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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Raikkonen beats Ferraris to pole
German GP, 30 July, 1300 BST

GRID POSITIONS
Kimi Raikkonen
1 K Raikkonen (McLaren)
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
3 F Massa (Ferrari)
4 J Button (Honda)
5 G Fisichella(Renault)
6 R Barrichello (Honda)
7 F Alonso (Renault)
8 R Schumacher (Toyota)
McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen took his first pole position of the season at the German Grand Prix.

The Finn set a lap of one minute 14.070 seconds to beat Michael Schumacher's Ferrari by just over 0.2secs.

Schumacher's title rival Fernando Alonso could manage only seventh place as his Renault team struggled.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa was third with the revived Hondas of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello next, sandwiching Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella.

Raikkonen managed to momentarily snatch the spotlight from Alonso and Schumacher's title race with the ninth pole position of his career.

The 26-year-old, on engine partner Mercedes' home ground, leapt to the top of the timesheets with an unexpected turn of pace in the final session of qualifying.

Despite bouncing through the gravel on his final flying lap, Raikkonen's earlier effort was enough to deny the Ferraris of Schumacher and Massa.

We found something new for the car at the last test which seems to help - the car is better now

Kimi Raikkonen
"It was nice to get pole," said the Finn, who has not won a race since the thriller in Japan last October.

"We had some difficulties but it's the best place to start and let's see what happens on Sunday. The tyres have been very good all weekend.

"We found something new for the car at the last test which seems to help. The car is better now."

But Schumacher was still satisfied with his performance as he chases a third straight win on Sunday and hopes to close the gap further on Alonso.

"We are quite happy to have a strong opponent with us and having Alonso where he is right now," he said. "That's obviously a good starting point."

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher earns a front row spot for his home Grand Prix
Alonso also remained upbeat, despite starting from his worst grid position of the season.

"I don't think we ever got our tyres working properly on the timed lap and even before the session, we knew it might be a little bit difficult for us," said the Spaniard.

"Obviously, starting from seventh position makes our job quite a hard one, but I am still confident.

"We have competitive pace on the long runs, and now we need to believe in the choices we have made for set-up and strategy, and let the race unfold."

The session also saw an upturn in Button's fortunes for Honda.

The Englishman has not scored points for the last five races but could end that drought after recording his best qualifying result since the San Marino Grand Prix in April.

We've looked competitive all through the weekend but I'd prefer to wait and see how the race pans out

Jenson Button
Despite the upturn in form, he remained cautious ahead of Sunday's showdown.

"Obviously this is a very positive qualifying result for us and I'm really pleased that I'll be starting from the second row.

"We've looked competitive all through the weekend but I'd prefer to wait and see how the race pans out."

Further down the results, Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher could only manage eighth after suffering minor damage in a tangle at the hairpin with McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa, who starts ninth.

Meanwhile, Scotland's David Coulthard also made it through to the pole position shoot-out but could improve no further and starts 10th in his Red Bull.

The qualifying hour started in dramatic style, with the first session lasting just five minutes before Scott Speed's accident brought out the red flags.

The Toro Rosso driver dropped a wheel on to the grass on the exit of turn one and lost control before careering backwards into a concrete wall.

Both Super Aguris also missed the cut but the F1 new boys showed improvement with their new car, which is making its debut this weekend.

Takuma Sato split the Midland pair of Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro to take 19th, within three seconds of the fastest time in that session.

Jarno Trulli's efforts in setting the 13th-fastest time were wasted as he will drop to the back of the grid after his 10-place penalty following a Toyota engine failure in the morning.

He is joined by Albers, who suffered the same problem on Friday.


Qualifying result at Hockenheim:

1. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren - Mercedes one minute 14.070 seconds
2. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:14.205
3. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1:14.569
4. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:14.862
5. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:14.894
6. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 1:14.934
7. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:15.282
8. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:15.923
9. Pedro de la Rosa (Spa) McLaren-Mercedes 1:15.936
10. David Coulthard (GB) RedBull-Ferrari 1:16.326
11. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 1:15.094
12. Christian Klien (Aut) RedBull-Ferrari 1:15.141
13. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:15.150
14. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) BMW Sauber 1:15.329
15. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth 1:15.380
16. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:15.397
17. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:16.399
18. Christijan Albers (Ned) Midland-Toyota 1:17.093
19. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:17.185
20. Tiago Monteiro (Por) Midland-Toyota 1:17.836
21. Sakon Yamamoto (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:20.444
22. Scott Speed (US) Toro Rosso-Cosworth



SEE ALSO
Mosley intensifies 'green' push
29 Jul 06 |  Formula One
German qualifying as it happened
29 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher puts Alonso in shade
28 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Trulli signs new Toyota contract
28 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher issues title warning
26 Jul 06 |  Formula One


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