Schumi takes pole in Austrian GP

Michael Schumacher got his 3rd straight pole and has a chance to gain the lead in F1 point standings from Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Michael Schumacher has a chance to gain the lead in the Formula One point standings from fellow front-row starter Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix. Schumacher edged Raikkonen in qualifying Saturday for his third straight pole. The five-time world champion has won the last two races to trail Raikkonen by only four points in the driver standings. On a warm day in the Austrian countryside, Schumacher timed 1 minute, 9.150 seconds on the 4.326-kilometre A1-Ring after trailing Raikkonen's times through the first two sectors. Raikkonen clocked 1:09.189. "I am very happy with this pole position," said Schumacher, who punched the air in his car after he learned his time. "Seeing how close the times were, this result is very satisfying". Raikkonen finished on the podium in the first four races of the season, and then crashed into a Jaguar at the start of the last race at Barcelona after starting from the back. Juan Pablo Montoya took third in a Williams-BMW in 1:09.391, and Nick Heidfeld in a Sauber was fourth in 1:09.725. Rubens Barrichello took fifth in the other Ferrari in 1:09.784. This weekend's race is the last in Austria as Formula One expands to include countries like Bahrain and China. Austria lost its place on the F1 circuit after the European Union banned tobacco advertising in sporting events beginning in 2005, instead of 2006 as previously agreed with FIA, the sport's world governing body. (AP)