The last pole of Kimi Raikkonen was at the Belgian GP in 2007, but the Fin is there again. Fernando Alonso flies on home ground and just came short of Raikkonen's time but will start from the first row.
25 - 27 April 2008
2008 FORMULA 1 SPANISH GRAND PRIX
Team-by-team summary: Saturday, Spain
Apr.26 (GMM) FERRARI
Watched by Michael Schumacher on the pitwall, Kimi Raikkonen duly delivered his first pole of the season, to the chagrin of thousands of Spaniards as it bumped local hero Fernando Alonso down to second. Felipe Massa is third.
Many observers believe Alonso put in a low-fuel crowd-pleaser for his second on the grid, but veteran engineer Giorgio Ascanelli (Toro Rosso) was impressed: "It was worth coming to Spain just to see his qualifying lap!" Alonso is not giving much away, but he did confirm an "aggressive approach". Nelson Piquet had similar pace in Q1 and Q2, so his ultimate run to tenth place will add fuel to the speculation about Alonso's final attack.
Robert Kubica is again on the pace; second in the low-fuel Q2 section, and fourth on the grid, only a couple of tenths from pole. Nick Heidfeld qualified half a second behind and ninth. "My final lap was not good enough," the German admitted.
Lewis Hamilton told British television after qualifying just fifth that he was "shocked and stunned" with his lack of pace, but the official press release had amusingly toned down his quote to merely "quite surprised". Teammate Heikki Kovalainen also qualified on the third row.
After missing morning practice with a Renault engine problem, Mark Webber bagged seventh on the grid amid the incredibly tightly-packed top-ten. David Coulthard was "shocked" when he failed to graduate out of the Q1 stragglers after (like Webber) gambling on using only hard tyres.
Barcelona is not Toyota's best circuit, so Jarno Trulli qualified behind Webber, with teammate Timo Glock slightly adrift, consistently a few tenths shy of Trulli's pace as per usual. "We've done an average job," chassis boss Pascal Vasselon surmised.
Jenson Button has been marginally off Rubens Barrichello's pace in Spain, but both narrowly missed seeing the Q3 action. "We are not quite in the position to be scoring points yet," Barrichello said.
Kazuki Nakajima was actually delighted to outqualify his highly rated teammate Nico Rosberg, but Williams insists that missing the Q3 cut is "unsatisfactory".
Sebastien Bourdais defied predictions when he scraped out of the Q1 stragglers, but he then went no further with the now outdated STR2. Sebastian Vettel's run to eighteenth was not impressive, and the whole team will be desperate to gets its hands on the 2008-spec STR3.
Not a great showing for the team after the false dawn of the practice time sheets, with Giancarlo Fisichella qualifying four tenths slower than eighteenth place, and Adrian Sutil a further seven tenths adrift with a brake disc problem.
Anthony Davidson did well to be just a tenth behind Sutil, conferring the dishonour of last on the grid to his teammate Takuma Sato.