Massa edges ahead of Hamilton to take pole in France

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa will start the final Magny-Cours race, scene of this year’s French Grand Prix, ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Brazilian set a best lap time of one minute, 15.034 seconds beating the championship leader by less than a tenth of second. This was Massa’s fourth pole position this season and its first front row start for Ferrari since May.

Raikkonen lines up behind the leading pair giving a Ferrari 1-3 on the grid. This demonstrations that the Italian team are not out of the contention in the championship battle with rival McLaren, despite under-performing in the previous three races. A strong result in Sunday’s race will be a great reward for Jean Todt and his squad.

As for the double world champion Fernando Alonso, the McLaren star hit trouble with a suspected gearbox problem. The Spaniard didn’t even set a lap time in the all-important top ten shootout in session three and provisionally, will start in the race in tenth position (if the team decides to replace the Mercedes-Benz engine, he will drop another ten places due to the Formula One regulations).

This is bad news for Fernando, as he is desperate to claw back the ten-point gap over his team-mate and leader of the drivers’ standings Hamilton. It will be a very difficult 70 laps for Alonso to recover from.

Making his return back in the BMW-Sauber cockpit is Robert Kubica. The Polish driver missed out on taking part in the previous race at Indianapolis due to doctors’ orders after his horrifying crash at the Canadian Grand Prix. Now that Robert is back behind the wheel, he qualified in an impressive fourth – three places ahead of team-mate Nick Heidfeld.

Between the BMW drivers are the two Renaults with Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen – fifth and sixth respectively. This is the team’s best qualifying effort so far this season.

Toyota’s Jarno Trulli qualified in eighth with Nico Roberg in ninth for Williams. The German produced another solid display in qualifying and will line up on row five alongside the unfortunate Alonso.

As for Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri, the Japanese takes a ten-place grid penalty for overtaking Honda’s Jenson Button under waved yellow flags in the last race.

Yet again, the number two drivers at Ferrari and McLaren have upstaged their leading colleague. But in the case for Fernando, the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-22 let him down… Can Felipe go for the win to end Ferrari’s winless period after three disappointing races or can Lewis score that hat-trick of race victories before he arrives as a hero in his home race at Silverstone? The final French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours could be a thriller!

Starting grid for the French Grand Prix

1. MASSA Ferrari 1:15.034
2. HAMILTON McLaren 1:15.104
3. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:15.257
4. KUBICA BMW 1:15.493
5. FISICHELLA Renault 1:15.674
6. KOVALAINEN Renault 1:15.826
7. HEIDFELD BMW 1:15.900
8. TRULLI Toyota 1:15.935
9. ROSBERG Williams 1:16.328
10. ALONSO McLaren 1:15.084
11. SCHUMACHER Toyota 1:15.534
12. BUTTON Honda 1:15.584
13. BARRICHELLO Honda 1:15.761
14. WEBBER Red Bull 1:15.806
15. SPEED Toro Rosso 1:16.049
16. COULTHARD Red Bull 1:15.915
17. LIUZZI Toro Rosso 1:16.142
18. WURZ Williams 1:16.241
19. DAVIDSON Super Aguri 1:16.366
20. ALBERS Spyker 1:17.826
21. SUTIL Spyker 1:17.915
22. SATO Super Aguri* 1:16.244

* Penalty imposed after United States Grand Prix

Montoya wins NASCAR race

Juan Pablo Montoya NASCAR

Juan Pablo Montoya has finally achieved his dream result by winning a NASCAR Nextel Cup race last Sunday.

The ex-Formula One driver – who last competed in the United States Grand Prix for McLaren back in 2006 – described the maiden victory as one of the greatest moments of his racing career.

The Colombian has had a difficult start in stock car racing with his first ever race ending in a fireball! Since then, Montoya has been slowly learning the race craft in driving on ovals and has impressed the American public with his speed despite so-so results.

But this latest performance at Sears Point – the first of only two road course events on the Nextel Cup schedule – Montoya used his road racing experience to move up from a disappointing 32nd on the 43-car grid all the way to the front.

“I can’t even believe,” Montoya said. “It’s been an amazing day for the whole team. We had a fast car, just looked after it all day long, the strategy worked good, great pitstops and just had everything fall into place, you know. One of those days when you’re meant to win you’re going to win, whatever happens.”

“It’s huge,” when asked to compare his win with his other race victories as a professional racing driver. “I would say right now it’s the biggest thing I’ve done.”

“In open-wheel racing, I was expected to win. In stock cars, I wasn’t. This is as big as any victory. You could say it’s as big as winning the Indy 500 or winning Long Beach. For me winning Long Beach [Champ Car race, in 1999] was probably cooler than winning the Indy 500 because it was my first ever-big race. Winning here is my first-ever big race in stock cars. They’re all right up there. I kinda think this is my favourite. It’s amazing.”

The Colombian pulled off some bold overtaking moves on the California track, but the key to his victory was knowing when to save fuel during the final sting of the race.

“They told me it was going to be close,” Montoya added. “I mean, you always drive very careful with the throttle, letting the car roll and I thought ‘I’m going to be good, it’s going to close.’ I’m thinking ‘I don’t want to get to the end and get second’, you know. So I drove a bit harder, went by Jamie (Johnson) and then started saving a bit more fuel.”

Team boss Chip Ganassi, whose outfit Montoya won the 1999 Champ Car title and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000, said patience has become part of the feisty repertoire for JPM.

“Those of you who didn’t know him before, he’s changed quite a bit,” Ganassi said. “He’s a lot calmer, if you can imagine that. He actually came on the radio today and said ‘it’s too early to race these guys’.

“I was looking around thinking I had somebody else’s radio or something. He’s a changed man, all in a positive way.”

Montoya’s victory was the first for a Hispanic driver in Nextel Cup history and as such was a landmark for NASCAR, as the series hopes to expanse by tapping into new markets including Europe.

“I think in a way it’s going to be good for the whole NASCAR sport,” JPM said.” I think me winning today is going to bring a lot of attention the next few races.”

Super massive rock show video clips

Muse Wembley

Right, I have uploaded four video clips onto YouTube and you can now marvel how fantastic the Wembley gig was last Sunday (June 17th).

See the beautiful light show and balloons as Muse rock out to 90,000 passionate fans. Awesome!

The crowd singing to Black Holes and Revelations.

The aerial artists move into position. Look at the camera flashes!

More of the wonderful trapeze/aerial artists suspended high above in balloons.

The full track list that the band played during the two-hour live show:

Close Encounters Riff + Knights of Cydonia
Supermassive Black Hole
Map of the Problematique
Forced In
Sing for Absolution
Butterflies & Hurricanes
Apocalypse Please
Feeling Good
Piano interlude + Sunburn (piano)
Blues Jam + Time Is Running Out
New Born + Microphone Fiend riff + Ashamed outro

Encore 1:
Soldier’s Poem (acoustic guitar)

Encore 2:
Plug In Baby
Stockholm Syndrome + riffs
Take a Bow

Super massive rock show

Muse at Wembley image 1

Last night at London’s impressive Wembley Stadium, I witness a truly spectacular show by Muse.

They are considered to be the most amazing rock band when performing live and the sell-out gig certainly lived up to its expectation with fantastic set pieces and lighting displays.

Muse at Wembley image 3

Matthew Bellamy, the lead guitarist who also provided the vocals, was incredible. He was certainly enjoying himself as he rocked with his band members – Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar) and Dominic Howard (drums) – in front of an enthusiastic 90,000 capacity crowd.

Muse at Wembley image 2

The highlights include the opening song to kick-start the fantastic two-hour live show with Knights of Cydonia. The crowd in the ‘mash pit’ went crazy with the guitar riffs in this awesome track from the band’s fourth album, Black Holes and Revelations. In addition, the magical trapeze artists suspended from large balloons when Muse performed during Blackout.

I certainly had a great time out at Wembley and would love to see the best British band playing live again. Will upload a collection of images and video clips onto Facebook and YouTube soon.

Hamilton scores North American double for McLaren

Lewis Hamilton Indianapolis

Lewis Hamilton took his second consecutive Grand Prix victory at Indianapolis after a race-long duel with his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Fernando Alonso. Hamilton’s second win follows last weekend’s fantastic performance in which the young rookie scored his dream result after only six races.

Lewis led from pole position and despite constant pressure from Fernando in the 73-lap race; the championship leader drove a commending race from the front.

The only situation for Lewis came on lap 38, in which the Toro Rosso of Vitantonio Liuzzi held him up. The backmarker heading into the pits, but the lost of momentum gave Alonso the slipstream as they headed onto the pit straight. The two silver cars were wheel-to-wheel but Lewis held his line into the first corner – defended his track position – and that frustrated Alonso.

In the end, McLaren achieved another perfect one-two result that pleases Ron Dennis, the team’s manager. The Vodafone-sponsored team are on a roll after dominating the Monaco Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa finished in a lonely third, ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen – who recovered after losing two places at the start. The Finn spent his opening stint trapped behind the BMW-Sauber of Nick Heidfeld and Heikki Kovalainen’s Renault. Kimi eventually went passed both after switching to the soft Bridgestone tyres at his first stop, which gave him the opportunity to set the fastest lap as he gained on his team-mate near the final stages of the race.

Kovalainen followed up with his recent performance in Canada with a strong fifth place finish, having led for several laps thanks to his long opening stint. The late retirement of Nico Rosberg with engine failure in his Williams, made life a little easier for the Finn.

Rosberg’s sad demise was a bonus for Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, who finished in sixth after fighting off the challenge of Mark Webber in the Red Bull. As for Sebastian Vettel, the 19-year-old driving for BMW-Sauber, scored a point on his debut with eighth.

But that was a small reward for the team as Nick Heidfeld had been heading for a possible fourth until power steering and gearbox problems intervened to drop him to fifth, and then to prompt his retirement with hydraulics failure on lap 59.

As ever Lewis Hamilton was the star of the weekend and after winning his first Formula One race in Montreal a week ago, the Briton is overwhelmed with emotion in how well it has gone so far.

“What a dream,” said a delighted Hamilton. “To come into two circuits that I didn’t know, first time, to really come out with such pace and see the team moving forward and being competitive.

“They have done a fantastic job. This wouldn’t have been possible without them, and the guys here did a fantastic job.

“It is a perfect team and I am glad I put the icing on the cake.

“Really I am just extremely pleased and proud of the team. I never thought in a million years I would be here against these drivers here. It is a great leap in my career and my life, I am thankful to my family and the guardians of the team.”

Hamilton admitted it was tough to keep Alonso behind him, especially during the second stint, when Alonso was right behind.

“The first couple of laps were close and then I managed to pull a slight gap and maintain it, and in the middle stint my tyres started to grain so Fernando was right up my tail,” Hamilton added.

“It was extremely difficult, he was in my slipstream, it was very tough but he fought very well, very professional but in the end I was able to pull a gap, maintain it and win the race.”

Hamilton has now scored 58 points in seven races, ten more than Alonso and 19 more than Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. In the constructors’ standings McLaren are now 35 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ title chase.

The Formula One circus heads back into Europe in July with another back-to-back racing weekend in France and Britain. Can Lewis continue his winning form and scored that home victory in Silverstone? Or will Alonso strike back in his bid to defend his title?

US Grand Prix result – 73 laps

1. HAMILTON McLaren 1h39:09.065
2. ALONSO McLaren +1.5s
3. MASSA Ferrari +12.8s
4. RAIKKONEN Ferrari +15.4s
5. KOVALAINEN Renault +41.4s
6. TRULLI Toyota +66.7s
7. WEBBER Red Bull +67.3s
8. VETTEL BMW +67.7s
9. FISICHELLA Renault +1 lap
10. WURZ Williams +1 lap
11. DAVIDSON Super Aguri +1 lap
12. BUTTON Honda +1 lap
13. SPEED Toro Rosso +2 laps
14. SUTIL Spyker +2 laps
15. ALBERS Spyker +3 laps
16. ROSBERG Williams +5 laps
17. LIUZZI Toro Rosso +5 laps
R. HEIDFELD BMW +18 laps
R. SATO Super Aguri +60 laps
R. COULTHARD Red Bull +73 laps
R. BARRICHELLO Honda +73 laps
R. SCHUMACHER Toyota +73 laps

Fastest lap: RAIKKONEN – lap 49 1min. 13.117secs.

Hamilton takes pole position in United States Grand Prix

Hamilton, Massa and Alonso USGP

Canadian Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton takes his second successive pole position for Team McLaren Mercedes, with his world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso in second.

It was another fantastic performance from Lewis, as Fernando was the fastest driver throughout the practice sessions leading up to qualifying.

But in the final moments in session three – the top ten shootout – Hamilton hooked up two perfect laps to seal pole position in the United States Grand Prix.

His lap time of one minute, 12.331 seconds was only a few tenths quicker over team-mate Alonso. Both drivers lock out the front row for the third consecutive time and it will be a fascinating contest between them for overall race victory.

Behind the two silver cars came the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen (third and fourth respectively). The red cars seem to be struggling and at one point, were behind the BMW-Saubers. It was a great recovery by the Italian team but extra performance is needed in order to get back on terms with McLaren.

Nick Heidfeld qualified his BMW-Sauber in P5, ahead of Heikki Kovalainen – who qualified his best-ever position for Renault. This follows on his recent result in Montreal in which Heikki finished fourth in an incident-packed race.

Making his Grand Prix debut is Sebastian Vettel, who is racing for BMW-Sauber this weekend as the team’s regular driver – Robert Kubica – was denied to take part by doctor orders. The 19-year-old German has done a remarkable job to qualify in seventh ahead of Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault).

Back to the man of the action Lewis Hamilton, who has admitted that he was surprised to be on pole position. The Formula One rookie is driving at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the very first time and yet, has managed to be beat his team-mate even though he wasn’t expect to!

“I’m quite surprised to be honest,” he said. “Going into qualifying we had not found the optimal set-up and I knew Fernando would be quick here, but it’s great to see the team are so quick and ahead of Ferrari.

“Going into it I had to pull it all out, and my two last laps in Q3 were spot on, and I just beat my last lap at the end. I couldn’t be happier, I didn’t expect pole as I thought Fernando would be quicker.”

Hamilton added that he was happier with his second pole than he was with the first one.

“I am ecstatic, didn’t expect to get pole. I am happy for the team. Getting my second pole is even better than last week, but when I came across the line and they said I had P1 I was screaming in the helmet for the whole lap, I was ecstatic.

“The crowd were fantastic, and across from the garage there is a flag with ‘Lewis on’ it, there is lots of support so I am happy.”

But will he on Sunday night? As world champion Fernando Alonso says he is full of confidence in the Grand Prix. The Spaniard may be nearly two tenths down on Lewis but he feels upbeat for the race ahead.

“It has been a good weekend for me no doubt,” said Alonso. “I was fastest in practice but not in the important one, Q3, but being fastest all weekend gives me confidence for tomorrow.

“There are many factors at play in Q3, so many things can happen tomorrow and I am full of confidence.”

He added: “I didn’t improve much in the second lap, I had quite good grip in the car and was quite happy with the laps. I think tomorrow we can do very well.”

So it will be another Hamilton versus Alonso showdown. Can the Spaniard resist the urge to pass his young team-mate in a desperate bid to take the lead at the first corner? Will Lewis score another race victory – making it a double in North America? What about Massa and Raikkonen can the Ferraris fight back? And just how fast will the BMW-Saubers be? If anything, the 2007 US Grand Prix should be a thrilling contest.

United States Grand Prix starting grid

1. HAMILTON McLaren 1:12.331
2. ALONSO McLaren 1:12.500
3. MASSA Ferrari 1:12.703
4. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:12.839
5. HEIDFELD BMW 1:12.847
6. KOVALAINEN Renault 1:13.308
7. VETTEL BMW 1:13.513
8. TRULLI Toyota 1:13.789
9. WEBBER Red Bull 1:13.871
10. FISICHELLA Renault 1:13.953
11. COULTHARD Red Bull 1:12.873
12. SCHUMACHER Toyota 1:12.920
13. BUTTON Honda 1:12.998
14. ROSBERG Williams 1:13.060
15. BARRICHELLO Honda 1:13.201
16. DAVIDSON Super Aguri 1:13.259
17. WURZ Williams 1:13.441
18. SATO Super Aguri 1:13.477
19. LIUZZI Toro Rosso 1:13.484
20. SPEED Toro Rosso 1:13.712
21. SUTIL Spyker 1:14.122
22. ALBERS Spyker 1:14.597

Hamilton takes first victory in dramatic Canadian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton Canada Winner

Lewis Hamilton takes his first Formula One victory in an incident-packed Canadian Grand Prix, which featured four Safety Car periods.

Hamilton drove an impressive race, which was full of action and drama. But he made no mistakes throughout the weekend and deserves this fantastic result. An amazing achievement when you consider that this is only his sixth race as a Formula One driver. To record his maiden victory with a faultless drive from pole position is fantastic. Expect plenty more in the next couple of races this season.

In second was BMW-Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld who also drove a great race. Alex Wurz finished third for Williams, his first podium for the team after making his race debut ten years ago at the wheel of a Benetton. The Austrian commented that it was a “dream” result after a difficult weekend.

Heikki Kovalainen was another driver who was pleased to finish in the top eight with a fine fourth position. The Finn ended a miserable weekend filled with engine failures and incidents to record his first points of the season. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was fifth but seemed to lack pace and at one point, got overtaken by a sublime Takuma Sato in the Super Aguri!

In fact, Takuma was driving a sensational race and not only did he passed a Ferrari, the popular Japanese driver even got ahead of Fernando Alonso, with a superb overtaking manoeuvre in the last two laps! That was the real highlight of the Canadian Grand Prix in my mind.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso ended a disappointed Grand Prix with seventh after making three serious errors into the first corner. The first of which was on the opening lap when the Spaniard tried an over-ambitions move to take the lead. Alonso ran wide – just like the scenario in the Spanish Grand Prix – went onto the grass and was lucky not to hit anyone as he returned back to the track.

His bad luck didn’t end there as Alonso received a 10-second penalty for pitting during the first Safety Car period – before the pit lane was opened. So he dropped even further places and to cap it off even more, suffered the embarrassment by being overtaken by a Super Aguri from an inspired Sato…

Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher finished in the last remaining points position with eighth. Only twelve cars from a field of 22 finished in this crazy Canadian Grand Prix. Two were disqualified (Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa) due to exiting the pits despite the red light being shown… While the other remaining cars either broken down (in the case for poor old Jenson Button, who didn’t even start due to a clutch problem) or crashed.

Back to the man of the race, Lewis Hamilton who celebrates this “historic” day with a superb lights-to-flag victory in only his sixth Formula One starts.

Starting from pole position, the 22-year-old Briton became the first rookie to win in the sport since Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya for Williams back in 2001.

Hamilton showed great composure, while those around him were scraping into walls and pirouetting around corners, to confirm his status as a future champion.

“It has been a fantastic day, this is history,” said Hamilton. “To come here the first time in Canada, been a fantastic season already, I have been ready for quite some time for the win but just when or when.

“The team gave me a perfect car, the safety car made it a bit boring, but once we got going it got more exciting.

“We sat behind the safety car for quite some time and then dulled down for a while, then began building it (the gap) back again. The team did a great job getting me in and out before the first safety car.

“The last few laps I was just counting them down, I could see the board and I am the kind of guy to push until the end, and if you make one mistake you are on the marbles and in the wall. So I just wanted to enjoy it.

“I have to dedicate this one to my dad (Anthony) because without him it wouldn’t all be possible.”

Hamilton has now finished on the podium in all his Formula One races so far.

The Briton says he now plans to enjoy being at the head of the championship, but is already looking to consolidate it in Indianapolis next Sunday.

“There is plenty of time to enjoy it. I have to say hello to all my family back home, and all the fans and the team – at Woking, Stuttgart and Brixworth to prepare the car.

“Going into Indy, I go there with great confidence, we have to try to continue with the performance we have.”

So a fantastic result for Lewis but the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix will be remembered mainly for the horrifying accident that befell Robert Kubica. The Pole is believed to have escaped only with a broken leg after a high-speed impact with the wall approaching the hairpin.

After the first Safety Car, the race resumed for only a brief period before Kubica clipped the back of Jarno Trulli’s Toyota while running flat out on the approaching to the hairpin. The BMW-Sauber ran wide onto the infield grass, got airborne over an access road and slammed into the inside wall, before rolling back across the track and coming to rest on its side in the hairpin run-off.

Kubica was carefully removed from the car and taken to the medical centre, where he was awake and alert. He was airlifted to hospital in Montreal for further checks, and subsequently diagnosed with a broken leg.

Hopefully Robert will make a full recovery, but it remains unclear when he will be back behind the wheel. My best wishes goes to him for surviving that nasty-looking crash on lap 27.

Hamilton’s win has moved him into the clear lead in drivers’ championship standings, eight points in front of McLaren’s team-mate Alonso. Felipe Massa is already 15 points behind in third.

The next race is the United States Grand Prix at the world’s famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Can Lewis score his second race victory or will Felipe, Fernando and Kimi strike back? We will find out in the next seven days!

Canadian Grand Prix result – 70 laps

1. HAMILTON McLaren 1h 44m11.292s
2. HEIDFELD BMW Sauber +4.343
3. WURZ Williams-Toyota +5.325
4. KOVALAINEN Renault +6.729
5. RAIKKONEN Ferrari +13.007
6. SATO Super Aguri-Honda +16.698
7. ALONSO McLaren-Mercedes +21.936
8. R. SCHUMACHER Toyota +22.888
9. WEBBER Red Bull-Renault +22.960
10. ROSBERG Williams-Toyota +23.984
11. DAVIDSON Super Aguri-Honda +24.318
12. BARRICHELLO Honda +30.439
R. TRULLI Toyota +12 laps
R. LIUZZI Toro Rosso-Ferrari +16 laps
R. MASSA Ferrari Disqualified
R. FISICHELLA Renault Disqualified
R. ALBERS Spyker-Ferrari +23 laps
R. COULTHARD Red Bull-Renault +34 laps
R. KUBICA BMW Sauber Accident
R. SUTIL Spyker-Ferrari +49 laps
R. SPEED Toro Rosso-Ferrari +62 laps
R. BUTTON Honda +70 laps

Fastest lap: ALONSO 1:16.367

Hamilton grabs first-ever pole in Montreal

Lewis Hamilton Canada

Rising Formula One star Lewis Hamilton takes his first pole position with a fantastic display in the qualifying session at Montreal, the scene of this year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver beat his world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso by four tenths of a second, setting a lap time of one minute, 15.707 seconds. The Spaniard tried to improve his time and was actually faster than Lewis in the first two sectors in his final run. But at the end of the lap, Fernando made a mistake at the fianl chicane and this resulted in second position.

BMW-Sauber Nick Heidfeld will start in an impressive third ahead of the Ferrari pair of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (fourth and fifth respectively). This performance from Heidfeld matches his best starting position since Melbourne.

Raikkonen and Massa were expected to set the pace but seem to struggle around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The Finn was a tenth quicker than the Brazilian, but both were seven tenths of a second behind leader Hamilton.

Mark Webber (Red Bull) and Nico Rosberg (Williams) continued their promising weekends by securing sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber team-mate Robert Kubica, and Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella.

Jarno Trulli completes the top ten for Toyota, which is a great recovery especially when you consider that the team suffered suspension dramas in the first practice sessions.

Back to the man of the moment, Lewis Hamilton who has hailed this result as a “fantastic day” after grabbing his maiden pole position.

This is an amazing achievement as this is only his sixth race in Formula One. With Hamilton leading team-mate Alonso, this is the British team’s second consecutive pole position of the season and its first in Canada since 1998.

“It has been a fantastic day and a fantastic weekend, the team have done a fantastic job,” said Hamilton. “It came down to this and had to pull it out at the last minute. It is not easy, especially when you have a two-time world champion hunting you down. I am very happy.

“For the final lap the car was sweet, the tyres were perfect and I had to pull it all out. The important thing was to be consistent.”

Hamilton, tied on points with his team-mate at the head of the championship standings, will be looking for his maiden victory in tomorrow’s race.

The rookie reckons it will be vital to arrive in the lead at the first corner.

“Tomorrow is going to be tough as always, but I have not been fortunate enough to start on pole (before),” the Briton added. “Tomorrow is a new experience for me, we have the car, the strategy and the team.

“I have to get to the first corner first and then after that we have to stay consistent.”

If Lewis does this without any incident and drive a fast and clean race, the British star could win his first ever Grand Prix. Now that would be a great result for Formula One!

Starting grid – Canadian Grand Prix

1. HAMILTON McLaren 1:15.707
2. ALONSO McLaren 1:16.163
3. HEIDFELD BMW 1:16.266
4. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:16.411
5. MASSA Ferrari 1:16.570
6. WEBBER Red Bull 1:16.913
7. ROSBERG Williams 1:16.919
8. KUBICA BMW 1:16.993
9. FISICHELLA Renault 1:17.229
10. TRULLI Toyota 1:17.747
11. SATO Super Aguri 1:16.743
12. LIUZZI Toro Rosso 1:16.760
13. BARRICHELLO Honda 1:17.116
14. COULTHARD Red Bull 1:17.304
15. BUTTON Honda 1:17.541
16. SPEED Toro Rosso 1:17.571
17. DAVIDSON Super Aguri 1:17.542
18. SCHUMACHER Toyota 1:17.634
19. WURZ Williams 1:17.806
20. SUTIL Spyker 1:18.089
21. ALBERS Spyker 1:18.536
22. KOVALAINEN Renault 1:19.196

Sixth day ends as Jack Bauer signs on for further 48 hours

Jack Bauer 24

Last night the final two hours of Jack Bauer’s sixth day came to an end and even though this season wasn’t the best despite an assassination attempt on President Wayne Palmer, a nuclear bomb going off in downtown Los Angeles and the introduction of Jack’s brother and father(!), this television drama still provides top entertainment and suspense.

I simply adore 24 and yes, you do get the occasional plot-twist that seems a bit over ambitions but the unique nature of the ‘real-time’ element with the stylish split-screen effects keeps me hook with every new episode.

And with the news that CTU Agent Jack Bauer (Emmy Award-winner actor Kiefer Sutherland) will be back into action with two more seasons – according to a report on CNN – then that’s great for fans of the show.

Though I really hope it retains its edge of proving good storylines and character development as season five and six are considered to be quite patchy…

Even the executive producer of 24, David Fury, revealed that the show’s quality suffered due to repetition. But I have high hopes that day 7 and 8 (plus the much anticipated movie) will return to good form and we will see the man who doesn’t go to sleep or take comfort breaks is back to kick some terrorists ass in the next two years!

Grönholm takes victory in Greece

Marcus Gronholm Rally Greece

Marcus Grönholm extends his championship lead to nine points over main rival Sébastien Loeb with victory in the Rally of Greece.

The Finn was left unchallenged throughout the event and was able to control his pace in the Ford WRC to maintain his advantage over the reigning world champion, who finished second for Citroen.

Loeb wasn’t entirely satisfied to finish behind the winner – due to the points gap between himself and Grönholm – but the Frenchman will be determined to fight back as the championship takes a two-month break before the next round.

As for Petter Solberg, the 2003 champion was delighted to finish on the podium, as for once both Subarus were on the pace with team-mate Chris Atkinson heading the times during the early stages of the rally.

Mikko Hirvonen had to settle for fourth after the Finn lost ground on day two due to a broken windscreen, while Henning Solberg made sure that there were three Fords in the top five.