Japanese GP Saturday McLaren notes

West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen will start tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix from second position after setting a time of 1:35.834 in today's qualifying - a mere nine thousands of a second from pole position. David Coulthard will line up...

West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen will start tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix from second position after setting a time of 1:35.834 in today's qualifying - a mere nine thousands of a second from pole position. David Coulthard will line up third. David's time was 1:36.236.

Mika Hakkinen: 'A great battle for pole position with Schumacher and myself exchanging fastest times. We were making adjustments to the car throughout the session but unfortunately on my last run I was not able to get the acceleration absolutely right coming out of the last chicane, which meant that I lost that little bit of time. However the race is tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it.'

David Coulthard: 'I'm reasonably happy with being on the second row taking into account that I have been unable to find the right balance until today's qualifying. However after we made some changes following this morning's practice sessions I felt confident enough to really attack the circuit, but still we didn't make enough progress to get pole position, but I believe we will be competitive in the race.'

Ron Dennis: 'This year's qualifying times are clearly much closer than last year. There is no reason that the outcome of qualifying should not provide us with the opportunity to contest the World Championship in Malaysia. The first corner is important but not critical.'

Norbert Haug: 'The closest qualifying session of the season ended with Mika and David being second and third; Mika nine thousands of a second behind Michael Schumacher's pole time and David four tenths down. We are in a good position for the start of the race and obviously our goal has to be to try and go in a one-two formation into the first corner. However even if this doesn't happen we can still win the race and keep the World Championship open until Malaysia in a fortnight.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Norbert Haug
Teams Mercedes , McLaren