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Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Saturday, 5 July 2008 14:43 UK
British Grand Prix
Silverstone, 4-6 July



By Andrew Benson
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen
A delighted Kovalainen is flanked by Webber (left) and Raikkonen (right)

Lewis Hamilton could only qualify fourth for the British Grand Prix as his McLaren team-mate Heikki Kovalainen grabbed pole position.

The Finn, who has looked quicker than Hamilton all weekend, posted a stunning lap to beat surprise second-place man Mark Webber of Red Bull.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest - but he was nearly 0.7 seconds off Kovalainen's one minute 21.049 lap.

BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was fifth

ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso.

World championship leader Felipe Massa was down in ninth place, behind Alonso's team-mate Nelson Piquet Jr and Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel.

Massa failed to get in a second qualifying run at the end of the session because Ferrari did not get him out of the pits in time after running into problems changing his right rear wheel.

Meanwhile, Kovalainen, for whom this was a first pole position of his F1 career, said: "It's not going to be easy tomorrow, but my pace has been good all week, and I am confident our strategy will be a strong one as well. The target is to win the Grand Prix.

606: DEBATE
"It was quite difficult conditions. At the start of the final session, the wind picked up and I was all over the place. But it went much better on the second run."

Hamilton made a mistake on his first run in the final part of qualifying, running off the track at the Priory corner towards the end of the lap.

He was on a faster lap at the end of the session, but got his car sideways coming out of Abbey corner, and was not able to make up the time.

The disparity in the times between the top few drivers, as well as the presence of Webber on the front row, suggests the teams are running different fuel loads as they anticipate their tactics for what is expected to be a wet race on Sunday.

Drivers who make it into the top 10 qualifying run-off are not allowed to refuel between qualifying and the start of the race, so have to compete for grid positions with the fuel load with which they will start the race.

Carrying more fuel into a wet race can give an advantage because although the car will be slower it affords a greater flexibility with strategy.

I put 200 on Heikki at 23-1 so I'm in good shape

Red Bull driver and BBC columnist Mark Webber
Webber has looked quick this weekend - but it would be a major surprise if his Red Bull was fastest enough to take a front-row grid slot on merit.

The Australian said: "It's a bit of a surprise actually. We've been pretty strong most of the weekend but we didn't realise how strong until we got into Q2.

"In relation to the rest of the guys we're normally competing with we look to have a bit of a margin over them. It's a credit to the team.

"There's a long way to go, but I'm happy with what I've done today. My engineer told me I was P1 when I was in Becketts and I knew that wasn't going to last, but I'm very happy with second and I can't wait for the race now."

Webber added that there would be some sort of consolation for him if he is pipped to victory by Kovalainen.

"I put 200 on Heikki at 23-1 so I'm in good shape," said the 31-year-old.

Meanwhile, Raikkonen said he was relieved about Saturday's outcome.

"Compared to yesterday it has been much better," said the Finn.

"Yesterday was very difficult, we have put in quite a lot of effort to try to sort my car out.

"We are not exactly where we want to be, but qualifying has never been my strongest point, and nobody knows how much fuel everyone is running."


Qualifying times for British GP:

1. Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes one minute 21.049 seconds
2. Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull-Renault 1:21.554
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:21.706
4. Lewis Hamilton (GB) McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.835
5. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:21.873
6. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:22.029
7. Nelson Piquet (Bra) Renault 1:22.491
8. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:23.251
9. Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1:23.305
10. Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber no time
11. David Coulthard (GB) Red Bull-Renault 1:20.174
12. Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:20.274
13. Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.531
14. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:20.601
15. Kazuki Nakajima (Jap) Williams-Toyota 1:21.112
16. Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1:21.512
17. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:21.631
18. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Toyota 1:21.668
19. Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India-Ferrari 1:21.786
20. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India-Ferrari 1:21.885




see also
British GP photos
05 Jul 08 |  Motorsport
British GP qualifying as it happened
05 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Silverstone, UK
03 Jul 08 |  Circuit Guide
Mark Webber column
02 Jul 08 |  Formula One


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