Canadian GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

RALF SCHUMACHER GRABS POLE FOR MICHELIN IN MONTREAL Ralf Schumacher has qualified fastest for tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix. At the wheel of his Michelin-shod Williams-BMW, the German lapped in 1m 12.275s to deny Jenson Button ...

RALF SCHUMACHER GRABS POLE FOR MICHELIN IN MONTREAL

Ralf Schumacher has qualified fastest for tomorrow's Canadian Grand Prix. At the wheel of his Michelin-shod Williams-BMW, the German lapped in 1m 12.275s to deny Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) the second pole position of his F1 career. Schumacher's margin of superiority was just 0.066s. It is his first pole position since last summer's French GP.

Michelin has great strength in depth at the front of the field and its drivers have annexed the top five places on the grid. Behind Schumacher and Button, Jarno Trulli (Renault) took third ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, fourth), Fernando Alonso (Renault, fifth), Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, eighth), David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, ninth) and Christian Klien (Jaguar, 10th). The pole winner has a strong track record in Montreal: he dominated the corresponding fixture in 2001.

Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda/Michelin) challenged for pole position. After setting fastest time through the first sector, however, he made a mistake in the second and then spun at the final chicane. He will line up 17th.

German Timo Glock is making his grand prix debut this weekend. The Jordan- Ford reserve driver steps up to the race team to replace Giorgio Pantano, who has been unable to resolve a complex management-related sponsorship problem. Glock qualified 16th. Pantano expects to return to action in next weekend's United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

Felipe Massa (Sauber) and Gianmaria Bruni (Minardi) will start at the tail of the field after aborting their decisive qualifying laps.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"This has been a very satisfactory session for us - and it proves a point that we keep hammering home: our tyres enable all six of our partner teams to run competitively. We don't know exactly what strategies every team has chosen to run, of course, and teams might not make a final decision until after the race has started. At this track, starting with 40kg of fuel on board gives you the flexibility to stop two or three times. Despite the various permutations, however, one thing is certain: I feel very optimistic about our chances tomorrow."

Pascal Vasselon, Michelin F1 programme manager:

"Irrespective of the different strategies that have been deployed by the various teams at the front of the grid, it is very satisfying to have taken the top five places. Our tyres have been quick all weekend - and in this morning's final free practice sessions we proved that they were both durable and consistent, too."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan