Michael Schumacher took an impressive provisional pole position in the Friday qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, ahead of an equally impressive Jarno Trulli. The Ferrari F2003-GA set a best of 1:17.130, just two hundredths of a second...
Michael Schumacher took an impressive provisional pole position in the Friday qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, ahead of an equally impressive Jarno Trulli. The Ferrari F2003-GA set a best of 1:17.130, just two hundredths of a second ahead of the Renault. Third fastest was Rubens Barrichello.
Kimi Raikkonen was first man out, setting a time of 1:17.862, followed by McLaren team-mate David Coulthard who was a couple of tenths down. Michael Schumacher was the first Ferrari, up on the McLarens in all three sectors to set provisional pole just over half a second faster.
Fernando Alonso was next up, the Renault driver fourth quickest, slightly disappointing after his performance in free practice. Rubens Barrichello was the last of the first group of five and slotted his Ferrari in behind Michael just eight hundredths of a second down.
Williams' Ralf Schumacher started the second group, he too off his earlier pace when he was fastest in practice, having to settle for sixth. Giancarlo Fisichella followed for Jordan and was very slow in the first sector. He caught up slightly to Ralf in sector two and three but could not better the Williams, finishing seventh.
Juan Pablo Montoya also had a disappointing lap, taking seventh from Fisichella but nearly one and a half seconds off provisional pole. Jarno Trulli, who was quick in practice, was very fast again and went second to split the Ferraris. Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen concluded the second group and rounded off the top ten.
Jacques Villeneuve was the first BAR out, kicking off the third group. Reasonably on the pace, the Canadian took eighth ahead of Montoya. Team-mate Jenson Button followed and put in a very fast middle sector that put him up to fourth fastest.
Nick Heidfeld had an uninspiring lap for thirteenth in the Sauber. Mark Webber was good, his first sector on a par with the McLarens and although the second was slightly down, he picked it up and went fifth ahead of Raikkonen and Coulthard.
Toyota looked encouraging in practice and didn't disappoint. Olivier Panis was first up, putting in a flyer that knocked Webber off fifth then Cristiano da Matta started the final group and blasted up to fourth. Excellent lap for da Matta, his familiarity with the Circuit de Catalunya giving him a good result after his struggles with new tracks.
Ralph Firman could do no better than seventeenth for Jordan and Minardi's Jos Verstappen ran wide on his lap. The Dutchman took Firman's place but was 3.5 seconds down on pole. The beleaguered Antonio Pizzonia was next and put in a creditable thirteenth -- ahead of Montoya -- and Justin Wilson was last, nearly four seconds down on Michael.
An excellent session for Toyota, both Panis and da Matta showing fine form. Ferrari took the gloves off after a low-key start this morning and looked impressive. Trulli also impressed, as did Button, but Alonso was disappointing along with McLaren and Williams. However, the early runners had to negotiate a dirty track. Tomorrow is when it really counts. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Trulli, Barrichello, da Matta, Button, Panis, Webber, Raikkonen.