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Hamilton on Pole at Chinese F1 Grand Prix
    2008-10-18 16:12:21     Xinhua

McLaren Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain gestures after he finished first during the qualifying session for Sunday's Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai Circuit Oct. 18, 2008. Hamilton took the first with 1 minute 36.303 seconds. [Photo: Xinhua]

McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday ahead of Ferrari rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

Britain's Hamilton, who can become Formula One's youngest champion this weekend, put in a flying last lap in final qualifying to head the grid in a time of one minute 36.303 seconds.

The 23-year-old McLaren Mercedes star delivered the fastest time in the dying seconds of a close-fought qualifying session to pip Ferrari's outgoing champion Kimi Raikkonen and title rival Felipe Massa.

It was Hamilton's seventh pole this season and the 13th of his career as he targets the drivers' championship, which he allowed to slip through his fingers despite an even more commanding lead at this stage of the season last year.

With just the Chinese and Brazilian legs to go, Hamilton needs only six points here to wrap up the trophy provided Robert Kubica, the only other title contender, does not win.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalaien was only fifth ahead of Australian Mark Webber in a Red Bull. Webber has to drop 10 places because of an engine change on his car in the morning.


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