Raikkonen has it working in Germany
HOCKENHEIM, Germany -- Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in Saturday's qualifying for the German Grand Prix to gain his fourth pole position of the season.
His McLaren-Mercedes teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, spun out in the final curve before the home straight and crashed into the safety barrier.
Raikkonen has been plagued by engine trouble in recent races, but he dominated the practice sessions and confirmed his status as favorite by leaving the field far behind in qualifying.
He clocked the fastest lap time of 1 minute, 14.320 seconds on the 2.842-mile Hockenheim circuit, giving him his seventh career pole.
Jenson Button will also start from the front of the grid by finishing second in a BAR-Honda in 1:14.759.
Montoya, coming off winning the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, was the final driver in the qualifying and could have given McLaren another spot at the front. But his crash means he will now start Sunday's race from the pit lane.
Fernando Alonso, the Formula One series leader after 11-of-19 races, was third in his Renault in 1:14.904. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was fourth in 1:14.927.
A win Sunday would help second-placed Raikkonen close in on Alonso. Alonso has 77 points and Raikkonen 51, with 10 points going to the winner.
Raikkonen has never finished a German Grand Prix in four previous attempts.
The Finn suffered engine problems in practice for the races in France and Britain, and dropped 10 places down the grid following qualifying.
Raikkonen still managed to finish second in France and third in Britain, and did not lose a significant number of points to Alonso.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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