Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Heikki Kovalainen will start Sunday's Santander British Grand Prix, the first of the team's two consecutive home races, from his first Formula 1 career pole position. In an exciting final part of Saturday's qualifying, Heikki set a time of 1m21.049 and was more than half a second faster than Mark Webber (Red Bull Renault) in second place. Heikki's team mate Lewis Hamilton had a brief off on his first run in Q3 after setting two best sector times; he eventually ended up fourth with a time of 1m21.835. Heikki's pole is the 57th for the McLaren Mercedes partnership and third for the team this year.
"We've been going really well all weekend after finding some good pace during testing last week. I've spent a lot of time racing in the UK so it feels great to have scored my first ever Formula 1 pole position at Silverstone. The car feels just fantastic at the moment; I was able to steadily improve throughout all three qualifying session and I'm confident our pace is going to be strong tomorrow."
"Congratulations to Heikki on his first Formula 1 pole position. I felt comfortable in the car and the speed was there; however, on my first flying lap in Q3 I ran a bit wide at the exit of Priory and went onto the gravel. Obviously I just pushed a little bit too hard and it's a pity that I missed the front row. However, with our strategy and the predicted rain for tomorrow's race everything will be possible and I very much look forward to racing here in front of my home crowd tomorrow."
"Heikki showed great determination and a lot of skill to master the gusty, tricky conditions so well. The result was his first pole position in Formula 1 - and it was thoroughly well deserved because he's been driving beautifully all weekend. Lewis made a small mistake in sector three, and his P4 grid position doesn't therefore reflect his latent pace, but he remains confident that he can put in a strong performance tomorrow. Overall, then, we feel we're in a good position and are looking forward to doing very well at McLaren's home race tomorrow."
"We saw Heikki driving superbly all weekend so far and the lap that resulted in his first ever Formula One pole position was very special. Congratulations to Heikki and his guys on this great result. Lewis is starting from row two and everything is possible for him tomorrow. He will be strong in front of his home crowd, as will Heikki."