F1: Lewis claims pole

Rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of his short career after holding off McLaren team-mate and world champion Fernando Alonso in qualifying for today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton claimed the first pole position of his short career after holding off McLaren team-mate and world champion Fernando Alonso in qualifying for today's Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal.

Hamilton, with a record five podium finishes in his first five races, turned in a time of 1:15.707 on the 4.361-kilometre Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, more than four-tenths of a second faster than Alonso in second as McLaren secured a one-two on the grid.

Ferrari's challenge to the drivers championship co-leaders hit a setback when BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld claimed third place on the grid with a time of 1:16.266, pushing Kimi Raikkonen into fourth with his time of 1:16.411 and Felipe Massa (1:16.570) to fifth.

Hamilton was understandably delighted with his maiden pole position after a superb session.

He said: "I feel fantastic, I've never felt so good, so I'm looking forward to the race.

"It's been a fantastic day. The team has done a fantastic job.

"We had to pull it out at the last minute and it's not easy, especially when you have a two-time world champion hunting you down.

"But I did it, I stayed strong today and I owe it to the team and I'm really happy with it. I was so chuffed when I came across the line and they told me I was P1 (in first place)."

Alonso, who will start the race from second in the grid, was in line to pip Hamilton to pole position after going faster than the Briton through the first two sectors of his final lap in qualifying. Then a mistake at the L'Epingle hairpin cost him dearly.

He said: "I was running a little bit off line and got some marbles in the tyre. I lost three-tenths in that corner and then there was no point to risk anything.

"I completed the lap safe enough to bring the car home and the first row will be enough for today and tomorrow I will have another chance to try and win the race."

Final Positions after Qualifying: 1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1mins 15.707secs, 2 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:16.163, 3 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:16.266, 4 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:16.411, 5 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 1:16.570, 6 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:16.913, 7 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:16.919, 8 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:16.993, 9 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:17.229, 10 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:17.747, 11 Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri 1:16.743, 12 Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:16.760, 13 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Honda 1:17.116, 14 David Coulthard (Gbr) Red Bull 1:17.304, 15 Jenson Button (Gbr) Honda 1:17.541, 16 Scott Speed (USA) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:17.571, 17 Anthony Davidson (Gbr) Super Aguri 1:17.542, 18 Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:17.634, 19 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) Renault 1:17.806, 20 Alexander Wurz (Aut) Williams 1:18.089, 21 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Spyker 1:18.536, 22 Christijan Albers (Ned) Spyker 1:19.196.

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