Raikkonen seizes pole from Schumacher
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen dashed Michael Schumacher's hopes of pole position on Saturday for what could be the Ferrari great's Italian GP farewell.india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 22:07 IST
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen dashed Michael Schumacher's hopes of pole position on Saturday for what could be the Ferrari great's Italian Grand Prix farewell.
The Finn, widely expected to be announced as Schumacher's successor at the Italian glamour team after Sunday's race, pipped the seven-times champion by just 0.002 seconds in the Monza sunshine.
Schumacher, 12 points behind Renault's Fernando Alonso in the championship battle with four races remaining, lines up alongside on the front row.
Spaniard Alonso qualified only fifth fastest after a tyre drama that threatened to leave the 25-year-old champion even further down the grid.
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was third and shares the second row with Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa, winner of the last race in Turkey.
Alonso suffered a rear right tyre failure during the final session, limping back to the pits with the clock ticking down before roaring back out to cross the line for his final flying lap just one second before the chequered flag.
Raikkonen's third pole of the season, and 11th of his career, left the Finn with a hope at least of giving McLaren a first win of the year.
"It was very close but the car has been pretty good all weekend," he said.
"It wasn't a clean lap, there was quite a big moment at Ascari, but it was quick enough for pole. I think we have a good race car.
"I think it will come down to tyres, which tyre will last better," he added.
Schumacher's disappointment was tempered by Alonso's position, well behind and with Massa to act as a buffer.
"The car is going very well," said the German, whose future should be clarified after the race when Ferrari announce their 2007 driver line-up.
"It's a comfortable position to be in...it would have been nice to be on pole here in our home grand prix but more important is what we may try and achieve tomorrow."