Button takes pole at San Marino

Jenson Button today bagged the first pole position of his Formula One career at the San Marino Grand Prix.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Jenson Button will start Sunday's Formula One San Marino Grand Prix from pole position having clocked the fastest time in qualifying. The Briton posted a time of 1 minute 19.753 seconds during his qualifying run in his BAR Honda - the first driver to break into the 1:19s this weekend - 0.258 seconds ahead of six time world champion, Michael Schumacher. It could mark a turning point in his career - on Sunday he will be chasing his third consecutive podium finish. BMW's Juan Pablo Montoya could only manage third place, a further 0.2 seconds behind Michael. The Ferrari teammate of Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello slotted in at fourth place a further 0.24 seconds behind. The Brazilian will line up alongside Montoya and ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. BAR's first pole came before their 87th race after they entered Formula One in 1999. It's a momentous chance for the young Briton to challenge the omnipotence of Ferrari and Michael Schumacher, and he'll be seeking his third podium in a row on Sunday. Button has the opportunity to give engine-supplier Honda their first win for 12 years - the last man to do so for the Japanese giants being Ayrton Senna in a McLaren, whose death a decade ago at this circuit is being remembered by all racing fans. The pole is the first for the 24-year-old, whose last one came in British Formula Three in 1999 and his first in 70 races in F1. "I can't wait. Qualifying is one thing but winning the race is the race goal. It will be a little bit more tough than today's qualifying. But I'm looking forward to it. It's the first time in my formula one career that I start with no-one ahead of me. So it's all up to me now," Button said. Ferrari's Schumacher had been on pole for the first three races of the season which he went on to win, and has won the San Marino Grand Prix four times in the last five years. Schumacher was quicker than Button through the first sector but a wobble in the second cost him dearly. "Jenson put in a really good lap. It was all or nothing and I tried really hard and I just overdid it a little bit at the corner and was lucky to keep it on the circuit and lucky that it was good enough for second place and it should be an interesting race tomorrow," Michael Schumacher said. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya was third fastest in a Williams and shares the second row of the grid with Ferrari's Brazilian Rubens Barrichello. "I think we have a very good race car. I was lacking pace on new tyres and with the work we did it seemed to come to me a little bit. I'm very pleased to be honest. It's the first time I out qualified Ralf (Schumacher, teammate) here so it's good," said Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW Williams Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother who won at Imola in 2001 for Williams, was fifth quickest and starts alongside Renault's Spanish charger Fernando Alonso. BAR's Takuma Sato filled the fourth row with Australian Mark Webber in a Jaguar. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, yet to finish a race this season, will start from the back of the grid after suffering yet another engine problem. (AP)