Heikki Kovalainen (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) has achieved his first ever F1 pole position by using Bridgestone's medium compound Potenza to go fastest in qualifying at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix, round nine of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Kovalainen was quickest by over half a second with a lap of 1min 21.049 secs. Second fastest was Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber, who also used the medium compound to set his fastest time, and will start from the front row of the grid for the first time since Monaco in 2006. Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) set the third fastest time whilst last year's pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) was fourth. BMW Sauber F1 Team's Nick Heidfeld was fifth fastest, whilst Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team) was sixth, with his team-mate Nelson Piquet qualifying one place behind in seventh. Sebastian Vettel (Scuderia Toro Rosso) qualified in eighth position, ahead of Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) in ninth. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) was the final driver to qualify in the top ten.
In the morning practice session Alonso went fastest, with a time of 1min 20.740 secs, set on the medium compound. Alonso was over two tenths faster than the second fastest driver, Webber. This session started with a wet track, which dried during running. The extreme wet and wet tyres were used during the session, as well as both compounds of dry tyres. Today's fastest lap time, a 1min 19.537 secs, was set by Lewis Hamilton, using the medium compound in Q2. The morning rain at Silverstone meant that much of the rubber laid down on Friday was washed away, hence lap times were not significantly faster than yesterday.
Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development, said:
"Congratulations to Heikki Kovalainen for achieving his first pole position, which he did by over half a second. This was a very impressive performance on a difficult day for drivers. We saw very changeable conditions, but both the hard and medium compound dry tyres worked well. With the medium compound we saw more graining on the front tyre, and some teams struggled with understeer because of this. In the morning practice we saw that our wet tyre is well suited to Silverstone and performance was strong. Tomorrow will be very interesting as we will be at the mercy of the weather. If there is rain before the race but a dry track, some teams will experience severe wear because of the green track, and we could see many different strategies."
Stats of the Day
Total amount of laps completed by all drivers: 615 laps
Average number of laps per driver: 31 laps
Most laps by a driver: 38 Raikkonen & Heidfeld
Fastest lap: 1min 19.537secs - Hamilton (Q2)
Compounds used: Hard / Medium / Wet & Extreme Wet
British Prix in 2007
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver Kimi Raikkonen won the 2007 British Grand Prix, beating Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Fernando Alonso across the line by 2.5 seconds. Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) took third position. Raikkonen used a medium - medium - hard tyre strategy to win.