McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton has successfully gained his very first pole position in his Formula One career at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today. Following a close battle with Fernando Alonso for the entire qualifying session, a minor error from the double World Champion gave young Lewis his maiden pole, much to the delight of team boss Ron Dennis, Lewis’ father Anthony, and of courses, Lewis himself.
Qualifying session one saw a red flag just six minutes in as Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen overcooked it into a corner and clipped the wall. The rear wing was destroyed and the back right tyre barely managed to stay on has the Finn cruised back to the pits. Having shards of carbon fibre all over the circuit, Charlie Whiting threw the red flag for a few minutes to allow the marshals to safely remove the dangerous debris.
This interruption, however, allowed David Coulthard to join qualifying. Going into Q1, it seemed Coulthard wouldn’t be able to take part with his brakes in several pieces over the garage floor. However, with a solution found to the problem, the mechanics managed to get the Scot out in time. Sensationally, DC even managed to get into Q2 with a sturdy lap from the experienced driver.
Ralf Schumacher had a disaster first qualy, failing to get into the second phase and ending his Saturday in 18th position. Toyota will surely be drafting that contract for Nakajima this evening.
Qualifying two kicked off with more trips across the kerbs and grass, with many drivers missing the final chicane and straight-lining the corner. This session saw David Coulthard miss the cut, along with Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello showed some signs of improvement, and on-board footage of Button’s Honda gave the impression that the Brit was feeling much more comfortable in the car. However, while improvements have been made, they couldn’t manage to get past the second installment, and they finished in 13th for Rubens and 15th for Jenson. Lewis Hamilton posted the first sub 1m16.000s lap which team mate Fernando Alonso could not match.
The final shoot-out was only really between the two McLaren drivers, such is the pace they have over their rivals. The two ran well all the hour, and the silver arrows look imperious as they toured to first and second on the grid. The Ferrari’s are on their back foot as Kimi looked good for third and Felipe for fourth. But on his last lap, Nick Heidfeld nailed a fantastic lap to put himself into third, and demote the Ferrari’s down by one place each. Both Scuderia drivers will have their work cut out tomorrow if they intend to win.
Mark Webber has run well all weekend so far, and he managed to pop his Red Bull into sixth. Feeling much faster than David, Mark capitalised on the confidence he has found and is looking very well for a strong finish tomorrow. Nico Rosberg placed his Williams in seventh, just ahead of Robert Kubica in eighth and Giancarlo Fisichella in ninth. Jarno Trulli rounds off the top ten, markedly better than his team mate in 18th.
But all the stories and reports from qualifying will be centred around the rookie driver Lewis Hamilton, as he smashes records for consecutive podiums for a new driver, jointly leads the drivers champion on points (Alonso is actually leading on back positions) and looks so comfortable behind the wheel of his McLaren.
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