Hamilton takes pole at Canadian GP

Updated: 15 June 2008 18:10 IST

Lewis Hamilton took McLaren on pole position in the Canadian Grand Prix to continue his fine streak in Montreal.


Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton put his McLaren on pole position for Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix after pipping BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica with the last lap of qualifying on Saturday.

Polish driver Kubica looked to have grabbed a stunning pole with a late lap of one minute 18.498 seconds at the same Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where he suffered the worst crash of his career last year.

But Hamilton, who took his first grand prix win from pole position as a 22-year-old rookie in Montreal last June, produced a blistering one minute 17.886 lap with his final effort.

On a track which was already breaking up alarmingly in qualifying, Ferrari's world champion Kimi Raikkonen will start third on the grid with Renault's Spaniard Fernando Alonso alongside.

Germany's Nico Rosberg qualified fifth for Williams and Brazilian Felipe Massa sixth in his Ferrari.

Hamilton was quickest in all three phases of qualifying, picking up just his second pole this season and the Briton said he had felt in the right mood.

''I've felt comfortable since yesterday (Friday) in the car. This morning was tricky for everyone, with the track quite slippery but we remained positive and kept car the same.

''Then in qualifying I felt at home. The team did a great job in the early stages of each qualifying session. The first lap was a shocker as I nearly went wide at turn one, the last one was good - similar to last year,'' he said.

Hamilton, the Monaco winner who leads Raikkonen by three points after six races, said he was surprised that he was able to find so much extra speed on his final lap.

''I had a feeling that Kimi was hunting me down so he would have beaten my time, so I knew I had to stick it up there. I found six or seven tenths on that lap which is incredible,'' he said.

The pole was the Briton's eighth from 24 starts. Despite another impressive performance, and two second place finishes this season already, Kubica was not optimistic of his chances of taking BMW Sauber's first win.

''Looking at practice, Ferrari and McLaren have the better pace and unfortunately I am starting on the wrong side of the track but I will do my best, he said.

''It is one of my favourite tracks but I think we don't have the pace to win here.''

Raikkonen was frustrated that the track conditions had hampered his efforts in qualifying but said the time difference between him and Hamilton - over a second in the third session - wasn't a real reflection of the speed of the two cars.

''I don't see the difference as one second in normal conditions,'' said the Finn.

''We have been fast, we have a good car all weekend, it was just a shame we couldn't use it as we wanted. In the race though we should have a good speed,'' he said.

Topics : Formula 1 Lewis Hamilton
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