WILLIAMS AND BAR SPEARHEAD MICHELIN CHALLENGE Williams-BMW team-mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher spearheaded Michelin's challenge in the final build-up to the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix when they qualified third and fourth. The ...
WILLIAMS AND BAR SPEARHEAD MICHELIN CHALLENGE
Williams-BMW team-mates Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher spearheaded Michelin's challenge in the final build-up to the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix when they qualified third and fourth. The Michelin pace-setters will start immediately in front of BAR Honda/Michelin drivers Takuma Sato and Jenson Button. Sato's fifth place is the best qualifying performance of his F1 career to date.
Jarno Trulli (Renault, seventh), Olivier Panis (Toyota, eighth), Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, ninth) and David Coulthard (McLaren, 10th) completed Michelin's portfolio of eight drivers and five partner teams in the top 10.
Button, BAR Honda and Michelin set the pace in both free practice sessions on Saturday morning. The Englishman's 1m 25.992s lap has been this weekend's fastest lap so far. Jaguar rookie Christian Klien has outqualified team-mate Mark Webber for the first time. They were 12th and 14th fastest respectively in final qualifying.
Renault/Michelin star Fernando Alonso was expected to be a front-runner in Bahrain, but he will start the race from 17th position after losing time when he ran off the track during his final run. West McLaren Mercedes /Michelin racer Kimi Räikkönen will be last on the grid after he aborted his qualifying lap.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Lap times have been very close this weekend and I'm sure the grand prix will be fiercely competitive. There is not much to choose between our different compounds and it will be interesting to see which of them is best suited to tomorrow's race conditions, which are expected to be slightly overcast. Our tyres have been fast and consistent in equal measure. We might have been pipped to pole position, but I am very optimistic for the race."
Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:
"From a technical perspective I am very happy with the way Michelin has performed so far this weekend. We brought three different dry-tyre specifications to Bahrain and all of them will feature on the grid tomorrow. That reflects the effectiveness of the predictive tools and simulation systems we use to prepare for new events such as this."