LIVE: British Grand Prix qualifying.

By Peter Carline for MailOnline


1403: It's Kovalainen on pole, Webber second in a breathtaking finish to qualifying. Raikkonen and Hamilton share the second row of the grid, promising an interesting start to tomorrow's race. Heidfeld is fifth, Alonso sixth, while his Renault team-mate Piquet is seventh. Vettel grabbed a creditable eighth, while the Ferrari of Massa is a lowly ninth, with Kubica completing the top ten.

1402: But Kovalainen sensationally delivers his first pole. Tremendous stuff.

1401: Hamilton misses out on pole, but incredible scenes as Webber snatches pole.

1400: Hamilton's fastest in the first sector. But Raikkonen steals pole with a 1:21.7.

1359: Gusty conditions greet the drivers. Hamilton was the fastest in the first two sectors before his drive into the gravel. A minute to go...

1358: It's Kovalainen, Raikkonen, Alonso, Heidfeld, Massa, Webber, Nelson Piquet Jnr. Hamilton's back in eighth.

1355: Raikkonen goers first, but it's not a quick lap. Hamilton flies off the track, and that's costly. But teammate Kovalainen snatches provisional pole.

1352: Hamilton goes out on soft tyres, aiming to grab pole following a disastrous couple of races.

1347: It looks like a battle between the McLarens, as the Woking-based team seem to be the cars to beat at Silverstone. Ferrari are languishing behind, and it'll take something special from Raikkonen and Massa to snatch pole. Honourable mentions to the likeable Mark Webber and 'quick' Nick Heidfeld.

1344: As it stands before the top ten shootout...

1: L Hamilton (McLaren)

2: H Kovalainen (McLaren)

3: M Webber (Red Bull)

4: R Kubica (BMW)

5: N Heidfeld (BMW)

6: K Raikkonen (Ferrari)

7: F Alonso (Renault)

8: F Massa (Ferrari)

1342: Coulthard, Glock, Bourdais, Trulli and Kazuki Nakajima are the men to drop out after Q2.

1341: Felipe Massa comes through in seventh, as Coulthard misses out by five one hundredths of a second in eleventh. Splendid lap from Mark Webber in third, while Raikkonen is sixth.

1338: Sebastian Bourdais, Timo Glock, Jarno Trulli and David Coulthard are in the danger zone, with two minutes remaining.

1337: Robert Kubica fastest in both first and middle sectors, but the Pole finishes third behind the McLarens.

1335: Jenson Button's not sounding too disheartened, hoping to prey on tomorrow's 'difficult' conditions.

1334: Kimi Raikkonen sets the fastest lap, but both McLarens are faster as Kovalainen improves his time by four tenths. Hamilton - on the harder tyre - goes quicker still on 1.19.537

1332: Fernando Alonso is flying round the Silverstone track. And he'll need to be, as McLaren, Ferrari and BMW look tasty.

1330: Incredible lap from Sebastian Vettel in the Toro Rosso, as Heikki Kovalainen grabs provisional pole. Lewis Hamilton is second as Jenson Button is eliminated from final qualifying for the third year in a row.

1. H Kovalainen (McLaren)

2. L Hamilton (McLaren)

3. S Vettel (Toro Rosso)

4. K Raikkonen (Ferrari)

5. R Kubica (BMW)

6. S Bourdais (Toro Rosso)

7. F Massa (Ferrari)

8. D Coulthard (Red Bull)

Renault driver Fernando Alonso powered to the top of the timesheets in today's third practice session ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The two-time world champion set a time of one minute 20.740 seconds to edge out
Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber by a little over two tenths of a second in a session that started on a wet track before an emerging drying line saw the times tumble in the final minutes.

McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen completed the top three with a time of 1min21.266secs, the Finn, as he was yesterday, quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a low-key fifth.

alonso

Renault driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car during free practice at Silverstone

On an unpredictable British Grand Prix weekend that has seen the future of the race secured to 2019, David Coulthard announce his retirement, Hamilton accept and then back down on a triathlon challenge and Max Mosley declare the sport "unsustainable", it was only a matter of time before the British weather took centre stage.

A torrential downpour early this morning left standing water on the Silverstone circuit but mercifully the clouds dispersed and the sun was allowed to burn off some of the moisture as third practice drew ever closer.

Hamilton - on intermediate tyres - was one of the first to venture out on a twitchy reconnaissance lap in the McLaren before diving back into the pits.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli - back in action after a rear wing failure cut short his second practice runs yesterday - set the session's first flying lap, some 19 seconds slower than Felipe Massa's quickest time yesterday as the drivers scrabbled for grip.

The session sprang into life with just over 15 minutes remaining when BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld became the first driver to take a chance on dry weather tyres, the German posting a series of quick laps that stung the rest of the field into life and quickly saw the times begin to tumble.

The Ferraris appeared subdued down in ninth and 12th, reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen ahead of championship leader Massa for the first time this weekend. Massa, quickest overall yesterday, was some 1.7 seconds off the best time set by Alonso today.

British fans

British fans at Silverstone

Toro Rosso's impressive weekend continued as both of their drivers made it into the top 10. Sebastian Vettel was strong in each of yesterday's practice sessions and again showed the potential of the car with fourth place, while team-mate Sebastien Bourdais was seventh.

Webber's performance at the sharp end was in stark contrast to that of team-mate Coulthard, who spent much of the session with his car up on the jack in the Red Bull Racing garage and was unable to benefit from any dry running, his six completed laps all coming in the wet.

Honda's Jenson Button, meanwhile, had to settle for 11th place although his seventh in yesterday's second practice session will give him hope of improved performance in what is shaping up to be an unpredictable qualifying session this afternoon.

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