Raikkonen relights title charge

Kimi Raikkonen's hope of re-firing the momentum of his championship challenge after a disastrous weekend in Barcelona two weeks ago have been boosted by his qualifying second on the grid today in Austria. It will be only the second time the Finn, who currently leads the drivers' championship, will have started from the front row of a grand prix

Raikkonen relights title charge

Raikkonen was forced to retire from the Spanish Grand Prix after collecting a stalled Antonio Pizzonia on the grid at Barcelona having started at the back. This allowed Michael Schumacher to close within four points of the McLaren driver.

"I'm pleased with today's result," said Raikkonen, "particularly after my qualifying at the last race - the view from the front of the grid is definitely better than from the back. I drove an almost perfect lap, which is the first time I have done that in qualifying this year. It was close but I just missed my first pole.

"We have improved the car from yesterday and it's working well. I'm looking forward to starting from the front row tomorrow and am confident that we have the right strategy so we should have a competitive race."

Raikkonen's team-mate David Coulthard was not as happy with his performance. The Scot qualified 14th having made mistakes during his flying lap and fought for a decent set-up all weekend.

"I have been struggling with the balance throughout the weekend and didn't have the confidence to attack," said Coulthard. "I ran wide at the last corner which cost me some time, but to be honest I don't think the lap would have been that good anyway. I'm disappointed but we will see what happens tomorrow."

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