Lewis Hamilton has taken his second pole position in succession at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in America. After a close battle with his team mate, much like in Montreal last weekend, Hamilton kept his McLaren in the sweet zone to edge out his Spanish rival. Fernando Alonso lines up second on the grid again, and with many accidents happening at turn one over the years, Alonso will need to keep a cool head if he is to have a fighting chance of victory tomorrow afternoon.
The Ferrari’s line up in third and fourth, with Felipe Massa again out-qualifying his team mate Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari’s appear to not be doing so well this weekend, and on-board footage of Massa shows the Brazilian chopping the steering wheel a fair bit just to get the front of the car into the corners. It could be a very long race for the red cars, particularly if Nick Heidfeld can jump one of them at the start.
The leading German driver this year is starting in fifth after displaying some superb pace all day in the BMW. And Kubica-replacement for this Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel – did well in his first Formula One qualifying event to finish in seventh. The BMW’s could spoil the Ferrari’s day if they can manage to stay out of trouble. Last year, Heidfeld ended up somersaulting over the gravel, so he’ll be looking to keep his nose clean this time around.
Both Renault’s don’t look great, although Heikki Kovalainen had a better run than Giancarlo Fisichella. The Finnish driver lines up sixth while his Italian team mate struggles back in eighth. Jarno Trulli again got the better of Ralf Schumacher, making it into Q3, although to give Ralf some credit, he lines up twelfth which is a considerable improvement over his recent back-of-the-grid antics.
Red Bull Racing are running with little wing to try and maintain a race pace that can contend with the others around them. David Coulthard was comfortably fastest in a straight line, topping out at 205mph before braking into turn one. Mark Webber even managed to squeeze into Q3 and ended his Saturday in seventh. If they have a good strategy, we could see Coulthard (in eleventh) make a few passes down into the tight right first corner.
Scuderia Toro Rosso and Super Aguri were the biggest disappointments, especially after Aguri’s fine form in Montreal. Anthony Davidson popped in some blinders over the course of the afternoon, but ultimately he ended up 16th while team mate Takuma Sato finished in 18th. Vitantonio Liuzzi could only manage 19th and local hero and Californian driver Scott Speed qualified in 20th at his home Grand Prix.
All eyes will be on McLaren though, when both drivers charge down to turn one tomorrow afternoon. As we saw earlier in the season, Lewis is not afraid to take a gamble on an unconventional line, and as we saw in Montreal, Alonso is feeling a little pressure from Lewis and can go off the tarmac when it all gets a bit too much. I’m sure Ron Dennis will be speaking to the pair of them this evening, and providing they can keep it altogether, it looks to be a relatively straight-forward race tomorrow. Unless, of course, a Ferrari gets a good start, or a BMW makes an awesome start…
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