|Kimi Raikkonen storms to pole position in his 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
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 tires.
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 dishonor of last on the grid to his teammate Takuma Sato.