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Hamilton bests Ferrari drivers, Alonso for pole

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lewis Hamilton outran Fernando Alonso
and Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen on Saturday to
win his second pole in a row at the United States Grand Prix.

"Getting my second pole is even better than last week," said
Hamilton, the first black driver in F1 history. "When the team
told me I had P1, I again screamed in my helmet and just through
the whole lap. I was just extremely ecstatic."

After Massa and Raikkonen took the top two spots briefly with
about 4 minutes to go in the 15-minute final qualifying session,
Alonso jumped to the top with a lap of 1 minute, 13.500 seconds.

Seconds later, Hamilton took the top spot at 1:13.385 and stayed
out front to the end, posting a final lap of 1:13.331 to wrap up
his second F1 pole in only his seventh try.

The pole was unexpected since Alonso had been faster than
Hamilton in two days of practice, but Hamilton, who keeps
one-upping himself, said it was just hard work paying off.

"I was quite surprised [to win the pole], to be honest, mainly
because it's my first time here," the young Englishman said. "I
haven't really been performing as good as Fernando has. But, going
into qualifying, just throughout the whole weekend I'm always
trying to find that little bit more, little bit more. And each time
I go out I improve and improve."

"Experience is everything here. The more I get out on the
track, the faster I get."

That's bad news for both his teammate, whom he leads by eight
points in the season standings, and Massa and Raikkonen, who hope
to challenge the McLaren drivers on Sunday.

Alonso, who moved from Renault to McLaren over the winter, has
raced here four times, with last year's fifth his best finish.
But, even after losing the pole to Hamilton, the Spaniard remained
upbeat heading into the race.

"Yeah, it's been a good weekend for me, no doubt. I was fastest
in every session but not the important one," he said "But being
fastest all weekend gives me a lot of confidence for tomorrow. ...
I think for tomorrow we can have a strong race and I'm totally
confident."

Massa, second to then-teammate Schumacher last year, and
Raikkonen, who took over Schumacher's vacated seat at Ferrari, will
start right behind the McLarens in row two.

After a disappointing race in Canada, where Massa was
disqualified for running a red light in the pits and Raikkonen
finished fifth, both remain hopeful Ferrari can regain its Indy
dominance.

"We are better than we were in Canada," said Massa, who like
Alonso has two victories this season. "For sure, we are a bit
closer [to McLaren], but not enough. We need to be in front, not
close.
"We have some ideas, you know, in the car, in the aerodynamics,
in the engine just to improve the situation. But we need to do [it]
as quick as possible. Starting in the second row is not a disaster,
but we know McLaren is going to be strong in the race, as they have
been in every session. We'll just have to fight."