F1: Alonso grabs pole position

World champion Fernando Alonso will start the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position after setting the fastest time in qualifying today.

World champion Fernando Alonso will start the Chinese Grand Prix from pole position after setting the fastest time in qualifying today.

The Spaniard cranked up the pressure on rival Michael Schumacher in the battle for this year's title after the German could only finish sixth.

Alonso will line up alongside Giancarlo Fisichella in an all-Renault front row as the 25-year-old seeks to successfully defend his title ahead of Ferrari's Schumacher, who trails by two points in the battle for the drivers' crown. The seven-time world champion had a disappointing drive in the wet conditions in Shanghai and will start the race from the third row.

Schumacher had been in impressive form in practice, but struggled when it mattered.

Felipe Massa, Schumacher's Ferrari team mate, set the 13th-fastest time of the season but will line up at the back of the grid after incurring a 10-place penalty for changing his engine yesterday.

Rubens Barrichello will start third and Honda team-mate Jenson Button fourth.

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