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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 July, 2004, 13:55 GMT 14:55 UK
Raikkonen on pole
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor at Silverstone

Kimi Raikkonen in action at Silverstone
Kimi Raikkonen underlined McLaren's Formula One revival with pole position at the British Grand Prix.

The Finn set a stunning lap of one minute 18.233 seconds to beat Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello by just 0.072secs.

Barrichello was 0.347secs quicker than BAR driver Jenson Button, who edged Michael Schumacher down to fourth with the last lap of the session.

The Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were next up, followed by the McLaren of Scot David Coulthard.

But Alonso will be demoted 10 places to 16th on the grid after being forced to change his engine after a failure in practice on Saturday morning.

Toyota's Olivier Panis was also penalised, officials relegating him to the back of the grid for holding up Brazilian Felipe Massa in qualifying.

Raikkonen's performance in qualifying has only served to underline McLaren's apparent potential at Silverstone.

The team introduced a new car at the last race in France, and they have hit the ground running on their home track, with Raikkonen fastest in three of the four practice sessions prior to qualifying.

Although McLaren had a disappointing race in France after Coulthard qualified third, Raikkonen appears to be a genuine contender this weekend.

"The car felt better straight away from the first time we ran it," Raikkonen said.

"At the last race we had the potential but after a bad qualifying it went wrong. But this time hopefully we can have a strong race.

"The balance has been good all the way through the weekend.

It's good to be in the top three here - I'm looking forward to it
Jenson Button
"I'm very happy for me and the team because we had a very hard start of the season. It's just the first races with the new car and we can improve it even more."

But he will have to work hard for any win, with the Ferraris and Button looming ominously behind him.

Barrichello, who won the British Grand Prix last year, has been the more impressive Ferrari driver here this year.

He has often been faster than Schumacher at Silverstone, where Barrichello raced often in the junior categories, and he has now out-qualified the German four times out of their five races as Ferrari team-mates.

"The car has been working fantastically well," Barrichello said.

"The first sector was magic, I really enjoyed that, and then the car maybe started to slide a little bit more at the end of the lap and I lost time in sector three. But even so it was a good lap and I'm happy."

Button added: "It's very windy out there, but it's the same for everyone.

"The car was very good in Becketts, but in some other high speed parts of the circuit I was less happy with it. But it wasn't a bad lap.

"The balance is a lot better than yesterday. We're still not exactly where we want to be, but we're in good shape."

We are trying to do the best we can but it's not always the best thing for the spectators
Kimi Raikkonen
Barrichello will hope to make amends for the US Grand Prix, where he was also faster than Schumacher but made a mistake at a re-start and let his team leader by at a crucial part of the race.

The team insist the two men will be allowed to race as long as they do not endanger the interests of the team.

Schumacher has appeared to be struggling comparatively this weekend - he has spun three times on Saturday alone.

One of those was on his pre-qualifying lap, and he was on course to be last in that session until other teams started telling their drivers to back off to ensure they were slower.

With the cars running in qualifying in reverse order of times set in the earlier session, the teams were hoping to ensure they ran early enough to get out before a forecast rain shower.

But the rain never came.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard




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SEE ALSO
Raikkonen top in practice
09 Jul 04  |  Formula One
Stewart hits back in GP row
07 Jul 04  |  Formula One
Williams backs London GP
07 Jul 04  |  Formula One
Button relishes home advantage
08 Jul 04  |  Formula One
New threat hits British GP
06 Jul 04  |  Formula One


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