Brazilian GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

ALONSO CLINCHES MICHELIN'S 98TH F1 POLE World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault) will have the best seat in the house at start of tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix - Michelin's 16th pole position of the season and its 98th in...

ALONSO CLINCHES MICHELIN'S 98TH F1 POLE

World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault) will have the best seat in the house at start of tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix - Michelin's 16th pole position of the season and its 98th in Formula One. The Spaniard lapped the 4.309-kilometre (2.677-mile) Interlagos track in 1m 11.988s, 0.157s clear of Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin).

Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda), title contender Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) and Red Bull driver Christian Klien, who equalled the best qualifying performance of his grand prix career, completed an all-Michelin top six.

Title rivals Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin) and Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) were fastest in this morning's final free practice sessions. The Finn lapped in 1m 11.929s, 0.181s quicker than the world championship leader.

Räikkönen compromised his qualifying lap when he locked up under braking for the first corner - a mistake that cost him more than half a second.

Already penalised 10 places on the grid, after causing "an avoidable accident" in the previous race at Spa, Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin has been docked another 10 positions in the wake of an unscheduled engine change. The Japanese driver chose not to complete a flying qualifying lap.

Jarno Trulli (Toyota/Michelin) also faces a 10-position grid penalty after having a fresh engine fitted following this morning's final free practice session. He will line up 18th.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"This has been another very satisfying session for us. Our tyres have worked very well, as they have all season in a wide variety of conditions, and things look promising for the race. The local weather forecasters predict a 60 per cent chance of rain tomorrow and it is possible that some teams have based their strategies around that. Rain won't worry us in the slightest, but it could add an extra element of uncertainty."

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:

"Lap times might have remained fairly consistent since cars first ventured out yesterday morning, but the circuit has certainly evolved - that much is reflected in the reduced rate of tyre wear we have seen. Michelin's 'prime' and 'option' tyres are very suitable for the conditions here at Interlagos and both will be used tomorrow."

Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 team:

"The stage is set for an interesting race as the championship draws towards its conclusion. Both our Michelin tyre options worked extremely well and it wasn't easy to make a choice, but we know we have a compound that will work well in the wide variety of temperatures that can occur here in Brazil. It was very good in qualifying and - more than that - we know it will be a good race tyre."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , McLaren