In cool, grey weather at the qualifying session of the German Grand Prix the Schumacher brothers heated up the track in a sibling battle for pole position. Breaking Juan Pablo Montoya's string of poles, Michael Schumacher finally beat baby brother...
In cool, grey weather at the qualifying session of the German Grand Prix the Schumacher brothers heated up the track in a sibling battle for pole position. Breaking Juan Pablo Montoya's string of poles, Michael Schumacher finally beat baby brother Ralf to the fastest time of 1:14.389.
Both Bridgestone and Michelin runners opted for the harder compound tyres for the new layout Hockenheim circuit and it was a close fight. Ralf had a very strong session, always in the front runners and setting a provisional pole of 1:14.570 before Michael put in a 1:14.389 in his traditional last seconds gasp. Juan Pablo Montoya, who recently enjoyed a run of five consecutive pole positions, had to settle for fourth behind Rubens Barrichello.
Disrupting the usual Ferrari, Williams, McLaren line up on the first three rows of the grid was Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella. While McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen put in another strong performance to qualify fifth, David Coulthard could only manage ninth. Fisichella's knock on the head in France proved no problem as the Italian took sixth position.
"Just after the accident (in French GP practice) I had headache and neck pain," said Fisichella before qualifying. "But the first lap of the circuit yesterday was fine."
Jordan team mate Takuma Sato for once had a fairly uneventful qualifying, coming home ninth. Sauber slacked off the pace of their the impressive practices: Nick Heidfeld, who took to the spare car after engine problems with his race car, and Felipe Massa tenth and fourteenth respecively. Toyota had a weak qualifying, the confusing form they show that ebbs and flows from race to race leaning to the weaker today: Allan McNish 17th and Mika Salo 19th.
The redesigned Hockenheim circuit drew mixed reaction from the drivers: "It's very uninteresting to drive," said BAR's Jacques Villeneuve. "For pure driving it's the most boring circuit we have." In contrast, Ralf Schumacher was very impressed: "Complements to the designer (Herman Tilke), it's the best track I've ever driven."
Villeneuve was once again overshadowed by team mate Olivier Panis who qualified seventh: the Canadian was eleventh. Renault continued to struggle as they had all weekend -- Jenson Button outside the top ten although Jarno Trulli managed eighth. Arrows pottered around with the back markers of Jaguar, Toyota and Minardi. After Eddie Irvine's brilliant sixth in yesterday's practice, the leaping cat slumped to the back of the field today.
Minardi's Alex Yoong failed to achieve a time inside the 107% of qualifying: the team are set to appeal. They must have it down word perfect by now. Final top six classification: M. Schumacher, R. Schumacher, Barrichello, Montoya, Raikkonen, Fisichella.