FRONT-ROW START FOR MONTOYA AND MICHELIN AT INTERLAGOS Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) secured his fourth front-row start of the season in a close qualifying session ahead of the Formula One seasonal finale in Brazil. Lap times were...
FRONT-ROW START FOR MONTOYA AND MICHELIN AT INTERLAGOS
Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) secured his fourth front-row start of the season in a close qualifying session ahead of the Formula One seasonal finale in Brazil. Lap times were more than three seconds quicker than in last season's corresponding fixture and the Colombian will start second, alongside local hero Rubens Barrichello.
All six of Michelin's partner teams feature in the top 12. Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) was third ahead of Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, fifth), Takuma Sato (B*A*R- Honda, sixth), Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, seventh), Fernando Alonso (Renault, eighth), Jarno Trulli (Toyota, ninth), Mark Webber (Jaguar Racing, 11th) and David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, 12th).
This morning's first free practice session was reduced from 45 minutes to 20 because track officials had to round up two stray dogs that ventured into the circuit.
World champion Michael Schumacher was eighth fastest but will serve a 10- position grid penalty in tomorrow's race. The German crashed heavily at Turn Six during free practice and has subsequently switched to his T-car - complete with spare engine. Drivers are penalised if they do not use the same V10 throughout a race weekend.
As well as taking pole, Barrichello (Ferrari) also set the weekend's fastest lap time: the local hero posted a 1m 09.822s during pre-qualifying. Barrichello's 2003 pole position time - 1m 13.807s - was beaten by every driver who completed a qualifying time. Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni did not attempt a lap because of a technical problem.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Lap times have improved spectacularly since last year's corresponding fixture - every car that set a time today went faster than the 2003 pole - and there are two reasons for this. Firstly, a significant section of the circuit has been resurfaced. Secondly, the track was a little bit green last year following showers on the opening day of the meeting. The forecasters predict it could be wet tomorrow. If the rain holds off, however, the pace is going to be pretty fierce."
"Michelin's 'prime' and 'option' compounds will both be used in the race and each has delivered quick, consistent and reliable performance throughout the first two days. It promises to be an interesting race and I am looking forward to watching the different strategies unfold. It would be nice to sign off the season with a flourish and I anticipate that Michelin and its partners will be in good shape tomorrow."