Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kimi cruises to Istanbul pole as rivals falter 

McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen took pole position in a dramatic, incident-filled qualifying session for the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul.

The Finn produced a clean, error-free lap on a day when many of his rivals dropped the ball.

Giancarlo Fisichella drove superbly to snatch second on the grid ahead of Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso, while Juan Pablo Montoya overcame the handicap of an early running slot to qualify fourth.

Jenson Button looked set to challenge for pole but lost control of his BAR-Honda midway round his flying lap and will start an inauspicious 13th.

Montoya set the first serious benchmark but it initially looked like he would pay a heavy price for being only the fourth man out (a legacy of his retirement from the Hungarian Grand Prix).

The Colombian’s time of 1m27.352s was 0.6s slower than he went in free practice this morning – but it was a clean and tidy lap and that would prove to be a crucial virtue as driver after driver faltered.

The first to err was Jacques Villeneuve, who ran wide at the high-speed turn eight and, in trying to wrestle his Sauber back onto line, succeeded only in provoking a full-blooded spin.

Both BAR drivers fell foul of the same tricky, quadruple-apex corner and squandered one of their best recent chances of a strong grid position.

Takuma Sato understeered wide and ran across the asphalt ‘apron’ on the outside, but managed to scramble back onto the circuit and complete his lap – much to the chagrin of Mark Webber…

The Australian was fully committed to his hot lap when he arrived at turn nine to find the pits-bound Sato dawdling on the racing line, costing him several tenths of a second.

Sato was summoned to the stewards’ room to explain himself and it remains to be seen whether he will incur any penalty for impeding W"

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