Barrichello on pole for Japanese GP

Barrichello on pole for Japanese GP

Rubens Barrichello will start the final race of the season from pole position, qualifying 1:31.713 in Saturday's session for the Japanese Grand Prix. Rain caused a few problems for the drivers and championship rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Michael ...

Rubens Barrichello will start the final race of the season from pole position, qualifying 1:31.713 in Saturday's session for the Japanese Grand Prix. Rain caused a few problems for the drivers and championship rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher qualified eighth and fourteenth respectively.

Rubens Barrichello.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.

Minardi's Nicolas Kiesa started the proceedings with a 1:37.266 as a few spots of rain were falling. Teammate Jos Verstappen managed over two seconds quicker and next man out, Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella, scraped by with six thousandths better than Verstappen. Fisichella was followed by teammate Ralph Firman, who improved on the Italian by a tenth.

Jenson Button was the first BAR out and took provisional pole with a 1:33.474. Justin Wilson put his Jaguar into second on his flyer and Toyota's Cristiano da Matta put in a great lap for pole, 1:32.419. Teammate Olivier Panis was similarly on the pace and posted second behind the Brazilian.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was the first Sauber on track and ran wide over the kerbs but it was good enough to slot in behind Button. Takuma Sato appeared to fight the BAR all the way and was a couple of thousandths down on Frentzen. Nick Heidfeld beat teammate Heinz-Harald by two tenths.

The second Jaguar of Mark Webber took to the track as rain started to fall again and posted third fastest. Juan Pablo Montoya was the first of the front runners and took provisional pole from da Matta with a 1:32.412, just seven thousandths up. Barrichello was over half a second up on the Williams, 1:31.713 for the Ferrari driver.

Renault's Fernando Alonso took fifth on his flyer and Raikkonen was the first of the last group. The Finn damaged his race car in practice and took David Coulthard's car for the qualifying session, as his own couldn't be repaired in time. Coulthard was relegated to the spare.

Raikkonen struggled on the damp track and posted seventh but was demoted by Coulthard taking over the slot on his flyer. Michael Schumacher also struggled and finished a lowly fourteenth.

Ralf Schumacher fared even worse, spinning onto the astro turf at the last corner in the wet conditions and he returned to the pits without setting a time. Last man of the day, Jarno Trulli, who was fastest in Friday qualifying, also did not set a time, Renault deciding to abort his lap due to the rain.

An interesting scenario for tomorrow's race, with Raikkonen, who needs to win, and Michael eighth and fourteenth. The German just needs the one point and Raikkonen needs his rival to not score at all. If the weather persists in being contrary, anything could happen but the Bridgestone runners will presumably fare better. Final top eight classification: Barrichello, Montoya, da Matta, Panis, Alonso, Webber, Coulthard, Raikkonen.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams , Minardi , Jordan