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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 September 2006, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
China GP qualifying as it happened
1. Alonso (Renault)

2. Fisichella (Renault)

3. Barrichello (Honda)

4. Button (Honda)

5. Raikkonen (McLaren)

6. M Schumacher (Ferrari)

7. De la Rosa (McLaren)

8. Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)

0807: Giancarlo Fisichella comes through to lock out the front row and take second behind Alonso, who is on pole in Shanghai. Remarkably, the two Honda drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button clock exactly the same time of 1:45.503 in third and fourth respectively.

Kimi Raikkonen noses out Michael Schumacher in sixth. His Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa qualified in 13th but, after a penalty, he will start from the back. Robert Doornbos took 10th on his debut Grand Prix for Red Bull.

0804: Alonso goes more than a second over his best time in 1:44.360 so far - he looks like he is heading for his first pole since the Canadian Grand Prix. Schumacher is having to tussle with his Bridgestones again and he does well to move up to fifth.

0802: The business end of the session gets under way with three minutes left on the clock. Alonso is in provisional pole with 1:45.348 ahead of Raikkonen. Schumacher looks like he is really struggling down in eighth.

0758: Raikkonen's wing seems to be causing a bit of trouble but finally it has been knocked out of the way. The McLaren driver comes in for new tyres, while Button picks up a new nose cone after he was worried about damage from the Finn's pesky mirror. Michael Schumacher is back in the Ferrari garage but he is sticking with intermediate tyres for now.

0754: Pedro de la Rosa sets the fastest time of the session so far as he clocks 1:46.494 in his McLaren. Fisichella comes back to the pits while Raikkonen loses his right-wing mirror - which is later hit by an aggrieved Button.

0750: The last session gets under way but do not expect any fireworks yet as the cars are off to burn some fuel before battling it out for pole.

0740: It was a bit of a last-gasp effort for Michael Schumacher but his team-mate Massa is amongst those who has not gone through. Those not going through to the final showdown are Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed (both Toro Rosso), Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg (both Williams), Massa (Ferrari) and David Coulthard (Red Bull).

0739: Michael Schumacher is in real trouble down in 13th spot with just two minutes left. He looks like he is really having to grapple with his car through the early sectors on his final hot lap. Just before the flag falls the German moves up to eighth - enough to take him through, even if Robert Kubica pips him and moves him down into ninth.

0736: Alonso goes 10th but he is straight back out another flying lap to try and work his way through the field. The reigning world champion goes more than a second clear of Button as he whizzes round in 1:44.123.

0734: Britain's Jenson Button is on intermediate tyres and he climbs to the top of the timings in his Honda in 1:45.952 as Fisichella endures a spin in the gravel and Alonso runs off the circuit at Turn One.

0731: Michael Schumacher gets out early to set a decent time and he moves - momentarily as it happens - to the top of the standings with 1:46.999.

0727: David Coulthard is a little disgruntled by the wet conditions but he is back out on track and sets the first time of 1:50.428. The surface certainly seems slippery and Liuzzi's Toro Rosso's loses its legs a little and spins as he tries to set a flying lap.

0723: The rain does seem to be easing a little as the next session looms.

0716: The session restarts. Back at the bottom, here are those facing the drop - the two Super Aguris followed by Monteiro, Christijan Albers (both Midland), Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher (both Toyota). And as the session comes to a close that sextet are the ones who will take no more part in qualifying. And they are all on Bridgestones.

0714: It looks as though tyres could be a bit of an issue if this wet weather holds up in China. The highest-placed Bridgestone driver in this session is Massa in 13th. That news will please the Michelin-backed Alonso and his Renault team.

0712: The red flag is raised and the session is halted in pretty difficult conditions out there. Tiago Monteiro's Midland ground to a halt on Turn Two and officials are now shoving it off the track so that the session can recommence.

0711: Sakon Yamamoto is the only driver not to set a time with three minutes left to go. The Super Aguri driver is rock bottom with team-mate Takuma Sato just ahead of him.

0707: The two Ferraris - Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa - edge out onto the track as the Renault duo of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella set the pace. Alonso sets the fastest time of 1:44.128 and Schumacher is initially slower than that time through the first sectors. The German is down in 13th with 1:47.716.

0705: Raikkonen sets the first meaningful time of the day as he blusters his way through the damp conditions in one minute 46.048.

0703: Conditions are totally different to the final practice session earlier on Saturday but Michael Schumacher, who set the fastest time in that session, has yet to come out in qualifying.

0700: The session is under way and Kimi Raikkonen in his McLaren is the first to nose his car onto the circuit. Renault's Fernando Alonso comes out to suss out the conditions. Visibility might be an issue as there is plenty of spray being kicked up.

0655: It will be a wet qualifying session in Shanghai - so conditions will be tricky for the drivers out there as they prepare to take to the track.

Title rivals Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher will be vying to gain early advantage in the latest stage of their battle for the world championship when qualifying starts at 0700 BST.

Ferrari driver Schumacher, who is two points behind Alonso with three races to go, was fastest in final practice on Saturday, with his Spanish rival just behind him.

The German was also the fastest race driver in practice on Friday - and again Alonso was right behind him.

The weather so far in Shanghai has been cool and overcast, and it remains to be seen what effect that has on the competitiveness of the rival tyre manufacturers used by Ferrari and Renault.

Schumacher sneaks ahead of Alonso
30 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Albers retains drive with Spyker
29 Sep 06 |  Formula One
Rivals neck and neck in practice
29 Sep 06 |  Formula One


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