champion Michael Schumacher started the weekend in despondent mood after seeing his Ferrari team slump in form during two disappointing races in the French and British Grands Prix heading into his home event.

But he gave his home fans a boost with a satisfying fifth place on the grid, just ahead of the sixth and seventh placed Williams cars of Australian Mark Webber and German Nick Heidfeld.

BAR-Honda driver Takuma Sato finished eighth fastest with Italian Jarno Trulli ninth for Toyota and Austrian Christian Klien, of Red Bull Racing, completing the top ten finishers.

Newcomer Robert Doornbos, making his debut for Minardi, was the first driver out and set a time of 1:18.313 then Karthikeyan had a ragged lap and peeled into the pits without setting a time after two offs during his lap.

Albers beat Doornbos by seven tenths but Jordan driver Tiago Monteiro, out fourth, failed to better either of the Minardi drivers' times leaving him as the slowest runner in the session.

Sato then set the benchmark for the frontrunners with a time of 1:15.501, which Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien narrowly failed to beat then Sauber driver Jacques Villeneuve missed out on by half a second.

David Coulthard also failed to better the BAR-Honda driver's time but German Nick Heidfeld finally ended Sato's reign when he put his Williams ahead by just 0.098 seconds then Webber moved to the top with ten runners gone.

Both Toyota drivers then struggled for pace then Barrichello went surprisingly slow on his lap and set the tenth best time of the 14 drivers so far as air horns around the track sounded the arrival of Michael Schumacher.

World Champion Schumacher then stunned the crowd and his teammate when he posted the fastest time of the session, snatching the top spot from Webber by just 0.064 seconds, 1.224 seconds faster than Barrichello.

But Button then jumped to the top of the times with the Renault and McLaren drivers were still left to run and, although Alonso could to nothing to beat Button, Raikkonen eased to the top of the times in the end.

Pos Driver Team Time 1. (18) Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:14.320 2. (16) Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:14.759 + 0.439 3. (19) Alonso Renault (M) 1:14.904 + 0.584 4. (17) Fisichella Renault (M) 1:14.927 + 0.607 5. (15) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:15.006 + 0.686 6. (10) Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:15.070 + 0.750 7. (9) Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:15.403 + 1.083 8. (5) Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:15.501 + 1.181 9. (12) Trulli Toyota (M) 1:15.532 + 1.212 10. (6) Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:15.635 + 1.315 11. (8) Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:15.679 + 1.359 12. (13) R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:15.689 + 1.369 13. (11) Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:16.009 + 1.689 14. (7) Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:16.012 + 1.692 15. (14) Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:16.230 + 1.910 16. (3) Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:17.519 + 3.199 17. (1) Doornbos Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:18.313 + 3.993 18. (4) Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:18.599 + 4.279 19. (2) Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) No Time 20. (20) Montoya McLaren-Mercedes (M) No Time All Timing Unofficial 
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Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen
Author Will Gray
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