Raikkonen heads Ferrari front row

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F1 Grand Prix, GP France, Circuit Nevers Magny-Coursfr

Kimi Raikkonen added another pole position to his tally, holding off teammate Massa and confirming the usual competitiveness of Ferrari at the French circuit. Lewis Hamilton is third while Renault's Fernando Alonso will please the team's fans with the fourth fastest time.

This qualifying session is held under sunny skies and with 27°C ambient. The track surface itself is 46°C , an important factor at Magny-Cours as the surface is very different grip-wise when it is hot or cool.

First out in Q1 is Bourdais, running with an updated STR3 that has performed well so far in the free practices. Some drivers are apparently opting to make three runs, while others only do one in this first session. When the time stops, Massa is on top, ahead of his Ferrari teammate. A tad bit slower are Hamilton, Kubica and Alonso.

Meanwhile, Nick Heidfeld is struggling hard to get into Q2. He completed 3 laps on prime tires and repeatedly set the 18th fastest time. In a last attempt, the BMW Sauber team fits his car with option tires which eventually help him to get through to Q2 with a 12th fastest time. The five drivers that failed to qualify include both Honda's, both Force India cars and Kazuki Nakajima.

Also noteworthy is Heikki Kovalainen who seriously hampered Webber and Heidfeld as he slowly completed his inlap.

As soon as Q2 is underway, Bourdais is out again, quickly followed by all drivers who are still in the running. One minutes from the end of the session, both Ferraris are ahead, followed by Alonso, Hamilton and Webber. Both BMW Saubers are in the danger zone and will be making another attempt.

In these final seconds, Trulli puts his car in third place. Coulthard and Piquet eventually improve on Heidfeld, knocking him out of qualifying. Kubica just managed to qualify for Q3, in spite of Piquet who just fall out as 11th. Heidfeld is 12th while Vettel, Bourdais and Rosberg are also out.

We therefore have 2 Ferraris, 2 McLarens, both Toyotas, the Red Bulls, one Renault of Alonso and one BMW of Kubica competing in Q3.

The first to attempt a quick lap is Timo Glock who renders his lap useless after going wide in turn 7. One lap later Trulli also messes up his attempt as he spins only a bit further down on the track.

Massa on the other hand does a fine job but is topped by Raikkonen. Alonso is third while Hamilton is only 6th, also due to an error in turn 7.

The second attempts were a bit less eventful and didn't change a lot, except for Hamilton and Trulli completing a lap without errors. Kimi Raikkonen didn't even complete his final lap as it was obviously not good enough to improve, possibly also knowing that he would be on pole anyway.


1K. RäikkönenFerrari1:16.449
2F. MassaFerrari1:16.490
3L. HamiltonMcLaren1:16.693
4F. AlonsoRenault1:16.840
5J. TrulliToyota1:16.840
6H. KovalainenMcLaren1:16.944
7R. KubicaBmw1:17.037
8M. WebberRed Bull1:17.233
9D. CoulthardRed Bull1:17.426
10T. GlockToyota1:17.596
11N. Piquet jr.Renault1:15.770
12N. HeidfeldBmw1:15.786
13S. VettelScuderia Toro Rosso1:15.816
14S. BourdaisScuderia Toro Rosso1:16.045
15N. RosbergWilliams1:16.235
16K. NakajimaWilliams1:16.243
17J. ButtonHonda1:16.306
18R. BarrichelloHonda1:16.330
19G. FisichellaForce India F11:16.971
20A. SutilForce India F11:17.053