McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton will start his home race on pole position after beating Kimi Raikkonen in the final moments during an exciting hour of qualifying at the British Grand Prix.
Initially, Hamilton’s team-mate Fernando Alonso set the quickest lap around the former RAF airfield with a time of one minute, 20.147 seconds. The Spaniard set the benchmark with the harder Bridgestone tyres.
Then French Grand Prix winner Raikkonen came speeding out of Luffield, only to run wide at Woodcote… This little mistake costs the Finn the forward momentum in his Ferrari, but his efforts was still good enough to beat Alonso’s time with one minute, 20.099 seconds. At least the Iceman was ahead of his team-mate, Felipe Massa, who lines up in fourth with one minute, 20.265 seconds.
It all looked over, but Lewis was only halfway around his final qualifying lap and in the second split, was even quicker than Kimi! As the 22-year-old crossed the start/finish line in front of tens of hundreds of his home crowd, the world championship leader pulled a remarkable save with a sensational pole position.
His time of one minute, 19.997 seconds means Lewis has an advantage going into first-ever British Grand Prix. Behind the tense Ferrari versus McLaren battle came the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica with a surprising Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota (fifth and sixth respectively).
Lining up on the fourth row are the Renault drivers, with Heikki Kovalainen out-qualifying his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella by five hundredths of a second.
And rounding up the top ten is BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, and Schumacher’s team-mate Jarno Trulli.
What about the other British drivers – how did David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson fared in today’s qualifying session?
Well, DC was happy enough to sign a new contract with Red Bull Racing for 2008 and the popular Scot will line up in twelve, one place behind his team-mate Mark Webber.
As for Jenson Button, he had a disastrous qualifying session for his home Grand Prix. Jenson only managed 18th on the grid after encountering traffic and yellow flags. In fact this was caused by his Honda B-team colleague Anthony Davidson, who strangely lost control of his Super Aguri between Brooklands and Luffield and ending up in the gravel…
Right, the stage is set for an exciting British Grand Prix of recent times. Any of the top four drivers has a strong chance of victory, but all of the crowd’s expectation resting firmly on Hamilton’s young shoulders. Every time that he has started from pole this year, he has won. So the signs are looking positive and providing he doesn’t make any mistakes during a frantic 60-lap Grand Prix, Lewis could extend his lead in the drivers’ standings and edge closer to winning that ultimate prize, the 2007 title.
Starting grid for the 2007 British Grand Prix:
1. HAMILTON McLaren 1:19.997
2. RAIKKONEN Ferrari 1:20.099
3. ALONSO McLaren 1:20.147
4. MASSA Ferrari 1:20.265
5. KUBICA BMW 1:20.401
6. SCHUMACHER Toyota 1:20.516
7. KOVALAINEN Renault 1:20.721
8. FISICHELLA Renault 1:20.775
9. HEIDFELD BMW 1:20.894
10. TRULLI Toyota 1:21.240
11. WEBBER Red Bull 1:20.235
12. COULTHARD Red Bull 1:20.329
13. WURZ Williams 1:20.350
14. BARRICHELLO Honda 1:20.364
15. SPEED Toro Rosso 1:20.515
16. LIUZZI Toro Rosso 1:20.823
17. ROSBERG Williams 1:21.219
18. BUTTON Honda 1:21.335
19. DAVIDSON Super Aguri 1:21.448
20. SUTIL Spyker 1:22.019
21. SATO Super Aguri 1:22.045
22. ALBERS Spyker 1:22.589