autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN   
Username:
Password:
LIVE COMMENTARY: 2008 SPANISH GRAND PRIX - FINAL PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Final Practice and Qualifying
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
08:30 Hello everyone, and welcome to autosport.com Live, as we continue to bring you blow-by-blow coverage from the fourth round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship – the Telefonica Spanish Grand Prix from the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona.

The series arrives in Europe this weekend, after three long-haul events in Australia, Malaysia, and most recently in Bahrain.

Today on autosport.com Live we will bring you coverage from the third and final practice session, and later on the qualifying session for tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix. The schedule looks like this:

08:30 - 09:00 The breakfast bar: Ease your way into Saturday with a look back over yesterday's action at the Circuit de Catalunya.
09:00 - 10:00 Live commentary and updates from the final practice session.
10:00 - 12:00 Continuing track updates, as well as weather status, and any breaking news from the circuit.
12:00 - 13:00 Live commentary and updates from the qualifying session.
13:00 - 13:30 End of day reaction and round-up, where we go from here, and what we can look forward to tomorrow.
13:30 Autosport.com Live commentary ends for today.

08:32 Two 90-minute practice sessions were on the menu yesterday, and were largely peaceful affairs. The morning session particularly started slowly, with little running in the first 30 minutes. Gradually the cars took to the circuit, and began their programmes of work. Friday is a day for testing car set-ups with the two types of tyre compounds available, and running with both high and low fuel, in preparation for Sunday's race.

Here are the autosport.com post-session reports, complete with classification lists from Friday's running:
Ferrari dominate practice 1 - Spain
Raikkonen stays on top in practice 2

08:36 The Formula One teams hit the track yesterday, on the back of a four-day test last week at the same circuit. However, testing is always different from the heat of a race weekend, and despite all that running last week, the teams and drivers had a lot to say about their own, and in some cases, other peoples' cars when asked about the practice sessions.

One leading paddock theory is that the test last week enjoyed excellent track rubber conditions after the Le Mans Series endurance race on April 6th, and this has since faded - leaving the circuit more slippery this weekend.

Fernando Alonso – never one to shy away from telling you just how it is – was typically candid about his prospects for the weekend, when speaking to reporters in the paddock on Friday afternoon.

"It's true that last season I arrive here with the possibility to win – this year it's not like that, and that's a little bit sad," Alonso said. "I hope to do a good race anyway to show everybody that I will do good for them."

Alonso was one of the fastest drivers during a busy Friday afternoon practice session, with a late lap that was set using soft tyres. He finished that session in third position, less than a tenth of a second behind pacesetter Kimi Raikkonen.

"Today we always see difficult results to understand, and we need to improve the car for tomorrow, we have some difficulties again on traction and under braking, so lets hope tomorrow we have a better balance."

The Renault R28 has been a difficult car to drive so far this season, but has scored points in Alonso's hands in the opening two rounds of the championship in Australia and Malaysia, where he finished a fine fourth in the former, and secured the final point in the latter. Bahrain was disappointing, though, with Alonso trailing home tenth – a full 22 seconds behind the final point-scorer.

Today both Alonso and teammate Nelson Piquet will aim to qualify the updated Renault in the top ten. Alonso will, however, start Saturday in a rebuilt chassis after the team cited "unforseen circumstances" in a request to the stewards to have a new car put through scrutineering.

08:42 Weatherwise we are set for another bright and sunny day at Montmelo. Clear skies are expected for the duration of the day, and a maximum air temperature of 23 degrees celcius.

08:46 We really want to hear your feedback. Let us know your thoughts on this new service. Good, bad or ugly - tell us about it here:
Bugs and Feedback - autosport.com Live

08:50 The Infobox has tabs of useful facts for your reference. Along with the track map, we have the current status of each driver's multi-race components, details of the tyre compounds in use and an overview of last year's lap times at the circuit.

08:52 A large crowd is already on hand at the Circuit de Catalunya. The general admission areas are packed with lots of fans soaking up the sun.

08:55 There are now five minutes to go until the start of the final practice session.

Sebastien Bourdais is already being strapped into his Toro Rosso in preparation for leaving the pitlane as soon as the session begins.

08:56 The track temperature is 27c this morning, with 21c ambient.

08:58 Sebastian Vettel moves towards his Toro Rosso and climbs aboard. He is strapped into the cockpit and he too is ready to go this morning.

09:00 The practice session is underway.

09:01 Straight away most of the cars come out onto the racetrack. The race weekend now begins in earnest in terms of car components, so installation laps are expected. We will watch to see if one or two drivers come through to begin a timed lap.

09:02 The teams have installed their multi-race engines and gearboxes overnight. These laps allow the mechanics to check over the cars before committing to some longer runs later in the session.

09:02 Into the pitlane the protagonists come at the end of the installation lap.

The Ferraris, Hondas and Red Bull cars have yet to venture out onto the circuit.

09:03 Fernando Alonso is on track with soft tyres on his Renault R28. The Spaniard comes round to huge cheers from the fans, and he pulls into the pitlane.

09:04 David Coulthard is coming out onto the track for his installation lap.

Teammate Mark Webber is already out there and he returns to the pitlane to have the systems on the car checked over.

09:05 Lewis Hamilton is standing in the back of the McLaren garage talking to Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug. Hamilton will hope he can get his car dialled into the circuit today and challenge for the front row of the grid in qualifying later.

09:06 David Coulthard returns to the pits at the end of his installation lap.

09:07 No cars currently on the racetrack.

Only Ferrari and Honda have yet to appear on track.

09:07 Nico Rosberg is told by his race engineer that they are doing normal installation checks and plan to go out again after 15 minutes of the session has elapsed. Rosberg responds that his cockpit padding is too sticky and he'd like the team to improve the way his helmet moves against the headrest.

09:09 Lewis Hamilton has wandered over to the McLaren pit gantry and he is in cheerful conversation with Ron Dennis and Mansour Ojjeh. It will be some time before Hamilton comes out onto the track.

09:10 Felipe Massa is sitting in his Ferarri, and is ready to go out should he be advised to do so by his race engineer Rob Smedley.

09:11 Meantime Jarno Trulli breaks the silence and joins the racetrack on hard tyres.

09:12 Jarno Trulli crosses the line and he will be the first driver to set a laptime today.

09:13 Trulli comes through and completes an uneventful lap to set a 1:24.638.

09:13 Only the Ferrari and Honda teams are yet to do an installation lap. Ferrari often forgo the traditional single lap followed by pit checks, and come out later on for a longer run.

09:14 Other drivers have now come out and joined the track. Among them are the two Honda cars with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at the wheel.

Nick Heidfeld beats Trulli's laptime with a 1:23.348.

09:15 Sebastien Bourdais, who had a troubled time yesterday moves into second position in the early stages of this session, with a lap of 1:24.008.

09:16 The early times are almost three seconds slower than the best from Friday - a 1:20.649 set by Kimi Raikkonen in the Friday morning session.

09:17 Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa are now on circuit in their Ferraris.

09:17 Jenson Button and teammate Rubens Barrichello didn't bother with the systems check, and came straight out of the garage and have set laptimes.

Button is currently fifth fastest with a 1:23.855, and Barrichello is nint on a 1:26.017.

09:18 Kimi Raikkonen puts his Ferrari straight to the top of the order with a 1:22.804.

09:19 David Coulthard climbs back into his Red Bull car, and he should join the track soon. As yet he has only completed an installation lap.

09:20 Rubens Barrichello goes second behind Kimi Raikkonnen with a time of 1:22.880.

09:20 Felipe Massa's first effort of the day is a 1:23.161 for sixth as McLaren's Lewis Hamilton heads out for a run.

09:20 Heikki Kovalainen is on track and setting a hot lap. In fact unseen by everyone he goes straight to the top of the timesheet with a time of 1:22.797.

09:21 Robert Kubica immediately jumps past Kovalainen for the top spot as the times continue to tumble.

09:22 Replay: Fernando Alonso brilliantly holds onto his Renault as he catches an arm full of oversteer at the exit of the high speed Campsa corner. He corrects the car beautifully and continues on his way.

09:23 Lewis Hamilton drops in seventh on his first timed lap of the day - a 1:22.938.

09:23 David Coulthard, Mark Webber and Nelson Piquet are the final three drivers to set laptimes this morning.

They are all on timed laps and will make a dent on the timing monitor shortly.

09:24 Hamilton winds up his McLaren on his second lap to go third on a 1:22.504. All the cars are running the harder tyre at this stage.

09:25 Nelson Piquet makes less than a dent and goes 18th fastest with a 1:24.843.

David Coulthard slots the Red Bull into 12th position on a 1:23.305, and Mark Webber ... aborts the lap and returns to the pitlane.

09:25 Fernando Alonso knocks Rubens Barrichello off the top of the timesheet to the delight of the local crowd. Its a 1:22.271 from the Renault.

09:26 We see Mark Webber's car now, stranded in the pitlane entrance. The marshals are covering the stopped car incident with a waved yellow flag in the pitls.

09:26 Nick Heidfeld now has the soft tyre on his BMW.

09:27 The Red Bull mechanics are now on their way down to retrieve the car of Mark Webber. He is on the right side of the white line whereby the mechanics will be allowed to touch the car, and he is now being wheeled towards the garage.

09:29 Replay of Nelson Piquet locking up his right front wheel on the downhill approach to turn one. The Brazilian couldn't quite get the Renault slowed for the corner and he was forced into an excursion over the run-off.

09:30 David Coulthard sets his best lap of the weekend in 1:22.068 to head the session at the mid-point. He had the harder tyre on his Red Bull.

09:31 Replay: Adrian Sutil spun a short time ago at turn 10. The Force India driver came down the back straight, hit the brakes for the slow left-hander and the rear wheels locked and the German spun. He continued on this current run of laps and is in 17th position with a laptime of 1:23.778.

09:33 We reach a low ebb in the session as the teams take time to analyse the data from their runs and decide what changes to make.

09:34 Down at Red Bull, the mechanics are looking into the airbox to investigate why Mark Webber stopped a short while ago.

09:36 Nico Rosberg has improved his time with hard tyres on his Williams. He's now seventh on a 1:22.709.

09:36 Replay: David Coulthard locked the rear tyres briefly on entry to turn ten. He has to correct the car which he does successfully, but then runs out of road and onto the extra tarmac area.

Coulthard pitted at the end of the lap, and currently remains in first place.

09:37 Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen has returned to the circuit with the harder Bridgestone on his wheel rims.

09:38 Barrichello, Hamilton, Kubica and Kovalainen have also joined the track.

09:39 Raikkonen's return to the circuit yields a 1:22.455, fourth quickest at the moment.

09:39 Robert Kubica pits in the BMW Sauber, he lies in seventh place in the standings.

09:40 Timo Glock is the first to blink as the soft tyre runs begin. Glock comes through and sets the second fastest time - 1:22.145.

09:40 Lewis Hamilton has also returned to the action. His first lap of this run was a 1:22.548, very similar to his current sixth-place time.

09:42 Heikki Kovalainen is looking to bounce back from a troubled Friday. He looked to be on for a quick time on hard tyres but lost some time in the final sector.

09:43 Replay: Lewis Hamilton runs widein the final sector of his latest lap which nets him no improvement in laptime. Lewis returns to the pits next time round.

09:44 News at Red Bull: Mark Webber has a throttle related problem, and is expected to take no further part in the final practice session.

09:44 Current session leader David Coulthard is back on circuit with hard tyres. He extends his best time to a 1:21.580.

09:47 Laps are still being completed on the harder tyre. The teams will give the soft tyre a go at the end of this hour, but with only the leading teams practicing fully fueled Qualifying laps, the times are often jumbled at the end of the session.

09:48 Replay: Sebastian Vettel runs wide at turn one and takes to the extra tarmac run-off area. The German driver continues but his lap is ruined. He is on the harder tyres.

09:50 There are now ten minutes remaining in the third and final practice session.

09:51 The track is going to be very busy in the closing minutes as almost everyone is currently in the pits fitting their soft tyres.

09:51 Replay: Rubens Barrichello spins at turn 10. It's a familiar story. Come down the straight, lock the rear tyres, lose grip, and spin onto the extra tarmac run-off area.

Barrichello rejoins without any damage and heads for the pits at the end of the lap.

09:52 Timo Glock is already lapping on the softs and has just improved his second place time to a 1:22.081.

09:53 Jarno Trulli also is running his Toyota on the soft tyre. He comes through and sets a laptime of 1:21.860 to go second.

09:53 Traffic is quite likely to be encountered in the final five minutes with almost all the field set to be on the track.

09:54 Robert Kubica goes second fastest and demotes Trulli with a laptime of 1:21.717 on the soft tyres.

09:55 Felipe Massa rolls his Ferrari out of the garage on softs as the sticky rubber test begins.

09:56 Nick Heidfeld is setting the timing monitor alight with a the fastest first sector of all so far in the session. He continues on his hot lap and sets a personal best time in the second sector. Heidfeld comes across the line to go fastest in the practice with a 1:21.269, using the hard tyre.

09:57 Soft tyre runs are underway as we dip under three minutes to go in the session.

09:58 Felipe Massa goes fifth with a 1:22.075 as the Ferrari team look at how their machine will go with the fuel onboard to start the race.

09:59 Sebastien Bourdais slots into fifth with a lap of 1:21.942 on soft tyres.

09:59 Kimi Raikkonen shakes out 11th with a 1:22.176.

10:00 The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

10:00 Home hero Fernando Alonso puts the Renault third on the list with a time of 1:21.599.

10:02 Fernando Alonso was going for a final laptime at the very end of the session, but caught traffic in the form of Anthony Davidson in the final complex of corners on the lap. Both drivers come into the pitlane.

10:02 The practice three timesheet once again ends with a jumbled order as leading runners practice Q3 form with fuel onboard while the mid-field look for their absolute quickest pace to try and make the Q3 session.

10:03 Nick Heidfeld ends the final practice session fastest of all in the BMW Sauber. David Coulthard was second quickest in the Red Bull, with Fernando Alonso third, just over three tenths of a second behind the pacesetter Heidfeld.

10:05 Lewis Hamilton climbs out of his McLaren and is straight into a short debrief with his race engineer Phil Prew and third driver Pedro de la Rosa is also in attendance.

10:05 Most drivers used the softer tyre to set their best lap of the session in the closing minutes. In contrast, Heidfeld clocked the leading time on hard tyres - suggesting that, for BMW at least, the two tyres are close in performance with the current circuit conditions.

10:07 Here is the autosport.com session report and classification:
Heidfeld leads practice 3 - Spain

"We've had a trouble-free weekend so far. We're pretty happy with the way the car is, and we think we'll be in good shape for qualifying. Some teams focus on Q3, and some others focus on Q1 and Q2. We've seen this every race so far - we are not too concerned. We know this is a very strong circuit for Felipe, so we'll see what happens in qualifying."
Chris Dyer - Ferrari

10:27 Fine and bright conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya continue.

The drivers are in the process of debriefing with their teams ahead of this afternoon's qualifying session. Set-ups need to be finalised now ahead of the session, and race strategies need to be sorted out.

Meanwhile on the track the entertainment continues. The Porsche Supercup cars are on the track for their qualifying session.

10:52 The Porsche Supercup cars continue their qualifying period. The brutish tin-tops strip some of the carefully-laid Formula One rubber from the circuit and spread dust and debris in the corners.

That is little concern to the Supercup drivers as they battle for pole on a very restricted tyre allocation. With under 20 minutes remaining in the session, Jan Seyffarth holds the provisional pole with a 1:50.190.

11:16 The Supercup qualifying session has ended with Jan Seyffarth holding on to his pole time set early in the session. The lack of new tyres often makes it difficult for drivers to improve in the latter half of the Supercup session.

Seyffarth will start on pole in Sunday's race from Martin Ragginger, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Danny Watts.

11:34 So we get ready for the qualifying session for tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix. Qualifying begins in around 25 minutes time.

Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber will all hope and expect to push for the front row of the grid, but who will secure pole position today?

Ferrari look to have a great shot at the front row today. Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa have both been fast throughout the weekend so far. BMW will be looking to out-qualify the McLaren Mercedes pair at the very least. Nick Heidfeld topped the times this morning in the final practice session, and he could be the man to take the challenge to Ferrari this afternoon.

McLaren appear to be struggling this weekend, and the pace of Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen could be one of the main talking points by the end of today.

11:40 Very little to report in terms of the weather. It is warm, sunny and there is only a light breeze.

11:52 There are now just under 10 minutes to go until the start of the qualifying session.

11:54 The teams are making final preparations. The cars are in parc ferme, allowing only limited modifications, once they head out of the pit lane in the first segment of qualifying.

11:57 The track temperature has risen to 38c. Winds have picked up very recently and are now blowing head-on up the main straight.

12:00 The qualifying period has started.

12:00 Seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher makes an apearrance in the Ferrari garage as the session begins.

Both Force India cars join the racetrack.

12:02 Sutil then Fisichella cross the line to start their first flying laps.

Oversteer held nicely by Sutil in turn three, the Renault corner.

12:02 Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen is looking to head out early in the session to bank a time.

12:03 The first laps are in progress for the drivers who are hoping to make it through to the next qualifying period.

Adrian Sutil comes across the line and sets the benchmark time with a 1:23.224.

12:03 Ten cars are now on the track to set their first times.

12:03 Giancarlo Fisichella comes through behind Sutil and is slower than his German teammate - 1:23.651.

12:04 Timo Glock is on the track and ready to set a time on soft tyres. Glock comes through and slots into second place on a 1:23.226.

12:05 We follow Sebastien Bourdais through the second half of the lap and his Toro Rosso looks horrible, oversteering everywhere but the Frenchman still is quick enough to take the fastest time so far - 1:22.803.

12:05 Kimi Raikkonen has backed off on his first attempt at a time and is preparing to set a time on his second flying lap.

12:06 The Williams pair of Nico Rosberg, and then Kazuki Nakajima go top of the pile.

Kimi Raikkonen could be about to demote them though as he's also on a timed lap.

12:06 Lewis Hamilton is now on the track with the hard tyre on his McLaren. The car has looked unhappy with sticking to the Spanish racetrack at times during the weekend.

12:07 Kimi Raikkonen now tops the timesheets with a 1:22.050 with hard tyres on his Ferrari.

12:08 Sebastian Vettel comes across the line and moves into sixth position, with a 1:23.004. The Toro Rosso driver will have to fight hard to make it through to the second qualifying period.

12:08 Hamilton immediately beats Raikkonen's time with a 1:21.366.

12:09 Kimi has continued for another flying lap, ever warming his tyres, and improves his lap time to 1:21.775.

12:10 Several drivers are playing poker in the session, and waiting until the track cleans up a bit. In the break between practice and this qualifying session, there has been a Porsche Supercup qualifying session, that will change the rubber on the track surface slightly, before the Formula One cars then put the grippier rubber back down again.

12:10 Expected front runners Massa, Heidfeld, Kubica and Kovalainen are yet to move from the garage.

12:11 Jenson Button comes straight out of the box into fourth position with a good lap - 1:22.229.

12:12 Massa, Heidfeld and Kubica are now out to secure their participation in Q2.

12:12 Fernando Alonso comes through Campsa on his qualifying lap and the Spanish fans rise to applaud him. He comes through to set the third fastest time so far - 1:21.895.

12:13 Felipe Massa is now on his first timed lap of the session on the hard tyre.

12:13 Team radio at Toyota.

Jarno Trulli says that his car is nervous in the wind, and he would like to go a click up on wing level. This will give him just a little more confidence to hit the throttle pedal through the constant radius corners here.

12:15 Massa puts his Ferrari up to second on a 1:21.614, almost three tenths down on Hamilton.

Heikki Kovalainen is only just rolling his McLaren out with five minutes of the session remaining.

12:15 Sebastien Bourdais is currently in the dropzone, but puts in a lap that slots him into sixth place with a time of 1:21.776.

12:16 Robert Kubica, fighting at the wheel of the BMW in the final chicane, puts in a 1:21.423 to go second.

12:17 Heikki Kovalainen takes the third quickest time with hard tyres on his McLaren, a 1:21.430.

12:17 Now that all drivers have put in a competitive laptime we can look at the bottom of the order, and see who needs to do what in the final few minutes of this first qualifying period.

Both Super Aguris, both Force India cars, Sebastian Vetel and Rubens Barrichello are all in the dropzone, and must improve their times to have any chance of progressing through to Q2.

12:18 Kimi Raikkonen has returned to the track and blown away the benchmark with a 1:20.701. Kimi is doing a lot of laps in this segment but now seems to have the feel of the circuit.

12:19 Nick Heidfeld encountered traffic on his first run and he is out again. The BMW is currently 12th and in danger of elimination.

12:20 The qualifying period has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

12:20 Sebastian Vettel is on soft tyres and on his hot lap. he Toro Rosso looks clean in the first sector of the lap and he is just inside the time he needs to make it through. I the all-important Campsa corner the German needs a confidence life of the gas pedal, but he is still inside the time he needs.

Over the line and Vettel moves into 14th - still in danger of being knocked out.

12:20 Vettel is bumped back into the dropzone. He is out of the session.

12:21 A swathe of cars are on improving laps to decide the final order.

Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet have improved to second and fifth, both using soft tyres.

12:21 Sebastien Bourdais makes it through to Q2, and David Coulthard is knocked out of the qualifying session.

12:21 Nick Heidfeld has secured a place in the second round with a ninth-place effort.

12:22 Eliminated drivers after the first part of qualifying:
17. Coulthard
18. Vettel
19. Fisichella
20. Sutil
21. Davidson
22. Sato

12:27 The wind direction has changed during the first segment and is likely to be referenced in the drivers' book of excuses in the post-session comments.

12:28 The qualifying period has started.

12:29 The drivers now wait and see who is the first to go out. It will be like the city centre during rush hour very soon as they all battle to make it through to the top ten shootout.

"I dropped a little bit in turn 12 but the big problem was I came out in a load of traffic. Unfortunately today it didn't work out."
David Coulthard

12:32 Fernando Alonso joins the racetrack, along with a whole host of other drivers. The crowd noise is amazing as Alonso comes round on his out-lap.

12:33 Alonso has the soft tyre on his Renault for this run.

12:34 Alonso comes round on his first lap in Q2. On soft tyres he is clean in the first sector of the lap. Clean as well up the hill through Campsa and onto the back straight. The car looks nice and neutral and he comes through and sets a 1:20.976.

12:34 Nelson Piquet slots in behind Alonso in second place with a 1:21.182, but Jarno Trulli beats both of them with a good laptime - 1:20.915.

12:34 Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are both on circuit with soft tyres.

12:36 Fast qualifying laps are being set all through the field at the moment.

All drivers with the exception of Alonso are on the racetrack.

12:36 Hamilton just pips Trulli for the best time in 1:20.825, which is immediately beaten by Kimi Raikkonen's 1:20.784.

12:37 Heiki Kovalainen in the sister McLaren can't make a fast lap, and after his first attempt is down in eighth place with a time of 1:21.226.

12:38 Robert Kubica now leads the session on a 1:20.597 using soft tyres. Heidfeld tried the hard rubber and could only set the 12th quickest time and will have to go again.

12:38 Nick Heidfeld comes over the line and is only 12th currently. 1:21.320 is all the German can manage so far.

It will come down to one final run for Nick. 3:30 remaining.

12:39 Another man under threat is Felipe Massa. His 1:21.232 has him currently eliminated from Q3.

12:39 Team radio at BMW Sauber.

Nick Heidfeld's race engineer tells him to stay in the pitlane, i.e. do not get ready to come into the garage. Heidfeld is sent back out now onto the track.

12:41 All cars from Lewis Hamilton in third down to Sebastien Bourdais in 16th are out on the circuit for another attempt.

12:41 The final attempts in the second qualifying period are underway now.

Sebastien Bourdais made a mistake and has aborted his lap. He is out of the session.

12:42 The qualifying period has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

12:42 Nico Rosberg comes through and does not make it through to the final part of qualifying.

12:43 Fernando Alonso goes fourth and secures a spot in the top ten.

12:43 Felipe Massa comfortably moves in to Q3 with the quickest time of the segment - 1:20.584. McLaren's Kovalainen and BMW's Heidfeld are also safe.

12:43 Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello have also both been eliminated in their Honda cars.

12:44 It is a strong performance from the revised Renault in today's session. Both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet will take part in the top-ten shootout.

12:44 Eliminated drivers after the second period of qualifying:

11. Barrichello
12. Nakajima
13. Button
14. Glock
15. Rosberg
16. Bourdais

12:46 It has not been a good session for the Williams team. Both drivers have been eliminated, with Nakajima 12th and Rosberg 15th on the grid.

12:46 Nico Rosberg climbs out of his Williams and wanders over to the Williams pitwall to speak with the engineers after failing to make it through to the final part of qualifying. Nico has qualified in 15th position for tomorrow's race.

12:49 Just a minute to go before the final period.

12:50 The qualifying period has started.

12:52 Jarno Trulli is the first driver to join the track. No other drivers have joined him yet.

12:53 With a tight Q2 order at the front, it looks like almost any of the cars taking part could take the pole position, depending on how much race fuel they have now put in the tanks.

12:54 Trulli comes across the line and starts his qualifying lap. He makes a small mistake at turn 10 but otherwise the lap is clean and Jarno comes through with a time of 1:23.393.

12:54 Lewis Hamilton is making his first shot at the pole on hard tyres, as is his team-mate Kovalainen.

12:56 The McLarens cross the line with Lewis taking an early best lap of 1:22.379 and Kovalainen slots in behind with a 1:22.911.

12:56 Mark Webber flashes across the line and moves into third place, but immediately several other drivers demote him.

12:56 Felipe Massa stakes a strong claim on the pole with a 1:22.058, over three tenths quicker on Hamilton.

12:56 Fernando Alonso puts in a stunning laptime to go third fastest after the first round of laps, with a 1:22.433.

12:57 Kimi Raikkonen ends his first run a disappointing fourth, behind his team-mate, Hamilton and Alonso.

12:58 The cars stream into the pits for new tyres. The softer option is popular for this final effort.

12:58 The drivers have two attempts at a qualifying laptime in this final short session. The drivers now come into the pits, take on one final set of tyres and are now coming back out again on their outlaps, in preparation for the last chance effort.

12:58 Ferrari added two clicks of front wing to fight understeer on Kimi Raikkonen's car.

12:59 Lewis Hamilton is into his second effort, this time with soft rubber.

12:59 The order is Massa, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Kubica going into this final run.

13:00 The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

13:00 Lewis Hamilton improved his time to take a provisional second, as the Ferraris and Alonso look set to challenge ...

13:00 Fernando Alonso is flying in the Renault on his last lap and sets a very fast first sector time. The Spaniard playing at home comes through sector two and is the fastest of all!

Alonso crosses the line and goes ...provisional pole!

13:01 Kimi Raikkonen devastates the local fans as he grabs pole for Ferrari.

13:02 Fernando Alonso put in a wonderful lap and the noise around the circuit is incredible. The Spaniard is the story of the day, and it's Raikkonen versus Alonso at the start for tomorrow's race.

13:03 Robert Kubica put his BMW up to fourth in the final scramble, sliding Hamilton down to fifth on the grid.

13:04 It is Kimi's 15th pole position, the 197th for Ferrari.

13:04 So Kimi Raikkonen secures pole position for tomorrow's Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. Fernando Alonso was pipped by just a tenth of a second.

Felipe Massa ended up third in the second Ferrari, and Robert Kubica will start alongside him in fourth.

13:05 McLaren had the difficult day that many of us expected. Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow's race. Hamilton fifth, Kovalainen sixth.

13:05 Mark Webber qualified seventh for Red Bull, and Toyota's Jarno Trulli will start alongside him.

13:07 Nick Heidfeld has had a disaster in the final period of qualifying, and will line up only ninth tomorrow, with Nelson Piquet ends up tenth, and will arrive back at a jubiliant Renault garage, on the day that Alonso so nearly pulled off the shock of the season so far.

13:12 The top three drivers are currently giving their thoughts in the press conference. Meanwhile a stunned and shocked Lewis Hamilton is standing in the paddock trying to work out where the time went.

13:13 Lewis Hamilton says that he is very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying.

McLaren will hope that their race strategy enables both Hamilton and Kovalainen to move up and challenge the top four drivers tomorrow.

"I think we'll have to wait until tomorrow, you've really got to be disciplined and have a good race strategy. We would have liked to have been further up the grid, but we're equally very happy with our strategy. It's extremely close, and one or two laps of fuel can make a complete difference on the first six to eight people, so we have to wait until tomorrow."
Ron Dennis, Mclaren Mercedes

13:24 Here is the autosport.com report and session classification:
Raikkonen snatches Spain pole from Alonso

"In the last run we didn't do a good job, basically. We've still got a strong strategy and tomorrow I think we'll have a good race."
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes

13:26 As our live coverage draws to a close, stick with autosport.com for all the news and reaction to today's qualifying result.

The site will also have a full report on the opening round of the GP2 series and discussion of today's events will continue in the forums.

13:29 Kimi Raikkonen takes pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, but all eyes will be on former World Champion Fernando Alonso, who has put his resurgent Renault on the front row of the grid.

Thank you for joining us on autosport.com Live for today's action. The weather page will update later with a full raceday forecast.

Tomorrow we will be back for raceday at the Circuit de Catalunya. We will be live four hours before the start of the Grand Prix, and will have morning track and weather updates, as well as news stories and predictions for the race.

Please join us tomorrow from 08:00 GMT.

  OVERVIEW QUALIFYING  
Session length 60 minutes
  Time remaining
 
 
 View official live timing
  CURRENT WEATHER
Clear skies High Temp: 23°C / 73°F
Track: Dry
  INFOBOX
Loading info ...
  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 21 Apr Start GMT
 Weather Forecasts and Reports 15:00
Friday 25 Apr
 Friday Practice 07:30
Saturday 26 Apr
 Final Practice and Qualifying 08:30
Sunday 27 Apr
 Raceday at the Circuit de Catalunya 08:00
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

Bugs and Feedback