Unlike Friday's dramatic wet-dry session, today's final qualifying for the Grand Prix of Europe, run in overcast but dry conditions, was an altogether more predictable affair. Struggling to find grip around the twists and turns of the Nurburgring,...
Unlike Friday's dramatic wet-dry session, today's final qualifying for the Grand Prix of Europe, run in overcast but dry conditions, was an altogether more predictable affair. Struggling to find grip around the twists and turns of the Nurburgring, European Minardi Cosworth drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson nonetheless pushed their cars to the maximum over the one-lap qualifying runs.
When the dust had settled, the experienced Dutchman had edged out his British team mate by just over a tenth of a second, the pair eventually claiming 18th and 19th places on the grid for tomorrow's race.
The team made useful progress during the morning's two 45-minute practice sessions, although Verstappen did lose some time while a problem with his car's wiring loom was rectified. The Dutchman, who will celebrate a motor racing milestone tomorrow when he makes his 100th Grand Prix start, may get his wish for a "dry" race, as the latest weather forecasts for the Eifel region of Germany suggest that it will be warm and sunny.
"This morning, in the second session, we were struggling a little to find a good set-up, and then we lost some track time with a wiring loom problem just while we were trying different wing configurations. We then went in a direction with the chassis for the warm-up session that didn't really work, but we sorted it out for qualifying and the car was definitely better. I was reasonably happy with my lap time this afternoon considering the fuel load. This race track is obviously harder for us than the last one. We need more downforce to improve our lap times here."
"I'm fairly pleased with today's performance. I lost out a bit to Jos in the first sector of the lap, but we are running different wing levels. Overall, I've been able to push Jos a bit today, so I'm pleased with that. The car is well enough balanced now, but we are just lacking grip here. I'm happy with our strategy for tomorrow and we'll see how things go in the race."
Paul Stoddart, Team Principal - European Minardi Cosworth:
"It was slightly disappointing not to be able to repeat our performance of yesterday; however, it is clear that Minardi currently needs wet conditions to show its true potential. As usual, both drivers gave 100 per cent, and we'll just have to wait until tomorrow's race to see if we can take something positive away from this weekend."
Time: 1min 36.318 secs
Time: 1min 36.485secs