A dry, cold day for the San Marino Grand Prix qualifying session although some parts of the track were still wet from overnight rain. FIA President Max Mosley was interviewed early on: on the topic of some drivers calling for experienced people to...
A dry, cold day for the San Marino Grand Prix qualifying session although some parts of the track were still wet from overnight rain. FIA President Max Mosley was interviewed early on: on the topic of some drivers calling for experienced people to give out penalties Mosley remained resolute, saying having ex-drivers as marshals could give unfair bias. On the one engine per weekend rule Mosley was positive, saying some of the top teams can afford three engines a race weekend but it was very difficult for smaller teams to compete with that level of financial commitment. The one engine rule will help to cut costs.
McLaren's David Coulthard was guarded in his predictions for Imola, saying the team were not as competitive as they had hoped to be. Jarno Trulli was more optimistic for Renault, thinking the car is very good and he was confidant. With Imola being one of the circuits where no testing is allowed, it was an interesting qualifying session since no-one had any advantage of off season practice.
Minardi's Alex Yoong was first man on track, followed by Arrows' Enrique Bernoldi, who promptly blew up and had a very long run back to the pits. Sauber's Felipe Massa took the early pole position before being usurped by Ralf Schumacher's Williams, nearly one and a half seconds faster. In a very active qualifying session Rubens Barrichello broke the qualifying lap record, then Ralf, then Montoya, the times changing very rapidly indeed. The Michelin runners picked up the pace after being poor in yesterday's wet weather although initially McLaren were off the pace.
The Jordans of Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato were constantly in the top eight and BAR were also showing well. Barrichello set a blinding lap for provisional pole, the Ferraris untouchable for speed and reliability. Halfway through the session Alex Yoong had still not qualified in the 107%, no car problems, he was just not fast enough. Fisichella had hydraulic failure and took to the spare car while BAR and Toyota dropped off their practice pace down at the end of the grid with Minardi and Jaguar.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen spun off, seemingly pushing too hard and in the last five minutes the track temperature increased, bringing Williams and McLaren back into the picture. After Barrichello holding pole for quite a while Michael scraped past on his final lap which was right on the ragged edge; a blinder of a lap and well deserved. Final top six classification: M. Schumacher, Barrichello, R. Schumacher, Montoya, Raikkonen, Coulthard.