British GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes



World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) has taken pole position for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix as he aims to secure his second Formula One success in as many weekends. The Spaniard’s 1m 19.905s lap put him 0.027s clear of arch-rival Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes), but the Finn will start 12th after picking up a 10-position grid penalty in the wake of an unscheduled engine change.

Local favourite Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) will thus join Alonso on the front row of the grid. It is the 93rd time that a Michelin car has taken pole position for a round of the F1 world championship – and after 11 rounds the company’s 100 per cent seasonal record remains intact. It is Alonso’s fourth pole of the campaign and the seventh of his career.

Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes, fourth) was quickest of the remaining Michelin drivers, ahead of Jarno Trulli (Toyota, fifth), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, seventh), Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, eighth), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota, ninth), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber- Petronas, 11th), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 12th), David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 13th), Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 14th), Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing, 15th) and Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas, 16th).

Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin) set the pace in this morning’s opening free practice session but missed most of the second after pulling off the track when his engine blew. The Finn, who was given a 10-position grid penalty at Magny-Cours last weekend in the wake of an unscheduled engine change, finds himself in the same situation again.

Pole winner Fernando Alonso (Renault/Michelin) ended up quickest in this morning’s final free practice sessions, on 1m 20.077s. He was fractionally faster than fellow Michelin runner Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes).

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“Track conditions have not altered a great deal since yesterday – an abrasive surface such as the one here at Silverstone is less prone to dramatic changes than some of the smoother surfaces Formula One cars race on."

“As always, the order might be shuffled a little tomorrow – it would be no surprise to see drivers attempting a two or three stop strategy – but it is clear that our tyres are extremely well suited to this ultra-demanding track.”

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:

“Today’s qualifying session underlined Michelin’s strength in depth, with four of our partners among the fastest five teams. Two of the four available Michelin tyres will be used in the race, but there are only subtle differences in their tread specification. So far this weekend, both have demonstrated the cutting-edge performance and durability that are Michelin trademarks.”

Team perspective:
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1:

“Silverstone is one of the most demanding circuits we visit and achieving the right compromise between qualifying speed and solid race pace is supremely difficult. The tyres Michelin has brought this weekend are performing faultlessly."

“However, Fernando’s time today highlighted their first-lap performance and we know from testing and all the free practice we have done this weekend that their balance and grip are excellent on long runs.”


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