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Button hits top speed to take pole

CHAMPIONSHIP leader Jenson Button was fastest in qualifying yesterday to take pole position for Formula One's Spanish Grand Prix.

The Brawn GP driver took his third pole of the season with a record Circuit de Catalunya track time of 1 minute, 20.527 seconds.

"I got the lap on the high fuel so I'm very happy," said Button, who is looking to become the ninth straight pole sitter to win the Spanish GP. "I just got to hope I can stay there on turn one."

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel will start second, while Brawn GP's Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa of Ferrari will fill the second row.

Mark Webber of Red Bull will start fifth ahead of Toyota pair Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli. Renault's Fernando Alonso starts eighth.

Defending F1 champion Lewis Hamilton of McLaren was just 14th while Kimi Raikkonen will start 16th after Ferrari mistakenly left him in the garage thinking his time would get him out of the first qualifying session.

Button leads with 31 points followed by Barrichello (19) and Vettel (18).

Vettel was disappointed not to pick up his second pole of the season but said he can still fight for the victory.

"We have a very strong car, and also this weekend it seems to work very well," said Vettel, who won in China.

Coming into the first of nine European races, most cars featured important upgrades which made for an intriguing qualifying session.

Ferrari's new aerodynamics package put it back in touch with the leaders after picking up only three points from the first four races for its worst-ever start to a season.

Button said that Ferrari had the KERS system and its extra overtaking boost left Massa in the hunt for a first victory this season. "I don't think anyone's gone that much faster than the Ferrari. They're quick. I think we have the legs on them but they're closing quickly and I'm surprised."

But another pit lane miscalculation left Raikkonen out of contention, just as in Malaysia when Ferrari made the same error with Massa.

Raikkonen, whose last victory came here in 2008, watched from the garage as Trulli knocked him out of contention after a practice session that saw Raikkonen trail only Massa's time.

Hamilton was also fast in practice but had another disappointing qualifying session, along with teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who starts 17th.

BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld will start 13th after mechanics repaired his front left suspension, which was damaged in final practice.


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