Malaysian GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

FISICHELLA SECURES MICHELIN'S 101ST F1 POLE Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) has qualified fastest for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix - the third pole position of his Formula One career and Michelin's 101st. The Italian lapped in 1m 33.840s to...

FISICHELLA SECURES MICHELIN'S 101ST F1 POLE

Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) has qualified fastest for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix - the third pole position of his Formula One career and Michelin's 101st. The Italian lapped in 1m 33.840s to pip Jenson Button (Honda) by just 0.146s as Michelin drivers locked out the front row of the grid.

Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren Mercedes, sixth), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes, seventh), world championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault, eighth) and Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing, ninth) complete a list of six Michelin drivers in the top 10.

Fernando Alonso (Renault) was the fastest Michelin runner in this morning's final free practice session. He lapped in 1m 34.180s - 0.054s adrift of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari.

Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello (Honda/Michelin) will be given 10- position grid penalties in tomorrow's race following unscheduled engine changes.

Scott Speed (Scuderia Toro Rosso/Michelin), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Scuderia Toro Rosso/Michelin), Christijan Albers (MF1), Tiago Monteiro (MF1), Takuma Sato (Super Aguri) and Yuji Ide (Super Aguri) were eliminated during the first part of the knock-out qualifying session.

The second round accounted for David Coulthard (Red Bull/Michelin), Rubens Barrichello (Honda/Michelin), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Jacques Villeneuve (BMW Sauber/Michelin) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber/Michelin). Felipe Massa (Ferrari) did not run during the session and is expected to make a second unscheduled engine, which will earn him a 20-position grid penalty.

Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) missed the third and final sector of the qualifying session after suffering a spectacular engine blow-up on the pit straight. The German had qualified 10th for the top-10 shoot-out.

Jenson Button (Honda/Michelin) set the fastest qualifying lap overall - a 1m 33.527s during the second part of the session. Rookie Nico Rosberg (Williams-Cosworth) has qualified third fastest for what will be only his second world championship start.

Nick Shorrock, Michelin Formula One director:

"We have been working very effectively with all our partners- and the fact there are different Michelin chassis on the front row underlines as much. This is obviously a very pleasing result and it will be interesting to see the race strategies unfold tomorrow."

"I think we could see cars making one, two or three stops. The track has changed quite significantly since the start of the meeting - yesterday's graining problems have vanished completely and we have no worries about undue wear or blistering."

"There are three different types of Michelin in the race- all are quite similar in nature and they have responded exactly as we hoped they would to the prevailing conditions. The temperatures might be a little cooler in the race than they were in qualifying, given the three o'clock start, but we still anticipate track temperatures of 40-50 degrees."

Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team:

"Many people were wondering where the balance of power might lie in the tyre war when we reached the hotter circuits. By annexing the front row today, I think Michelin has gone a long way towards answering that question."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams , Renault F1 Team