Championship leader Jenson Button, in a Brawn GP, grabbed pole position for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix at the end of the qualifying sessions. The Brit already has won three of the four races this season.
AFP - Championship leader Jenson Button of Britain, in a Brawn GP, grabbed pole position for the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix with a dramatic last-gasp final lap in a thrilling qualifying session.
Button, who has won three of the four races this year, clocked a time of 1min 20.527sec in the third qualifying session to claim the number one spot on the grid ahead of German Sebastian Vettel, in a Red Bull.
As fellow Briton and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton failed to make the last 10 cut for the third qualifying session Button's third pole so far this year proved that he and Brawn remain the outfit to beat in Sunday's 66-laps race at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Vettel, 21, who has emerged this season as a champion of the future, was second ahead of Button's Brawn team-mate veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello and his compatriot Felipe Massa of Ferrari.
Massa's Ferrari team-mate Finn Kimi Raikkonen made a shock early exit when he was knocked out in the first part of the session .
Australian Mark Webber was fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of German Timo Glock and his Toyota team-mate Italian Jarno Trulli.
Two-times champion Fernando Alonso of Spain was eighth for Renault ahead of German Nico Rosberg in a Williams and Poland's Robert Kubica in a BMW Sauber.
The session began in warm hazy sunshine with an air temperartue of 23 degrees and a track temperature of 36, conditions that were unlikely to cause serious problems to any of the teams.
German Nick Heidfeld was one of the first out in his Toyota as he required an installation lap to check out a new nose on the car following his accident in the morning's final free practice session.
Once the session began in earnest after a slow start, Trulli was soon on top for Toyota but the real action was saved for the final runs and a dramatic result - with the loss of Ferrari's Finn Kimi Raikkonen who failed to make the cut from the first of the three qualifying sessions.
Raikkonen said: "It is really disappointing because the car is in good shape - it doesn't matter whose fault it is."
He was joined in the knocked-out list of early flops by fellow-Finn Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren and three of the usual suspects, Frenchman Sebastien Bourdais of Toro Rosso and the two Force India men German Adrian Sutil and Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella.
Kovalainen, a victim of a huge accident in last year's Spanish race, said he felt unable to push hard in driving his car.
"I just didn't have the grip I needed and I had no confidence to push it whatsoever," he said.
A spokesman for Ferrari said they had 'miscalculated' Raikkonen's lap and performance in relation to the competition. He said they thought the Finn was safe. Ironically, Massa was fastest in Q1 in 1:20.484 ahead of Vettel.
The second mini-session, Q2, began with Swiss Sebastien Bemi spinning out on turn nine in his Toro Rosso while sister team Red Bull showed their wings with Australian Mark Webber fastest ahead of Vettel.
Barrichello in his Brawn then swept to the top and Glock for Toyota took third place, split by Webber, ahead of Massa, as the flag dropped to end Q2 with Hamilton this time failing to make the cut to Q3 and the top ten shootout.
Hamilton was 14th fastest and he was joined in the list of drop-outs by Japanese Kazuki Nakajima of Williams, Brazilian Nelson Piquet of Renault, Heidfeld and Buemi.
"We did our best," said Hamilton. "But the laps weren't fantastic and we hoped to do better, but it is a long race. I hope I can get a point."
Date created : 2009-05-09