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After Bahrain
Championship Standings:
Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 68
2 Lewis Hamilton 61
3 Valtteri Bottas 38
4 Kimi Raikkonen 34
5 Max Verstappen 25
6 Daniel Ricciardo 22
7 Felipe Massa 16
8 Sergio Perez 14
9 Carlos Sainz 10
10 Romain Grosjean 4
11 Kevin Magnussen 4
12 Esteban Ocon 3
13 Nico Hulkenberg 2
14 Daniil Kvyat 2
15 Pascal Wehrlein 0
16 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
17 Jolyon Palmer 0
18 Stoffel Vandoorne 0
19 Fernando Alonso 0
20 Marcus Ericsson 0

Pos Team Points
1 Ferrari 102
2 Mercedes 99
3 Red Bull 47
4 Force India 17
5 Williams  16
6 Toro Rosso 12
7 Haas Ferrari 8
8 Renault 2
9 Sauber0
10 McLaren 0

All McLaren front row at wet Fuji track

as F1 returns to reworked Toyota track
Saturday, September 29, 2007


Lewis Hamilton

MT. FUJI, JAPAN - Lewis Hamilton took his fifth F1 pole position of the year at Mount Fuji on Saturday afternoon, by just 0.070s over his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso on a wet track. 

In Saturday’s difficult qualifying with a wet track and poor visibility, Lewis put in a time of 1m25.368. Fernando Alonso qualified second fastest with 1m25.438 and made it the fifth all Vodafone McLaren Mercedes front row of the year.

Most important about the pole for Hamilton is the physiological advantage he gains over Alonso who had the upper hand on the British rookie the last two races.  Just two points separate the two.

An all-red second row for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro behind an all-silver front row for McLaren-Mercedes on a day badly affected by the temperamental weather here in the shadow of Mount Fuji.

"A very good qualifying for me and also the team," said a happy Hamilton.  "I really like the Fuji circuit. We looked strong already yesterday during practice when it was dry. Obviously today’s wet conditions made it a very challenging session particularly as this morning’s free practice had been cancelled - this makes today’s result even more satisfying. The car ran perfectly, and the team has done a great job in making sure we were as prepared as possible. My final lap was quite good. I managed to improve my style in a couple of corners which made a difference but lost a little bit of time in the exit of the last corner. Today’s pole position is important, but tomorrow is when it counts."

Alonso in the wet

"Probably one of the most exciting qualifying sessions this season with Lewis and Fernando achieving the optimum result for the team in most difficult conditions when it is very easy to get it wrong," noted Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director.  "With a gap of seven hundredths of a second between these two, it was very close indeed. The fifth all Vodafone McLaren Mercedes front row and a total of seven pole positions is quite a good balance for this season. I expect a close fight for tomorrow’s race; however, we had fast and consistent laps in Friday’s free practice and a sound basis for the race tomorrow."

The past few days here near Japan’s highest and most famous mountain have been spent in warm and dry conditions, but rain began to fall during the night and by this morning, Mount Fuji and indeed much of the circuit was shrouded in mist and light drizzle. The morning free practice session was abandoned because of the poor conditions after just three drivers - Wurz, Rosberg and Trulli - had set a lap time.

Others did just a single installation lap, while Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen chose to stay in the warmth of his garage. Therefore the first ever qualifying session at the new Mount Fuji layout was a real step into the unknown, as it was run in permanent, if slightly improving, wet conditions, everyone running on both types of rain tire, "extreme" in the early stages and "wet" towards the end.

Some traffic and gearbox electrics causing a few headaches for Kimi Raikkonen and a handling imbalance for Felipe Massa on new tires in the crucial final stages is all it took in this closely fought session, for the Finn to take third and the Brazilian to take fourth place, behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton on pole and his teammate Fernando Alonso in second spot.

Fifth place went to the ever consistent Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber-BMW ahead of Nico Rosberg in the Williams-Toyota. However, the Finn will drop ten places on tomorrow’s grid, his car having required an engine change. This promotes the Honda of Jenson Button to the outside of the third row.

(L to R) Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso

Weather conditions are expected to be changeable again tomorrow, although not quite so bad as today’s with the possibility of a drier track than we saw this afternoon.

This could make for some interesting scenarios, as today, some drivers have chosen to sacrifice qualifying pace, in order to run with a car set-up that might better suit a dry track. In order to fit in better with European TV viewing habits, the 67 lap race will start at 13h30 local time.


Press Conference


1. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.368
2. Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren-Mercedes 1:25.438
3. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:25.516
4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:25.765
5. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:26.505
6. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:26.728
7. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:26.913
8. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:26.914
9. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.973
10. Robert Kubica Poland BMW 1:27.225
11. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:26.033
12. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:26.232
13. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:26.247
14. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:26.253
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:26.948
16. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota No Time
17. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:27.323
18. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:27.454
19. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:27.564
20. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:28.628
21. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.792
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.668

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