French GP: Bridgestone qualifying report

Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) has set pole position on Bridgestone's soft compound Potenza in baking temperatures, under clear blue skies at Magny Cours for the eighth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the French Grand...

Kimi Raikkonen (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) has set pole position on Bridgestone's soft compound Potenza in baking temperatures, under clear blue skies at Magny Cours for the eighth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the French Grand Prix.

On a day of very close times, Raikkonen's pole lap of 1min 16.449secs was just over four hundredths quicker than second fastest driver, Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro). Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) set the third fastest time, but faces a ten place grid penalty for tomorrow's race.

Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team) set the fourth fastest time, whilst Jarno Trulli (Panasonic Toyota Racing) and Heikki Kovalainen (Vodafone McLaren Mercedes) went fifth and sixth quickest respectively. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber F1 Team) set the seventh fastest time and Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) was the eighth. David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing) and Timo Glock (Panasonic Toyota Racing) were the final two drivers to make it into the final qualifying session.

In the morning practice session Nelson Piquet (ING Renault F1 Team) went fastest, with a time of 1min 15.750secs, set on the medium compound. All through the day lap times were very close with only a second separating the top 18 cars in the morning. Massa set the day's fastest time, using the medium compound to achieve a 1min 15.024secs in Q1. Track conditions are improved from Friday as more rubber has been laid on the track, however this improvement was counteracted by hotter temperatures than yesterday.

Hirohide Hamashima - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development:

"Congratulations to Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari for their pole position. The difference in lap time over one lap between the medium and soft compound Potenza was very close today, even though it seems that the soft compound has an advantage. We saw a lot of cars with a tendency for understeer in qualifying, and because of this we saw more graining than this morning. Some teams prefer the soft tyre and others prefer the medium tyre, and this means we are very interested to see what strategies will be used tomorrow. Both compounds allow a variety of different uses for the race. Congratulations also to Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Chris Vermeulen, who qualified in the top three positions using Bridgestone tyres in wet conditions at Donington Park for the MotoGP."

-credit: bridgestone

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Valentino Rossi , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Nelson Piquet , Heikki Kovalainen , Chris Vermeulen , Robert Kubica , Timo Glock , Casey Stoner
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toyota Racing , Renault F1 Team