FLYING MONTOYA CLINCHES ANOTHER POLE FOR MICHELIN Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes) will start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from the prime spot on the grid - Michelin's 97th Formula One pole position. The Colombian lapped the 6.976- ...
FLYING MONTOYA CLINCHES ANOTHER POLE FOR MICHELIN
Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes) will start tomorrow's Belgian Grand Prix from the prime spot on the grid - Michelin's 97th Formula One pole position. The Colombian lapped the 6.976- kilometre (4.335mile) circuit - the longest on the world championship calendar - in 1m 46.391s, just 0.049s quicker than team-mate Kimi Räikkönen.
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) completed a Michelin clean sweep of the top three, but the Italian has been penalised 10 grid positions in the wake of an unscheduled engine change. Jarno Trulli (Toyota/Michelin) will thus take his place. Fernando Alonso (Renault) will start fourth as he bids to wrap up the world title.
Fellow Michelin runners Ralf Schumacher (Toyota, fifth), Felipe Massa (Sauber- Petronas, seventh - his highest grid position of the season), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, eighth), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, ninth) and Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, 10th) will also line up in the top 10.
Following yesterday's adverse weather conditions, drivers were given more time to finalise their tyre choice for the weekend. They didn't have to nominate their preferred compound until midday today, after the final two free practice sessions.
Michelin drivers were comfortably quickest in this morning's free practice. World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault) lapped in 1m 46.307s, 0.337s faster than title rival Kimi Räi kkönen (McLaren Mercedes/Michelin).
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"It was quite a tense qualifying session, because we felt a few spots of rain just before the final five cars set out to complete their laps - and they were all Michelin runners. Fortunately for them, the conditions didn't deteriorate and the grid has a fairly conventional look."
"The lack of running yesterday obviously hindered our routine, but we were able to do some excellent preparation work this morning and our prime and option tyres showed a good blend of speed and durability. Our partner teams have chosen to use both in tomorrow's race."
"It remains to be seen what effect the weather might have during the next 24 hours, but Michelinis prepared for this grand prix with absolute confidence."
Ron Dennis, McLaren Group chairman:
"Preparations have been difficult this weekend, because of the bad weather during yesterday's practice sessions, but ultimately things worked out for us and I'm delighted to say our Michelins worked perfectly."