Magny-ficent Kimi takes pole position | india | Hindustan Times
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Magny-ficent Kimi takes pole position

Defending drivers world champion Kimi Raikkonen lived up to his promise on Saturday when he claimed pole position for Ferrari for Sunday's French Grand Prix.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2008 22:43 IST

Defending drivers world champion Kimi Raikkonen lived up to his promise on Saturday when he claimed pole position for Ferrari for Sunday's French Grand Prix.

The 28-year-old Finn clocked a best time of one minute and 16.449 seconds to outpace his nearest rival and team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa by just 0.041 seconds, the pair making sure it was an all-Ferrari front row.

Briton Lewis Hamilton was third-fastest for McLaren Mercedes, but he will be relegated 10 places to 13th on the grid as a punishment for his crash in the pitlane where he ignored a red light at the Canadian GP.

Spaniard Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest for Renault, a result that means the double world champion will start third with Italian Jarno Trulli alongside him.

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Finn Heikki Kovalainen was sixth and will start fifth ahead of Pole Robert Kubica, the championship leader, in his BMW Sauber, Australian Mark Webber and his team-mate Briton David Coulthard, and German Timo Glock who completed the top ten fastest times for Toyota. The pole was the 16th of Raikkonen's career and gives him a great chance of bouncing back in the drivers' championship in which he is currently fourth behind Kubica, Hamilton and Massa.

After a warm morning, the afternoon qualifying session began under blue skies with the temperature rising to 27 degrees Celsius in the air and 45 degrees on the track.

The first part-session saw the elimination of Adrian Sutil and his Force India team-mate Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, who will fill the back row of the grid, behind the two Hondas of Briton Jenson Button and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.

Also knocked out was Japanese Kazuki Nakajima of Williams who will start from 16th on the grid.

The second mini-session saw the departure from the fray of Nakajima's team-mate Nico Rosberg, meaning that the rear three rows were in pairs of Williams, Honda and Force India.