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After Russia
Championship Standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 291
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4 Valtteri Bottas 145
5 Sebastian Vettel 143
6 Fernando Alonso 141
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3 Daniel Ricciardo 3

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5 Force India 1

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4 Valtteri Bottas 929
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6 Nico Hulkenberg 894
7 Fernando Alonso 884
8 Nico Rosberg 881
Barcelona: Raikkonen puts Ferrari on pole

Formula 1
Saturday, April 26, 2008

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Kimi Raikkonen storms to pole position in his Ferrari
Ferrari
Much to the chagrin of the Spanish fans, Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen narrowly beat Spanish hero Fernando Alonso to capture the pole position for Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Felipe Massa had to settle for third on the grid in the second Ferrari after holding provisional pole following the early laps in qualifying session 3.  Meanwhile, the McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen ended up only fifth and sixth for McLaren, both clearly lacking the input of Alonso who last year helped propel McLaren to the top.

The home crowd seemed set to celebrate a shock pole position for Alonso who has struggled all year in the Renault, only for Raikkonen to improve by a second on his final lap and beat Alonso to pole by 0.091 seconds.  However, rest assured that Alonso was on a heavy fuel load and Alonso a light load.  Alonso said that his best hope for Sunday was seventh position, which was the same as saying that he has a light fuel load.

Robert Kubica was 4th in his BMW, but teammate Nick Heidfeld could only manage ninth in the second BMW, half a second slower than Kubica.

Kovalainen was sixth, ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Toyota driver Jarno Trulli.

Team-by-team summary: Saturday, Spain

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.

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RENAULT
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.

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BMW-SAUBER
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.

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MCLAREN-MERCEDES
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.

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RED BULL-RENAULT
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 tires.

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TOYOTA
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.

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HONDA
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.

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WILLIAMS-TOYOTA
Kazuki Nakajima was actually delighted to outqualify his highly rated teammate Nico Rosberg, but Williams insists that missing the Q3 cut is "unsatisfactory".

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TORO ROSSO-FERRARI
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.

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FORCE INDIA-FERRARI
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.

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SUPER AGURI-HONDA
Anthony Davidson did well to be just a tenth behind Sutil, conferring the dishonor of last on the grid to his teammate Takuma Sato.

Race Lineup

POS

DRIVER NATIONALITY TEAM TIME
1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:21.813
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:21.904
3. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:22.058
4. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:22.065
5. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.096
6. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.231
7. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:22.429
8. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:22.529
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:22.542
10. Nelson Piquet Brazil Renault 1:22.699
11. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:21.049
12. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:21.117
13. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:21.211
14. Timo Glock Germany Toyota 1:21.230
15. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:21.349
16. Sebastien Bourdais France Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:21.724
17. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:21.810
18. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:22.108
19. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Force India-Ferrari 1:22.516
20. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Ferrari 1:23.224
21. Anthony Davidson Super Super Aguri-Honda 1:23.318
22. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:23.496

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