ALONSO ANNEXES POLE AS MICHELIN REIGNS SUPREME IN THE WET Michelin and its partner teams dominated a sodden qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix, with 2005 race winner Fernando Alonso (Renault) taking a comfortable pole ...
ALONSO ANNEXES POLE AS MICHELIN REIGNS SUPREME IN THE WET
Michelin and its partner teams dominated a sodden qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix, with 2005 race winner Fernando Alonso (Renault) taking a comfortable pole position - his sixth of the year and the 15th of his Formula One career. The Spaniard, who leads the world championship by two points, lapped in 1m 44.360s to beat team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella by 0.632s as Renault locked out the front row for the third time this year.
Nine Michelin drivers from five partner teams made it through to the final top 10 shoot-out. After setting identical times, Honda team-mates Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button will start third and fourth ahead of Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren Mercedes, fifth), Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren Mercedes, seventh), Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber, eighth), Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber, ninth) and Robert Doornbos (Red Bull, 10th).
Nick Shorrock, Michelin F1 director:
"What can I say? Michelin drivers set the top 12 times in Q1, the top eight in Q2 and took nine of the top 10 grid positions. It has been a conclusive demonstration of the performance of Michelin's wet-weather tyres."
"Honda's drivers had a brief run on full wets during Q1, but that apart our partners all stuck with intermediates and I am delighted with the performance we were able to generate. The Renaults are clearly very quick but there were some other notable performances, too - especially from Robert Doornbos, who will be starting a grand prix in the top 10 for the first time."
"We were only able to complete a few laps on dry tyres in this morning's free practice, but that hasn't hampered our preparations unduly because we finalised our tyre selections yesterday - it was a fairly clear call. At the moment it looks unlikely that we'll be running on dries, however, our latest forecast suggests there will be more showers tomorrow afternoon - and there is even the possibility of thunder."
"Michelin was clearly the force today, but we won't take anything for granted because wet races have a habit of turning into lotteries. We do know, however, that our tyres have been supremely effective in both wet and dry conditions."
Alain Dassas, president, Renault F1 Team:
"I'm delighted with today's one-two. Things could hardly have been better. Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella were in great form and our Michelin tyres have been very good. This is a real source of motivation for the team."
Pat Symonds, executive engineering director, Renault F1 Team:
"I'm delighted that Fernando and Giancarlo are on the front row. As we saw in Hungary last month, Michelin's tyres work extremely well in the wet and this result underlines as much. It is also nice to know that, should we need it tomorrow, we have an extremely competitive tyre for dry conditions."
Nick Fry, CEO, Honda Racing F1 Team:
"I'm extremely pleased with the tyres Michelin has brought this weekend. It doesn't matter whether conditions are wet or dry, we have strong first-lap performance and good consistency over longer runs."