Schumacher on pole for Australian GP

Schumacher on pole for Australian GP

Michael Schumacher claimed the first pole position of the Formula One season in Melbourne, setting a best time of 1:27.173. Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello was second quickest to complete a front row Scuderia start to tomorrow's ...

Michael Schumacher claimed the first pole position of the Formula One season in Melbourne, setting a best time of 1:27.173. Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello was second quickest to complete a front row Scuderia start to tomorrow's race.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.

Minardi's Justin Wilson was first out, after setting the slowest time in the Friday qualifying session. Mysteriously, both Wilson and team mate Jos Verstappen pulled into the pit lane at the end of their single qualifying lap, so technically not setting a time at all.

It was a very neat and tidy lap by Wilson until he aborted into the pits: "Minardi were going to be at the back anyway," he said. "We felt that this tactic will work best for our strategy." It's yet to be seen if Wilson and Verstappen have even qualified.

Next out was Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia, the Brazilian enthusiastically kicking up dust as he went wide and set the first official time of 1:31.723. Verstappen was next out, doing the same pulling into the pits maneuver as Wilson.

Ralph Firman set the next pole time for Jordan and Mark Webber got a huge cheer from the crowd as the Aussie Jaguar driver took to the track. He set the second fastest time on his run, Ralf Schumacher claiming pole just before him.

Giancarlo Fisichella removed Webber from second, then Heinz-Harald Frentzen took a surprise pole for Sauber, 1:28.274. Team mate Nick Heidfeld went second quickest. Toyota's Cristiano da Matta kicked up a lot of dust on his fast lap but went sixth quickest.

Despite a sluggish out lap, Juan Pablo Montoya set the next provisional pole of 1:28.101 for Williams. Renault's Jarno Trulli was next out and went fifth fastest after going well wide in the dust.

Olivier Panis surprised with third quickest on his flying lap and Renault's Fernando Alonso clocked sixth despite a big slide. David Coulthard was first out for McLaren and went 7th fastest.

BAR reverted to the Honda testing engine after a dismal time with the new engine over the winter. Jenson Button went fifth fastest at the time, followed by Jacques Villeneuve, despite the Canadian going very wide into the dust.

Raikkonen took to the track in the spare McLaren after writing off his race car in free practice. He too went very wide into the dust and wound up a very disappointing 14th, although it appeared that he suffered a flat tyre.

Provisional pole man from yesterday, Rubens Barrichello couldn't outsmart Schumacher today and was second. Final top six classification: M. Schumacher, R. Barrichello, JP Montoya, H-H Frentzen, O.Panis, J. Villeneuve.

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