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August 23, 2009

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Hamilton takes pole position in Valencia

FORMULA One world champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed his first pole position of the season at the European Grand Prix yesterday in an all-McLaren front row.

The 24-year-old, winner of the previous race in Hungary, took his 14th career pole ahead of Finnish teammate Heikki Kovalainen on a sizzling afternoon in Valencia with air temperatures of 31 degrees Celsius.

The Briton last occupied the front of the grid slot in China last October.

"It's great to know that we can continue with the momentum of the last race," said Hamilton, whose title hopes have long evaporated after starting the season with a woeful car.

Brawn GP's championship leader Jenson Button qualified fifth, with closest title rival Mark Webber back in ninth place for Red Bull but two other title contenders ahead of him.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who is fourth overall for Brawn, qualified third and shared the second row with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel whose car had suffered a dramatic engine failure during the final practice session.

Button is 18.5 points clear of Australian Webber and 23 clear of Vettel with seven races remaining. Barrichello is a further three behind.

Ferrari stand-in Luca Badoer, returning after a 10-year absence for injured Brazilian Felipe Massa, qualified last while teammate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth.


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