FIVE MICHELIN TEAMS IN TOP TEN Michelin pace-setters Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Jenson Button (BAR Honda) set identical times en route to annexing third and fourth places on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix...
FIVE MICHELIN TEAMS IN TOP TEN
Michelin pace-setters Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) and Jenson Button (BAR Honda) set identical times en route to annexing third and fourth places on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. They will start behind the Ferraris of defending world champion Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Eight Michelin drivers from five partner teams will line up in the top 10.
Local hero Mark Webber (Jaguar/Michelin) will start sixth for his home race.
Webber's team-mate Christian Klien was unable to post a qualifying time. He was comfortably quickest rookie in the first qualifying session but had to abandon his second run after sliding off the track.
Technical problems also caused Olivier Panis (Toyota/Michelin) to miss his qualifying run.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"We might not be starting in our customary spot at the front, but our main opposition is traditionally strong here and lap times are closer than they were here last season. As usual, the full story won't become apparent until tomorrow's race, because we still don't know the fuel loads that different teams are running and just 10kg can make a significant difference here - almost 0.4s per lap. Our tyres have performed strongly and consistently so far - and I'm confident they will continue to do so in the race. "
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin Formula One programme manager:
"The gap between the leading teams is much closer today and I am confident about our prospects for the race, when we expect ambient temperatures of 25 to 35 degrees. There will be three different Michelin dry-weather compounds on the grid - and all will cope comfortably with such hot temperatures. I would also like to compliment our newest partner BAR Honda on its sterling qualifying performance."