Hamilton claims pole in Valencia

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The Independent Online

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first pole position of the season as McLaren locked out the front row for tomorrow's European Grand Prix in Valencia.

The Briton, fresh from winning his first race of the season last time out in Hungary, posted a time of one minute 38.498 seconds to beat team-mate Heikki Kovalainen to top spot by less than a tenth of a second.

Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello claimed third place having led the way in Q2, although the Brazilian fared better than team-mate and championship leader Jenson Button, who took fifth.

Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel salvaged fourth place from what had been a difficult two days of practice, although his team-mate - and Button's nearest title challenger - Mark Webber, was ninth.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen took sixth on the starting grid ahead of Williams' Nico Rosberg. Home favourite Fernando Alonso will be disappointed with eighth place for Renault while BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica completed the top 10.

Leading Grid Positions after Qualifying:

1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1min 39.498secs, 2 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:39.532, 3 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Brawn GP 1:39.563, 4 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 1:39.789, 5 Jenson Button (Gbr) Brawn GP 1:39.821, 6 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:40.144, 7 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:40.185, 8 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:40.236, 9 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:40.239, 10 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:40.512, 11 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:38.826, 12 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1:38.846, 13 Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:38.991, 14 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Renault 1:39.040, 15 Sebastien Buemi (Swi) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:39.514, 16 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India 1:39.531, 17 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams 1:39.795, 18 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:39.807, 19 Jaime Alguersuari (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:39.925, 20 Luca Badoer (Ita) Ferrari 1:41.413