By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com Yesterday's free practice session was indicative of who would take the poll position today. Michael Schumacher was in a class of his own, doing only two laps to reach his goal of a 41st career pole. Not only did...
By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com
Yesterday's free practice session was indicative of who would take the poll position today. Michael Schumacher was in a class of his own, doing only two laps to reach his goal of a 41st career pole. Not only did he secure pole position, but he also managed to conserve an extra two sets of tyres. While things went smoothly for Michael, it didn't go so well for his nearest rival David Coulthard. Coulthard was evidently fighting the car while trying his best to challenge Michael. If this wasn't enough a totally oblivious Heinz-Herald Frentzen held Coulthard up on what could have been a potential pole position. Frentzen put his hand up to apologize, but previous skirmishes between these two drivers may have been uppermost in DC's mind. Another driver that fell pray to a hold up was Rubens Barrichello who was also on a good lap. An unsuspecting Juan Pablo Montoya was suddenly caught by the Ferrari and tried making space in an awkward corner to allow Barrichello through.
The cold war between Jean Alesi and Frentzen continued with both aiming to out-qualify the other rather than to focus on the other 20 drivers. Frentzen seemed to have the upperhand in the first two thirds of the session when he managed to be in 15th, which was a place ahead of Alesi. Alesi must have received some sort of message from the pits, because he suddenly put the Jordan into 11th overall leaving Frentzen well down the order. It was Jacques Villeneuve who spoilt it all for Alesi when he pushed him down to 12th on the grid for tomorrow's Hungarian GP.
Ralf Schumacher was making the best of a Williams that didn't quite suite the Hongaroring. He managed to qualify in the top ten and even take pole for a few seconds before Jarno Trulli displaced the German. Trulli didn't stay in pole for long either, because Mika Hakkinen replaced him before falling prey to Michael. After Michael took over, the pole position stayed as is, though many tried their utmost to topple the brilliant Regen Meister. Is this performance a message to say that he is going to wrap up the World Driver Championship tomorrow?
It appeared that Minardi was going to pack up sooner than they anticipated, because both drivers were outside the 107% threshold. With less than 15 minutes to go, both Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques were about .600 of a second off the pace. It was Alonso who put in a good lap to not only make it into the 107% time, but also manage to put the Minardi in 18th place ahead of Luciano Burti, Enqrique Bernoldi, Jos Verstappen and Tarso Marques. Marques followed suit by qualifying within the 107% time.
Kimmi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld had a brilliant qualifying session ensuring that four Ferrari engines cover the top ten while both BMW Williams made sure they were not entirely out of the running.
While free practice was shrouded in spin-offs, qualifying only saw the likes of Häkkinen and Pedro de la Rosa touching the grass while fighting their cars on flying laps.
Turn 11 seems to be the wild card for tomorrow's race where drivers will have to concentrate to use just enough curbs to avoid bouncing off entirely.
Who will emerge the winner? Join us at the Hongaroring for what promises to be an interesting Hungarian GP.