European GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

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HEIDFELD’S MAIDEN F1 POLE – AND MICHELIN’S 89TH

Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) has secured the maiden pole position of his Formula One career in the Grand Prix of Europe – the first event this season to adopt the sport’s revived single-session qualifying format. The German lapped the Nürburgring in 1m 30.081s to pip Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) by just 0.116s.

Heidfeld’s lap maintained Michelin’s unbroken run of seven pole positions this season. It was also the 89th in Bibendum’s F1 history. Heidfeld’s team-mate Mark Webber starts third and Michelin drivers will monopolise the top half of the grid. Jarno Trulli (Toyota, fourth), Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes, fifth), Fernando Alonso (Renault, sixth), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota, eighth) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, ninth) also made it into the top 10.

Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas, 11th) was best of the remaining Michelin runners, ahead of David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 12th), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, 13th), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull Racing, 14th), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber-Petronas, 15th) and Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, 16th), Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) set fastest time in this morning’s final free practice sessions. His 1m 29.680s lap was the quickest set at the track so far this weekend.

Jordan Grand Prix has been barred from using a third car during Friday’s free practice sessions at the Canadian GP in Montreal. The punishment has been imposed because the team’s reserve driver Franck Montagny – standing in for Robert Doornbos at the Nürburgring this weekend – used six sets of tyres yesterday, two more than the permitted maximum. The FIA stewards have accepted that it was an inadvertent error on the team’s part.

Red Bull Racing driver David Coulthard has been fined $5250 for exceeding the pit speed limit in Friday afternoon’s second free practice session. 1996 Monaco GP winner Olivier Panis will return to frontline F1 duty in July. He will handle third-driver duties for the Toyota/Michelin team in the French GP at Magny- Cours, in place of Ricardo Zonta. The deal has been agreed on a one-off basis. Panis is contracted to do test and development work for Toyota until the end of 2006.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“This weekend’s altered qualifying system might have deprived us of an opportunity to see cars performing at their full potential – from a technical perspective, it is always interesting to see the outcome of low-fuel runs – but it is clear once again that several Michelin partners have a strong chance of victory. There remains an element of surprise, however, because fuel strategies won’t become apparent until tomorrow."

"“As yesterday’s results suggested, our ‘prime’ and ‘option’ tyres are well suited to the Nürburgring and both will be used in the race.” Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities “The forecasters initially predicted the possibility of thunderstorms tomorrow, but that seems to have abated and we anticipate fine – if slightly cooler – weather."

"Whatever happens, I am confident Michelin and its partner teams will be in good shape. The circuit here is obviously very different from Monaco a week ago, but Michelin has been able to adapt very well to a whole range of conditions this season and today’s result confirms as much.”

Sam Michael, technical director, BMW WilliamsF1 Team:

“Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber have both done excellent jobs to recover fromthe relative lack of running we had on Friday. We spent a lot of time talking to Michelin’s technicians before finalising our tyre choice and the compound we have chosen looks very solid. I’m looking forward to a very strong race tomorrow.”

-michelin-

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