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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 07:11 GMT
Raikkonen takes pole in Melbourne
Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen has stepped into Michael Schumacher's shoes at Ferrari
Kimi Raikkonen will start the first race of the 2007 Formula One season on pole position after qualifying fastest in Australia on Saturday.

The Ferrari driver's time of one minute 26.072 seconds was enough to earn him the 12th pole of his career.

Defending world champion Fernando Alonso was second for McLaren, with Nick Heidfeld third and British debutant Lewis Hamilton fourth.

Anthony Davidson was 11th, Jenson Button 14th and David Coulthard 19th.

Raikkonen's team-mate Felipe Massa had a disappointing start to the season.

The Brazilian survived the first round of qualifying in Melbourne, only for his gearbox to die in the second, condemning him to 16th place on the grid.

so many things can happen and usually the race here is quite a funny one

Kimi Raikkonen

Former McLaren driver Raikkonen was making his Ferrari debut after being signed to replace Michael Schumacher, and maintained the impressive form he had shown pre-season and in the build-up to the race in qualifying.

Raikkonen will now be favourite to do something no Ferrari driver has done since Nigel Mansell in 1989, which is to win on his Grand Prix debut for the team.

"So long as everything works well and we don't have any problems, we should be pretty OK," Raikkonen said.

"But so many things can happen and usually the race here is quite a funny one.

"So we will do the best that we can and hopefully we can win."

606: DEBATE

Hamilton looked on course for a fairytale front-row start on his Grand Prix debut with a fastest lap of 1:26.755, only to be bumped from second spot late on by team-mate Alonso, in a time of 1:26.493.

BMW Sauber driver Heidfeld then nipped between the two of them to nudge Hamilton back into fourth spot.

Heidfeld's team-mate Robert Kubica will start in fifth place while Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella took sixth.

Mark Webber, who declared his Red Bull team were a month behind schedule after a disappointing display during practice on Friday, put in a solid display to take seventh.

Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, who had travelled down the pits at the start of the second qualifying stage with a jack trolley still attached to one of his rear wheels, took eighth.


Final qualifying result for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne:

1 K Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1mins 26.072secs
2 F Alonso (Spn) McLaren 1:26.493
3 N Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:26.556
4 L Hamilton (GB) McLaren 1:26.755
5 R Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:27.347
6 G Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:27.634
7 M Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:27.934
8 J Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:28.404
9 R Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:28.692
10 T Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri 1:28.871
11 A Davidson (GB) Super Aguri 1:26.909
12 N Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:26.914
13 H Kovalainen (Fin) Renault 1:26.964
14 J Button (GB) Honda 1:27.264
15 A Wurz (Aut) Williams 1:27.343
16 F Massa (Brz) Ferrari no time*
17 R Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1:27.679
18 S Speed (USA) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:28.305
19 D Coulthard (GB) Red Bull 1:28.579
20 V Liuzzi (Ita) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:29.267
21 A Sutil (Ger) Spyker 1:29.339
22 C Albers (Ned) Spyker 1:31.932

* Starts 16th after gearbox problem

Follow live coverage of the race from 0300 GMT on Sunday on the BBC Sport website and Radio Five Live



SEE ALSO
Hamilton glee at 'dream' display
17 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Ferrari duo set pace in Melbourne
16 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Dark cloud over F1
16 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Alonso ready for F1 title fight
15 Mar 07 |  Formula One
What's new in F1?
15 Mar 07 |  Formula One
Heikki Kovalainen column
14 Mar 07 |  Formula One


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