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British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 4-6 July



British Grand Prix - qualifying result:

1. H Kovalainen (McLaren)

2. M Webber (Red Bull)

3. K Raikkonen (Ferrari)

4. L Hamilton (McLaren)

5. N Heidfeld (BMW)

6. F Alonso (Renault)

7. N Piquet Jr (Renault)

8. S Vettel (Toro Rosso)

LATEST ACTION (all times BST)

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By Sam Lyon

1415: Well well well, that was blooming exciting wasn't it? Kovalainen looking really good for the race tomorrow, while Mark Webber may cause a problem or two at the front. Ferrari will be hoping for a lot more from Raikkonen and Massa come race time and Lewis Hamilton has to cut out his errors if he is to challenge. Fuel loads will also come into play, especially with rain forecast...

Make sure you're all back and getting involved for Sunday's race, I look forward to hearing from you then!

"Hamilton is cracking under pressure again and making unforced errors. So British fans, is he really the best driver? First half of last year he was. This year he is clearly isn't."
namuncura on 606
Join the debate on 606

"I am delighted. I always felt I had the pace, despite some tough conditions, and now I hope to continue it through the race tomorrow. I'm very quick through sector three, the slow corners, and the team deserve all the credit because we have made good steps forward with the car. The balance of the car is as good as its been in both high and low speed this season."
Heikki Kovalainen in the post-qualifying press conference

"We've been strong all weekend, but it was a big surprise to be honest. It only really hit home in Q2 that we might be competitive and it's a proud, proud moment for me and the team. But it's only 5% of the job done, I just can't wait for the race to start."
Mark Webber in the post-qualifying press conference

"Compared to yesterday, today was a lot better from the team. We put a lot of effort into correcting the car and while we're not as strong as we want to be, and nobody knows how much fuel teams are running - we'll only know tomorrow - we're quite happy all things considered."
Kimi Raikkonen in the post-qualifying press conference

"Was I right or was I right? Hmm? Did I not predict this for Heikki? Now, barring any unlucky troubles, he's on for the win... he's been faster than Lewis all weekend. But what can Mark do? I have a feeling he's a little light, but not as much as some might expect."
pottiella on 606
Join the debate on 606

"Hamilton's got more fuel than Kovalainen."
mysteriousblablabla on 606
(He may well do mate, but Hamilton did make errors in the middle and final sectors of his flying lap... - SL)

1401: Heikki Kovalainen takes British GP pole!

Chequered Flag
A cracking, cracking run from the Finn, who secures his first ever pole in a time of more than half a second ahead of Mark Webber, who snatches a superb, surprise second. Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton, in fourth, will share the second row, with Heidfeld-Alonso-Piquet Jr-Vettel behind them. Unbelievably, Felipe Massa is ninth, and Kubica 10th.

1400: Kimi Raikkonen goes fastest - but Hamilton is coming up on him...

1400: Kubica's qualifying is done by the look of things as he steps out the car in the pits.

1359: Amusingly - Raikkonen is being hampered a touch by, wait for it, a crisp packet on the tray. Brilliant. Hamilton is advised 'not to overdrive' as he is fastest in the first two sectors.

1356: Kovalainen sets the fastest time, Alonso third, Heidfeld fourth, Massa fifth.

1355: Error from Hamilton at Priory as he slides into the gravel - ouch - but he carries on and he's going for a flying lap at the second attempt. Robert Kubica also slides into the rubbish stuff.

1355: Kimi Raikkonen is first to post a representative lap - it's 1:22.519 - that won't be good enough.

"I'm having trouble seeing which session Piquet dropped out in?? Surely he's not managed to get through to Q3......has he??"
Yo_Hodge on 606
(He has mate, he really has - SL)

1352: Lewis Hamilton is out and about. A bit like Beadle. But without the 'jokes', fake beard and policeman's outfit.

1350: Talking of celebs, a quick shot just then of a couple of blonde ladies in the Red Bull paddock. I love F1. To be honest, I'm not sure they're famous, but maybe one to ask Mark Webber in his next column perhaps? Ber-limey.

"Great stuff from Webber, but gutted for Coulthard."
Matt, sunburned, at Stowe Corner via text

1346: So, a step up from McLaren there and Ferrari look like they are struggling to keep up right now. Could that be a fuel-load issue? Q3 will tell us all you would think...

1344: Raikkonen and Massa finish that session in 6th and 8th - they've genuinely yet to fire this afternoon. Worse news for the bottom five, though, as Coulthard, Glock, Bourdais, Trulli and Nakajima drop out after Q2. By the by, Mark Webber finished that session third. The BBC columnist did say he loves it at Silverstone...!

1342: The softs give Massa... just two 10ths of a second and he's safe, as is Alonso who comes through with a flying last lap - but Coulthard misses out!

1340: Interestingly, the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Massa stick on a new set of tyres and they're back on the track desperate to secure their top-10 position. Hhmmm. A minute left of Q2.

1338: That's more like it from the BMWs - Kubica and Heidfeld go third and fourth respectively. That puts Bourdais and Glock in the danger positions.

1336: Those in the danger spots as we stand are Coulthard, Trulli, Nakajima, Kubica and Heidfeld. Just over five minutes remaining in the session, though, and the BMWs should win their gamble with the weather... you would hope...

1334: Lewis Hamilton - on the softs - tops the charts with a 1:19.537.

1333: Kimi Raikkonen goes fastest in Q2 with a 1:20.037... but the McLarens are ripping round the first two sectors at an even quicker pace.

1331: Silverstone is now back basking in sunshine. You've got to love English weather haven't you?

1327: Well, if we can learn anything from Q1 it's that Ferrari and McLaren look very even in terms of pace, while Toro Rosso and Red Bull look relatively quick as well. BMW's Kubica is also doing his best to put some miserable practice times behind him...

"At the risk of commentator's curse, Heikki Kovalainen really does seem to have the edge on Lewis Hamilton this weekend. It's all looking eerily similar to last year's race, when Hamilton was not on terms with team-mate Fernando Alonso, and had to resort to running less fuel to grab pole. Not that it did him any good - he was third in the race behind winner Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

1321: Jenson Button... DOESN'T make it. That means Button drops out before Q2 alongside Barrichello, Rosberg, Sutil and Fisichella They will occupy the final five slots on the grid.

1319: The track is drying up now and there may just be time for those in the danger areas to clock a decent time to make it through to Q2. A reminder of the leaders - it's Kovalainen-Hamilton-Vettel-Raikkonen-Kubica-Massa. Alonso in 10th, Coulthard 13th.

1318: Jenson Button leaves the pits and he has two 10ths of a second to make up if he is to make it through to Q2. Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, has abandoned his efforts and he will drop out after Q1.

"Just as we were building to a crescendo... it's all gone quiet. No-one is out on the track, safe in the knowledge that improving their time in these conditions is impossible."
David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live

1315: Less than five minutes of Q1 to go - and yet Jenson Button is sat in the pits. Uh-oh...

1314: Hold the phone... it's starting to rain... and Nick Heidfeld spills off into the grass on his quick lap. That wet weather is bad bad news for Barrichello, Button, Rosberg, Sutil and Fisichella who currently occupy the bottom five and will struggle to improve their time if the rain continues...

1312: The clouds are closing in now, how interesting it would be if they spill their guts in 20 minutes or so. It'll make qualifying a whole lot more interesting - though celeb-spotting could prove difficult if everyone starts donning kagools. I'll keep you posted.

1310: Sebastian Vettel goes third fastest to split the McLarens of Kovalainen and Hamilton from the Ferraris of Raikkonen and Massa.

Celebrity spot!
1307: First indications of the relative pace of the cars - and it looks like Ferrari are indeed more than competitive, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa clocking second and third fastest. Ron Weasley is in the crowd! I don't know his real name but he's the ginger kid from Harry Potter. He's no Jude Law, though, admittedly...

1306: Lewis Hamilton clocks the fastest lap of the day with a 1:20.228 and then pits. Button, Barrichello, Fisichella, Sutil and Bourdais in the bottom five as we stand.

1304: Fernando Alonso is the first driver under 1:21 with a time of 1:20.998. Word in the paddock that Renault are uber-confident ahead of this race. Heikki Kovalainen comes in after his first lap.

1303: Lewis Hamilton is one of the earliest to complete a fast lap and his time of 1:21.287 is the early pace-setter. He'll want to go quicker than that, but not a bad early marker.

1302: All 20 cars out and Nico Rosberg is impressing early on.

1300: We are under way people... Expect a few out early with rain threatening overhead. A reminder that five cars will drop out after Q1, five more in Q2 and then it's all to play for in Q3.

1258: A quick reminder that we've had a different pole sitter in the last three races and a different championship leader at the last four. It's all to play for - can Lewis repeat the pole position he secured here last year?

1255: Five minutes to go and the atmosphere is really building now. The odd person seems to be jiggling about, pointing at the sky and chanting. I'm guessing they're not Ferrari fans. And WAIT! Word filtering through from a couple of you that the one and only Jude Law is at Silverstone. I've been told I look a lot like the dashing actor by many a young lady. Honest. *Cough!*

"I'm with Ben (the Force India fan) - I'm getting so much stick for being a Webber fan! Webber for pole, Heikki second, rain in 20 mins please."
Steven, Luffield via text

1248: "Conditions in qualifying are going to be very tricky for the drivers. It's really quite windy out there now. It's blustery, rather than constant, and it's blowing across the track at the difficult high-speed corners at Copse and Becketts. That plays havoc with the cars' behaviour."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

"Hamilton to win in a rain affected race! Massa and Kovalainen on the podium."
Danny, Leics via text

1240: The teams go through their final preparations with Red Bull's David Coulthard, preparing for his final British GP of course, attempting to break the sound barrier with his engine revs in the paddock. I've still yet to see any celebrity faces at Silverstone - am I missing something? When I did the MotoGP the other week I have Scott Carson, Alan Davies and the legendary Ross Noble to gawp at. Where are the fair-weather F1 celebrity 'fans' looking to get their mug in the papers? I was at least expecting a Big Brother cast-off or something.

"I'm at Silverstone on Luffield, and the only person here in Force India gear. Sutil for pole, Hamilton second, Massa third."
Ben at Silverstone via text

"Can anyone suggest a suitable incantation for rain?"
Castor on 606

"Sam, its only set in stone until the page is banished forever to the depths of the BBC archive - at best! You're not selling it well enough!"
Aliah via text
(Come on people, have you not employed the use of our second-to-none search engine? Set in stone people, set in stone - SL)

1223: Our man Andrew Benson is out walking the paddocks at the moment. It's at moments like this that the big man really earns his wedge - no doubt he's getting the inside info, chatting to drivers and key team members, and doing his best to infiltrate the higher echelons trackside to get the biggest and best stories. Me, I'd be chatting up the pit girls. Still, who's the mug huh?

"1.Massa 2. Kovalainen 3. Hamilton 4. Raikkonen 5. Alonso 6. Kubica. Can't wait for this - I think it will be a truly fantastic Grand Prix. I'd love to see Hamilton get pole but I don't think he will be able to do it."
anythetoonfan on 606

"Massa for Pole, Hamilton 2nd, Raikkonen 3rd, Alonso 4th - but then again I got nil points in the last GP prediction league! Let's hope for some more rain to mix the grid up a little bit... rain dance anyone?"
*salti on 606
Join the debate on 606

1212: Fact time: Lewis Hamilton is aiming to become the 12th home winner at Silverstone this season, following wins for Stirling Moss, Tony Brooks, Peter Collins, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and David Coulthard. Bootiful.

1207: A bit of a weather update for you - it's dry and bright again at Silverstone. With forecasts still suggesting rain tomorrow, how will the teams handle qualifying in terms of fuel load? How reflective will the grid be of the teams' speed?

"'Internet-famous'? That's nothing compared to my text being read out on the radio..."
Josh, Oxford via text
(Really? What if your mates weren't listening at the exact time it was read out huh? Did you tape it? On the internet it is there, set in stone, forever. Forever. What would you prefer huh?? Not that you have to choose now of course, but still... SL)

1200: Right - it's prediction time people - name your grid for tomorrow's race...

"I'm rooting for Heikki for the win... he's looking good! But then again, with his rotten luck..."
pottiella on 606

"Jenson Button is still one of the best drivers out there. Give him a good car, partner him with Hamilton, and that would be very interesting!! Button you are a god good luck to all drivers. Coulthard you will be missed you are a legend."
shaneburney on 606

1130: I'm off to grab some grubbage... be good now, be back soon. Brew anyone?

"Alonso can't win it seems - damned if he's brutally honest and damned if he's saying something positive. He is well and truly Schumi's successor; the driver everyone loves to hate!"
Aliah via text

"Can I be 'internet famous'? It's cool! On a side note, I hope Heikki can get a good result today - I think he is due a front-row start!"
Oli, Birmingham via text

"'1101: Fernando Alonso tops the charts with a super late lap...' - Looks like the cosmos is ready to play its part. Never doubt the power of the 'ohm', especially when its has a bit of the old yogi flying malarkey thrown in..."
left_toe_lace_ups on 606
Join the debate on 606

"Yes Alonso will say better things than Lewis. However Alonso has no integrity and Lewis is handicapped by trying to give an honest response to a question."
Anon via text
(Come on people, don't be shy - leave your name when you text in and boast to your friends that you're 'internet famous' - SL)

1101: Renault's Fernando Alonso tops the charts with a super late lap - 1:20.740 - Mark Webber of Red Bull second ahead of Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) and Sebastien Vettel (Toro Rosso), with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in fifth with a 1:21.668. The Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa pick up where they left off second practice last night in finishing ninth and 12th - perhaps down to a heavy fuel load? - while BMW's Robert Kubica (surely a problem for him, considering he put in 20 laps?) and David Coulthard of Red Bull hold up the pack.

1059: Hamilton comes in, his work seemingly done, but then pops back out for a flying lap to finish - looking to see how fast he can clock an 'out' lap come race time perhaps?

1057: Hamilton is ripping through the first sector, but appears to be losing time in the third... Kovalainen is looking really good throughout...

"Of course Alonso will talk up Kubica (see below) - they seem to be good friends. Funny how while Hamilton is talking himself up as the best and fittest, Alonso - the two-time world champion - calls another driver the best? Yet still Alonso is arrogant and Hamilton is humble?"
Anon via text

1055: Triathlon rivals Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button go second and third respectively, with Mark Webber fastest at the moment. Heikki Kovalainen is bottom of the charts, with Robert Kubica 19th, and we're looking at a late mix-up in the charts, surely.

1048: Happy days for Sebastien Bourdais - he tops the charts with 1:23.826. Time for a cheeky wager on the Frenchman? Maybe not... PBs from the drivers every lap now with the drys really making the difference.

"Hello. I am at Silverstone watching the British Grand Prix. Could you please say hello to my mum and sister.
Tom via text
(Hello Tom's mum and sister. Ah, the sweet taste of 'celebrity' - SL)

1044: It could be dry tyre time - Nick Heidfeld roars round Silverstone in a best-of-the-day-so-far time of 1:27.300, beating Felipe Massa's previous best by four seconds. With 17 minutes remaining in the session, it is this period that could give us the biggest indication of how the teams stand this weekend.

"Anyone who thinks world champion Kimi Raikkonen lacks personality should read an interview with him in Saturday's Red Bulletin, the magazine Red Bull produce every day at a Grand Prix. In it, he is unusually loquacious, probably because he is asked about everything but Formula One - including some of his extra-curricular antics. He admits that the notorious clip of him falling off the roof of a boat on to his head during a party is definitely him, and he concludes the interview with a deliciously succinct summing up of his philosophy of life."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

"I love it when we get the Alonso knockers on 606, it's always good for a laugh. He is one of the top drivers and deserves a top car. Has nobody on this board changed jobs to better themselves? I know I did."
Chilli_Burger on 606

1035: As expected, the times they are a-dropping. David Coulthard puts in a bit of a ripper to go second in the timings, flanked by Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. BMW's Robert Kubica, meanwhile, currently lies in 18th - yes, 18th - in the charts, despite having clocked up the most laps so far. Alonso, by the way, claimed Kubica - and not Lewis, Kimi, Fernando etc - is the most talented driver on the circuit. Thoughts?
Join the debate on 606

"Heikki and Lewis are as good as each other, but I reckon Lewis will out qualify Kovalainen. Still, it does seem inevitable that this weekend will be a red wash if Massa and Kimi show up."
BigBeatManifesto on 606

1030: Nakajima has a spin and Robert Kubica slides around Club, while Massa, Button and Coulthard have also all had hairy moments around the bends. Could be a bit of a thriller in qualifying.

1027: The track is definitely almost dry now, a combination of the cars and the bright sunshine hanging over Silverstone. Hamilton continues to top the times, with Raikkonen and Massa following up and Mark Webber in fourth. On BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra Holly Samos declares "David Croft is not my type". The sound of David Croft lookalikes' hearts breaking across the world can be heard.

"Why would anyone want Fernando Alonso when he's going to threaten to leave halfway through his first season with them?"
OllieWoods on 606

1020: Lewis 'If I weren't a racing driver would I have been able to pull the lead singer of Pussycat Dolls?" Hamilton goes top of the times with a lap of 1:32.640.

"Sam - If you want to get the drivers psyched... just break out the all time F1 tune 'The Chain'. The sight of F1 cars snaking through the rain at full speed to the accompaniment of this Fleetwood Mac classic reaching its crescendo of volume was a major highlight of my F1 youth."
bournemouthhatter on 606
Join the debate on 606

1016: Fernando Alonso rips round in a time of 1:34.648 to go top of the charts, followed closely Kimi Raikkonen, Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton. It would appear the track is not quite so wet now, with the cars drying out the driving line, so the times will drop and drop from now I would imagine.

"I am stood in the pits with Red Bull and I have to reveal that David Coulthard's car is literally in bits. There are car parts scattered everywhere. The press officer is not saying why..."
Holly Samos on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra

1011: Jarno Trulli posts the first lap time of the day with a 1:38.410. Uninspired.

1007: It's busy busy busy at Silverstone this morning - it may have its faults this track, but you've gotta love the atmosphere. The crowds are braving the changeable weather without fuss and they're watching every car bar the Ferraris out on track now.

"As I emerged from my tent at Silverstone this morning - yes, I am doing Silverstone properly again this year - it was hosing it down. If I were Lewis, for example, I'd be secretly pleased about that."
David Croft on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra

1001: The McLarens of Kovalainen and Hamilton are first out on the track - the latter on intermediate wet tyres by the look of things. As the drivers pile out, it would appear Lewis is the only one on wets - I'll keep you posted. This session could be crucial in terms of the weekend, especially with rain forecast tomorrow.

0959: Moments away now - and you can follow the action (alongside my commentary of course) on Radio 5 Live sports extra...
Radio 5 Live sports extra

"Alonso for BMW I reckon. With Heidfeld going backwards and the team going forwards it would make sense. The ideal choice for a 5- or 6-way fight for the title in '09."
Anon via text

0952: By the way, a quick thanks to *salti and *jollysilverking who are busting out some top tunes on 606 - I wonder what the drivers listen to to get themselves revved (ey fank yaow) up for the race? Come on, there has to be some top puns to exploit there...

0949: "With around 10 minutes to go before the start of the final practice session, the rain has stopped at Silverstone. The sun has been out, and the clouds are breaking up, but the track still looks damp. It will be interesting to see which tyres the drivers choose for their first laps of the hour-long session. With unsettled weather predicted for the rest of the weekend, the information the teams learn in the damp this morning could be very valuable."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

0943: There's been plenty happening off the track this week - Donington Park being handed the British Grand Prix from 2010 onwards, Lewis Hamilton chickening out (sorry, withdrawing for professional reasons) of a charity triathlon against Jenson Button and the 22-year-old then being named F1's biggest ever playboy (Eddie Irvine might have something to say about that)...
British GP will move to Donington
Hamilton pulled from charity race
Hamilton voted F1's top playboy of all time

...and now the future of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso has hit the back pages. The Spanish Renault driver has said he will decide upon his future after September's Italian Grand Prix - and already the world and his mother have been linked with a move for him. What do we think? Ferrari would probably be his choice, but surely they will keep faith with Raikkonen and Massa? Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion he wouldn't be welcome back at McLaren, so what is he left with? Toyota? Honda? Red Bull? Let us know your thoughts.
Join the debate on 606

0939: "The sun's out now. It could be one of those days..."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

0937: In practice yesterday, there was little to choose between Ferrari and McLaren - Felipe Massa dominating the morning session despite a crash at Stowe and Heikki Kovalainen came out on top in the afternoon.
McLaren & Ferrari set Friday pace

Lewis Hamilton - Britain's great hope for this weekend - was third in both sessions, and after two dismal races in Canada and France he'll be desperate to impress on his home ground.

Elsewhere, David Coulthard and Jenson Button will both have been happy with second practice on Friday - finishing 4th and 7th respectively - but may have to hope for a little help from the weather if they are to earn a podium finish on Sunday.

The BMWs, meanwhile, of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica looked surprisingly uncompetitive - it will be interesting to see if they can turn things around this morning in final practice - while the Williams of Nico Rosberg did almost enough late yesterday to suggest it may not be a two or three horse race tomorrow.

As with yesterday, we have our F1 guru Andrew Benson trackside, we have David Croft and Maurice Hamilton on Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live sports extra, we have my good self pulling it all together and providing my own unique/alternate take on things, and I want you to get involved as much as possible via 606 or text on 81111.
Join the debate on 606

0932: "Quite a contrast with Friday this morning - Silverstone is blanketed in low, grey clouds, and it's raining - at first not that hard, but now it's tipping it down. This could turn into a blessing in disguise for those wishing for a Lewis Hamilton victory.

"The general view is that Ferrari are favourites in a dry race - despite the pace shown by McLaren in Friday practice. (One engineer from a rival team told me on Friday he thought it looked as if "McLaren were trying quite hard to look quick"). But Hamilton is super-fast in the wet, as he proved in Japan last year, and a wet race could play into his hands.

"A quick reminder of the forecast... apparently, it will continue like this for the rest of the weekend."
BBC Sport's Andrew Benson at Silverstone

0930: "Let's get ready to rumble. Watch us reck the mic, watch us reck the mic, watch us reck the mic... psyche!"

Ah, the inimitable words of Ant and Dec. Who'd have thought two rather bad child actors from Byker Grove would go on to dominate the charts, Saturday night TV and Britain's light entertainment industry in general?

Anyway, those famous lyrics from the Brit Award nominated (seriously) single, are meant to signify that we've hit the business end of proceedings in this monster weekend of F1.

Silverstone may have learned only yesterday that it will not play host to the British Grand Prix from 2010 - that honour will go to Donington Park - but for now, it's all about Stowe corner, Hangar Straight and Becketts Outside.


see also
Kovalainen on pole for British GP
05 Jul 08 |  Formula One
British GP photos
05 Jul 08 |  Motorsport
British GP will move to Donington
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One


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