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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Champion Alonso on top in China
QUALIFYING POSITIONS
Renault duo Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella celebrate their one-two in China qualifying
1 F Alonso 1:34.080
2 G Fisichella 1:34.401
3 K Raikkonen 1:34.488
4 J Button 1:34.801
5 JP Montoya 1:35.188
6 M Schumacher 1:35.301
7 D Coulthard 1:35.428
8 R Barrichello 1:35.610
World champion Fernando Alonso claimed pole position for the China Grand Prix to keep Renault's bid for the constructors championship on track.

The Spaniard easily set the fastest lap on a slippery Shanghai circuit of one minute, 34.080 seconds, with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella second.

A handful of uncharacteristic errors saw McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen come home third fastest in 1:34.488.

Britain's Jenson Button starts on the second row after an impressive display.

Alonso cruised to his sixth pole of the season to give Renault a crucial edge in Sunday's race in Shanghai which will decide the fate of the constructors title.

Renault hold a two-point lead over rivals McLaren and strengthened their position when Fisichella completed the second fastest lap behind Alonso.

It is the first time Flavio Briatore's team have dominated the grid this season and Alonso believes they will carry that momentum into the race.

We knew before qualifying that maybe we wouldn't get the pole, but we are still ready to fight for the win
McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen

"Everything here has been very positive all weekend and I'm full of confidence for all the team," said Alonso.

"I am a little bit surprised to be on pole position but the car was perfect."

McLaren's plans went a little awry on a slippy circuit in China as Raikkonen - the last man out in Shanghai - ran wide, made an error on turn three and then locked up at the hairpin.

The glitches were enough to see the Finn start back in third with team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya fifth.

"The car was not exactly perfect," Raikkonen said. "We had a little bit of difficulty getting the tyres working.

"We knew before qualifying that maybe we wouldn't get the pole, but we are still ready to fight for the win."

Button shrugged off the effects of a stomach upset to finish impressively in fourth place.

The BAR driver, who is chasing his 10th consecutive points finish, had briefly held top spot before Alonso took to the track.

"I'm very happy with the car and it's good to be on the second row," Button told BBC Radio Five Live.

"There was definitley less grip but the car performed well and I'm positive."

Michael Schumacher, who is two points clear of Montoya in the battle for third place in the drivers championship, was back to his aggressive best.

The German ran slightly wide early in his lap but made up time to secure sixth place, while Barrichello, preparing for his last race for Ferrari, was eighth.

Scot David Coulthard also produced a solid lap for Red Bull to split the Ferraris in seventh spot.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC motor racing commentator Maurice Hamilton



SEE ALSO
McLaren impress in China practice
14 Oct 05 |  Formula One


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