French GP Honda qualifying notes

Jarno Trulli qualified his Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda in fifth position for tomorrow's grid of the French Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered car, from the third row. His Jordan Honda team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen will...

Jarno Trulli qualified his Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda in fifth position for tomorrow's grid of the French Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered car, from the third row. His Jordan Honda team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen will start directly behind him in seventh position. The Lucky Strike BAR Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis will line up in 10th and 11th positions respectively.

Pole position was secured by Ralf Schumacher (his first) whose Williams is joined on the front row of tomorrow's grid by the Ferrari of his brother Michael. David Coulthard took third, with his McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen fourth to occupy the second row. Trulli shares row three with the second Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya while Frentzen lines up alongside the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.

Villeneuve and Panis were each squeezed down a spot in the last minute as Nick Heidfeld put his Sauber ahead of Villeneuve's BAR Honda by just one-thousandth of a second to qualify ninth, just after Panis' final timed lap was interrupted by traffic.

Jarno Trulli Position: 5th
"It is great to qualify in fifth and I am very happy for the team and myself. I think we did a good job. The car felt perfect today and I must congratulate Bridgestone for the excellent tyres they have developed for this race which seem to have a very competitive pace with less degredation and great balance. This good car and tyre package is a major step forward for the team, and the work we did during the test session here last month and throughout this weekend has really paid off. I would also like to apologise to Michael as I think I blocked him when I misjudged a corner. Although I was pulling away, I think I held him up."

Kazutoshi Nishizawa - Technical Director, Honda Racing Development
"This was a good qualifying session for us, especially Trulli's final timed lap. Overall the times are very close to the front and I think we are in a good position to be competitive tomorrow."

Eddie Jordan, Chief Executive, Jordan Honda
"It was an exciting qualifying and I am very happy for Jarno and Heinz. Heinz has had a difficult couple of races, but come here very focused and is fighting hard. He was held up by Panis on his last quick lap which is a shame, as it was possible that he could have made up one more place. Jarno's last qualifying lap to clinch fifth place showed a very competent effort. We have approached this weekend with a strategy that seems to have worked very well. Focussing on tyre choice yesterday was key, so I now hope we can carry this strong performance into tomorrow's race. I would also like to congratulate Ralf on his first pole position."

Craig Pollock, Team Principal and Managing Director, BAR Honda
"The team had two good practice sessions this morning and I feel both Jacques and Olivier did a very good job in qualifying. We ran reasonably well but we're still a little disappointed with our qualifying position. We haven't yet been able to show the true capability of the car or improve on our performance for the grid. We recognise that this is a weak area and although we have done a great deal of work and made some steady progress, there's still quite a way to go. Our past performance has shown that we are better in the race so we remain optimistic for tomorrow."

-HRD

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