Raikkonen holds pole position for San Marino GP

Raikkonen holds pole position for San Marino GP

Kimi Raikkonen held pole position in second qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix, his McLaren half a second up on Renault's Fernando Alonso, who retained second on the grid. BAR's Jenson Button moved up to third and Michael Schumacher made a...

Kimi Raikkonen held pole position in second qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix, his McLaren half a second up on Renault's Fernando Alonso, who retained second on the grid. BAR's Jenson Button moved up to third and Michael Schumacher made a costly error that relegated his Ferrari down the field to 14th.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Early morning rain had passed but the track seemed perhaps a little slippery still. Minardi's Patrick Friesacher got the proceedings under way and his aggregate time was 2:57.048, a few seconds slower than he was yesterday. Teammate Christijan Albers followed on and came off track and spun into the barrier at Variante Alta. He was unharmed but it was the end of his session.

The Jordan of Tiago Monteiro took over from Friesacher with a 2:54.252, over a second up. The second yellow car of Narain Karthikeyan was better again by nearly two seconds, 2:52.099. Vitantonio Liuzzi was the first Red Bull to run and took over at the top, 2:48.155 and he was followed by the Renault of Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Italian, unsurprisingly, took provisional pole with a 2:46.710, over a second up on Liuzzi. David Coulthard couldn't match the Renault but went marginally quicker than his teammate to take second in the Red Bull. Jacques Villeneuve led out for Sauber and despite a slower lap than Fisichella his aggregate time was better, 2:46.259.

Toyota has struggled a little this weekend but Ralf Schumacher managed provisional pole, over half a second up for 2:45.416. Rubens Barrichello couldn't get the balance of his Ferrari right yesterday and although he took over the top, 2:45.243, it was only a tenth better than the Toyota. BAR's Takuma Sato outpaced the Ferrari by half a second, 2:44.658.

Nick Heidfeld was the first Williams runner and was down on Sato but quicker than Barrichello for second, then lost the place to McLaren's Alex Wurz who was less than a tenth behind Sato's BAR. Felipe Massa matched the front runners but lost out slightly in the last sector to put his Sauber third -- although he will lose 10 places due to an engine change on Friday.

Jarno Trulli was the second Toyota runner and took provisional pole by a tenth, 2:44.518, the top four only four tenths apart. Button took his maiden pole position at Imola last year and the BAR took over at the top with his flyer of 2:44.105, but there were still four more drivers to go. Mark Webber couldn't outdo Button and put his Williams second, four tenths down.

Michael Schumacher started the final three and the Ferrari went very wide into the gravel at Rivazza and could only manage 12th. Alonso made no such mistake and his Renault posted 2:43.441 and it was all down to Raikkonen. The Finn made it work and put the McLaren on pole position by half a second, 2:42.880.

Excellent stuff from Raikkonen and Alonso and a surprising mistake from Michael which left him in the midfield. So for the first time this year it's not a Renault on pole. Button will be pleased to have gained two places from yesterday, while Webber stayed static in fourth. Sato was also improved from his Saturday position, up to sixth.

Everyone from Heidfeld in ninth will move up one due to Massa's demotion, and Felipe will start 18th. Final top eight classification in this session: Raikkonen, Alonso, Button, Webber, Trulli, Sato, Wurz, Massa.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Narain Karthikeyan , Christijan Albers , Felipe Massa , Tiago Monteiro , Patrick Friesacher , Vitantonio Liuzzi
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan