Turkish GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

TURKISH DELIGHT FOR RÄIKKÖNEN AND MICHELIN Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) secured his fifth pole position of the season - and Michelin's 13th - during qualifying for the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. The Finn - who...

TURKISH DELIGHT FOR RÄIKKÖNEN AND MICHELIN

Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) secured his fifth pole position of the season - and Michelin's 13th - during qualifying for the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park. The Finn - who is chasing a second straight Formula One victory - lapped the challenging, 5.340-kilometre (3.318-mile) track in 1m 26.797s during an incident-packed session and pipped Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault/Michelin) by 0.242s.

World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault) will start third. Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes), Jarno Trulli (Toyota), Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team), Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) and Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing) completed a Michelin clean sweep of the top ten.

Michelin drivers set the fastest 13 times in this morning's final free practice sessions. Kimi Räikkönen led the way on 1m 26.120s, 0.479s clear of Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda).

Today's qualifying session briefly had to be interrupted after Villeneuve spun at Turn 8 and stalled his car in the middle of the track. B*A*R-Honda drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato compromised their laps by running wide at the same corner. They will start 13th and 14th. World champion Michael Schumacher abandoned his lap after spinning at Turn 10.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"This has been enormously satisfyingday for us, with all seven partner teams qualifying cars in the top 10, and I'm delighted with the way our tyres have performed on a track where we have never previously competed."

"The race appears to be very delicately poised. The circuit is clearly very challenging, partly because the frequent elevation changes affect the load and the downforce levels and partly because we are using relatively stiff tyre constructions. As we have seen today, the slightest mistake can be very costly and tomorrow's 58-lap race promises to be especially gruelling."

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:

"Irrespective of the tyre choice made by our partners we have been able to demonstrate an excellent performance from all our teams and our products which are particularly well suited to the conditions."

"The track has proved to be quite a bit faster than we originally anticipated, largely due to the width of the kerbs, and I have to compliment those responsible for the manner in which they have prepared the surface. It has remained incredibly consistent since it rubbered in yesterday. Everything has gone absolutely according to plan - especially when you consider that we had no previous racing experience concerning the circuit."

Ron Dennis, McLaren Group chairman:

"As with all Michelin teams, we took a conservative approach to tyre choice. That made qualifying a bit more difficult, although the outcome was very positive for us. We are comfortable with our race strategy and very pleased with our Michelin tyres."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams