Hamilton tops the timesheets when it matters most

16/06/2007
NEWS STORY

Ahead of today's all-important qualifying session the air temperature is 34 degrees C, while the track temperature is 56 degrees. It remains warm and sunny.

World Champion Fernando Alonso has been the pace-setter in every session thus far, however, his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton, not to mention Ferrari and BMW haven't been too far behind.

The lights go green but it is almost two minutes before a car heads down the pitlane, it's David Coulthard. Sutil, Albers and Davidson soon follow.

The Scot posts the first time of the session, crossing the line at 13.837, despite locking up at a couple of turns. Moments later Albers posts 14.597 to go second.

On his second flying lap, Coulthard posts 13.424, as Schumacher goes second ahead of Webber, Liuzzi and Speed.

As Raikkonen leaves the pits fellow-Finn Heikki Kovalainen goes quickest with a 12.998. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella goes second.

All but Kovalainen, Coulthard and Albers are on track, as Hamilton takes the top spot with a 12.563. Rosberg goes third and Button fifth.

Alonso, Massa and Raikkonen are all on hot laps. As the Finn goes second, Alonso goes quickest in the second sector, finally crossing the line at 12.416 to go to the top of the timesheets. Heidfeld goes fifth and Vettel sixth.

With just over four minutes remaining, Barrichello is in the danger zone as are the Spykers and Super Aguris. Meanwhile, Heidfeld goes quickest in the second sector, crossing the line at 12.543 to go second. Teammate Vettel goes fourth, ahead of Massa and Raikkonen.

Further misery for Honda as Button appears to have suffered a technical problem when leaving the weighbridge. The Englishman is tenth, but could still be bumped down.

Davidson goes ninth, and immediately shed a small piece of bodywork from his car.

Though Button does get out of the pits in time, Coulthard spins off on to the grass.

The chequered flag is out, but the 16 drivers on track still have time to improve. One of these is Barrichello who goes twelfth.

The first phase ends with Wurz missing the cut along with Sato, Liuzzi, Speed, Sutil and Albers.

Alonso was quickest, ahead of Heidfeld, Hamilton, Vettel, Massa, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Kovalainen, Rosberg and Davidson.

The Red Bull and Honda drivers will have to pull out all the stops if they are to make it to the third phase.

The lights go green and the second phase gets underway, however, as usual there is no rush to get things going.

Finally, after a three minute 'delay', Anthony Davidson heads down the pitlane, followed by Trulli, Coulthard and Schumacher.

Davidson posts the benchmark, crossing the line at 13.378, however, this is almost instantly beaten by Trulli, who posts 13.179.

A 12.897 sees Coulthard go quickest, but all eyes are on Hamilton, who goes quickest in the first sector. Webber goes quickest, but Hamilton is still on his hot lap, finally crossing the line at 12.065 to take top spot from the Australian. Kovalainen goes fourth and Fisichella fifth.

Raikkonen goes second (12.611), as Massa goes quickest in the second sector. The Brazilian crosses the line at 12.180 to go second.

Alonso on a hot lap, as are Vettel and Kubica. The Spaniard goes quickest in the first sector as Rosberg goes seventh. At the line the World Champion posts 11.926 to take the top spot, as Heidfeld takes fourth and Vettel seventh.

Just over four minutes remaining, and the Hondas, Toyotas and Renault are still in danger, as are Rosberg and Davidson.

A poor final sector appears to seal Davidson's fate, as all but Alonso, Hamilton, Massa and Heidfeld hit the track. Just under two minutes remaining.

Raikkonen goes quickest in the final sector but it is on his out lap. Everyone is going quicker than before turning the timing screen green… this is going to be close.

Kovalainen goes fifth, but is demoted when Raikkonen goes third. Vettel goes eighth, slotting in behind Fisichella. Webber scrapes through at the death, but no such luck for teammate Coulthard, whose day's work is over.

Therefore at the second phase we lose Coulthard, Schumacher, Rosberg, Davidson and both Hondas.

Quickest was Alonso, ahead of Hamilton, Raikkonen, Massa, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Fisichella, Vettel, Webber and Trulli.

As in Canada, Hamilton heads the queue at the end of the pitlane as we wait for phase three to get underway. Vettel and Alonso are the last to go out.

Hamilton posts the first time of the phase, crossing the line at 13.089. Robert Doornbos watches from the Red Bull garage.

The fuel burn phase continues, the ten drivers maintaining the same steady pace.

Trulli is the first to pit, followed by Vettel. Next time around, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Massa and Webber all stop.

While Heidfeld and Raikkonen switch to the softer compound, the Renault remain on the harder option.

Massa goes quickest in the first sector, as Heidfeld goes quickest in the second. The Brazilian goes quickest (12.703) as the German goes second (12.847). Raikkonen then splits the two, going second, but all eyes are on the McLarens.

Alonso goes quickest with a 12.500, but this is beaten by his teammate who posts 12.385. Massa is third ahead of Raikkonen, Heidfeld and Vettel.

The final round of pits stops begin, as battle resumes. In the rush to get back on track there all sorts of shenanigans in the pitlane.

Vettel posts a personal best in the second sector but remains sixth. However, teammate Heidfeld is on a hot lap and looks set to leapfrog Raikkonen. Yet he doesn't.

Hamilton improves with a 12.331 thereby consolidating his position, and taking his second successive pole position. Alonso takes second, ahead of Massa, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Vettel, Trulli, Webber and Fisichella.

Not quite as scintillating as thought it might be, while Hamilton topped the timesheets in the session that really mattered.

Having secured pole, one has to assume that Lewis is on the verge of taking his second successive win also. However, Alonso has looked good all weekend, and is sure to be fired up by some of the nonsense we've heard and read this weekend.

We wouldn't be against a McLaren 1-2 tomorrow, then again, we all saw what happened last week, and over the years Indianapolis has thrown up a few surprises.

Despite qualifying third and fourth, Ferrari just don't seem convincing, unlike BMW.

To check out our Indianapolis qualifying gallery, click here

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Published: 16/06/2007
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