Hamilton on Pole-Position

Sat, 6 October 2007, 12:05

Formula one teams demonstrated an incredible level of competitiveness on Saturday as the eleven teams battled for qualifying positions in China.

Former grand prix winners like Rubens Barrichello dropped out of the initial ‘Q1’ cut at Shanghai, as a couple of tenths and miniscule driving errors sorted Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Honda, Toyota, Williams, Super Aguri and Renault into midfield runners or backmarkers.

Giancarlo Fisichella qualified eighteenth; his worst performance on merit since he rejoined Renault in 2005, and – mercifully for the Roman – coinciding with the absence of team boss Flavio Briatore.

Leaving the French squad in the hands of Pat Symonds, Briatore returned to Europe with his football business partner Bernie Ecclestone after the Japanese grand prix, according to reports.

Lewis Hamilton emerged with a surprise pole position, despite Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen leading every other official session this weekend — including the ‘Q1’ and ‘Q2′ low-fuel sectors.

“Looking at what happened, there were different fuels in the car (in Q3),” the Finn suggested after the session.

A win for McLaren’s rookie Hamilton on Sunday would seal his drivers’ title. Fernando Alonso is fourth, six tenths behind.

“Let’s hope it’s something to do with the fuel load,” the Spaniard said. “I am a little bit slower than I expected, but I don’t know when I am stopping (on Sunday), let alone the Ferraris.”

Hamilton admitted: “Going into qualifying I didn’t particularly have the pace of Fernando.”

Chinese GP, qualification
1 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:35.908
2 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:36.044
3 F. Massa Ferrari 1:36.221
4 F. Alonso McLaren 1:36.576
5 D. Coulthard Red Bull 1:37.619
6 R. Schumacher Toyota 1:38.013
7 M. Webber Red Bull 1:38.153
8 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:38.455
9 R. Kubica BMW 1:38.472
10 J. Button Honda 1:39.285
11 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:36.862
12 S. Vettel Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:36.891
13 J. Trulli Toyota 1:36.959
14 H. Kovalainen Renault 1:36.991
15 A. Davidson Super Aguri 1:37.247
16 N. Rosberg Williams 1:37.483
17 R. Barrichello Honda 1:37.251
18 G. Fisichella Renault 1:37.290
19 A. Wurz Williams 1:37.456
20 T. Sato Super Aguri 1:38.218
21 A. Sutil Spyker F1 1:38.668
22 S. Yamamoto Spyker F1 1:39.336

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