World championship leader Michael Schumacher eclipsed his rivals to take pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix -- the ninth time he has done so in 13 races this year. The Ferrari star, who will clinch his fourth Formula 1 title if he wins ...
World championship leader Michael Schumacher eclipsed his rivals to take pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix -- the ninth time he has done so in 13 races this year. The Ferrari star, who will clinch his fourth Formula 1 title if he wins tomorrow's race, used up only two of his four allotted qualifying runs but still lapped 0.801s faster than closest rival David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes). His best time of 1m 14.059s is almost 3.5 seconds faster than the pole time he set in 2000. Schumacher's team-mate Rubens Barrichello was third fastest.
The pole-winner's younger brother Ralf was fastest of the 10 drivers using Michelin tyres. Schumacher Jnr improved his pace steadily and will line up fourth, ahead of Jarno Trulli (Jordan-Honda) and former world champion Mika Hakkinen (McLaren-Mercedes). Juan Pablo Montoya was eighth fastest in the second Williams-BMW. The Colombian ran wide at the end of the session and lost any chance of improving his position after careering across the grass.
Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar Racing) was third quickest Michelin runner in 13 th place -- just ahead of team-mate Eddie Irvine for the third consecutive race. Of the others, Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport) was 15th, Prost-Acer newcomer Heinz-Harald Frentzen 16th , Jenson Button (Benetton Renault Sport) 17th , Fernando Alonso (European Minardi) 18th , Luciano Burti (Prost-Acer) 19th and Tarso Marques (European Minardi) 22nd.
\@Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director): @Were track conditions better today?
"Yes. The circuit is in much better condition than it was yesterday, although it didn't improve in a conventional manner. The track became slower as the session drew to a close. Few drivers were able to improve their qualifying time on the final run, which was odd. As for the times achieved by cars running on our tyres, we are fairly satisfied. We didn't expect to qualify as far up as row two and Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) put in a fantastic best lap."
Is there are an obvious benefit in running one of your two compounds rather than the other?
"No. Once again both of our compounds will be used in the race. Teams will refine their strategies in accordance with how they line up on the grid. Generally speaking, we got things right when it came to assessing both how our tyres would perform in race conditions and how they would affect cars' handling. Our primary (A) and option (B) tyres seem well suited to the track. The harder of the two will perhaps be a little too hard and the softer a little too soft, but that is no surprise."
What race strategies are feasible tomorrow?
"One, two or three stops. That said, one of our tyres might not be suited to a single-stop strategy. The important thing for our partner teams is to have a tyre that allows them a degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing pit stop tactics. We try to give them the possibility of extending their stints for a few laps if that will help them during the course of a grand prix."
Do the hot conditions suit one tyre better than the other?
"The heat isn't a problem for either of them. The tyres are hotter than the track, which thus helps cool them down. In this respect, a difference of three-five degrees doesn't present us with any problems."