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Rubens On Pole At Silverstone

Despite being one of the first cars onto the track today, Rubens Barrichello lapped Silverstone at a great pace to stop the clocks at 1 21 209 and claim his second pole position of the year.

'It was a magnificent lap from Rubens and only a small mistake from Michael cost him a better position so we are very happy with the car's performance,' said Mike Copson of Shell Global Solutions. 'Ferrari tested 4,300 kms last week and we worked closely with the team for every single one of them! It is good to see the results of that testing come to fruition so effectively.'

Having failed to finish their flying laps yesterday, Justin Wilson and Rubens Barrichello were the first two drivers out this afternoon. Wilson in the Minardi managed a time of 1.25.468, but his effort was soon eclipsed by an excellent performance from Rubens Barrichello whose 1.21.209 would remain the fastest time for the rest of the session.

Lying second in the Championship and having finished 12th yesterday, Kimi Raikkonen was also out fairly early in the session but he still could not beat the Ferrari's time. His team mate, David Coulthard was to fare no better, eventually ending up outside the top ten.

Mid-way thought the session and Jenson Button hit the kerb at the exit of the Becketts corner as he accelerated out onto the straight. The resultant damage forced his car into retirement and he did not record a time.

With five cars to go, the top five was Barrichello, Trulli, Raikkonen, Da Matta and Villeneuve.

Strangely, the top three was not to change. Olivier Panis was the first of the remaining quintet to attack. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, his lap was not good enough and he crossed the line in 9th place. Whilst Fernando Alonso, the fourth place runner did not get pole either, his time of 1.22.404 was good enough for 5th.

Winner of the last two races, Ralf Schumacher and his team mate Juan Pablo Montoya were the next two out. Ralf's time of 1.21.727 was good for 4th and Montoya's 1.22.214 put him 6th.

That left only World Champion Michael Schumacher to try and displace his team mate at the top of the grid. At the first intermediate, he was 0.006 faster but he made a mistake and went wide at the Abbey corner which cost him dearly, giving the German a time of 1.21.867 and fifth spot on the grid.

So the British Grand Prix has an interesting grid. Rubens Barrichello is on pole position alongside Jarno Trulli. Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher are on row two ahead of Michael Schumacher and Da Matta.

Three different manufacturers on the front three spots of the grid and the winner of the past two races close behind in fourth. It will be interesting to see how the team's strategies come into play when the lights go out tomorrow afternoon.