Ferrari invincible in Spanish GP qualifying

Ferrari invincible in Spanish GP qualifying

In dry, fair conditions Ferrari took the front row of the grid with ease in today's qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher claiming yet another pole position. Michael Schumacher. Photo by Ferrari Media ...

In dry, fair conditions Ferrari took the front row of the grid with ease in today's qualifying session for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher claiming yet another pole position.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.
Not a surprising result for many; speaking before the session BMW Motorsport director Gerhard Berger was not predicting a fight with the Scuderia: "This is a difficult circuit for us," he said of Williams and the Circuit de Catalunya. "We've have been struggling a little but we haven't shown everything we have. We can improve. We can't compete with Ferrari but we should be the best Michelin team."

Renault's Jarno Trulli was the first man on track, setting a provisional pole of 1:19.168 in the T-car after some dissatisfaction with his race car so far during the weekend. Alex Yoong took to the circuit with his Minardi making an appalling noise, an engine misfire causing him to come straight back in again. Arrows' Enrique Bernoldi briefly took pole, followed by Sauber's Felipe Massa being the first into the 1.18s, then team mate Nick Heidfeld went fastest in a new qualifying lap record.

Over the next couple of laps the times fell very fast -- David Coulthard put in an aggressive opening lap in the McLaren, Williams' Ralf Schumacher dropped it down into the 1.17s and Rubens Barrichello pulled out a stunning 1.16.933 in the Ferrari to take provisional pole. Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams failed at the entrance of the pit lane leaving him to run for the spare car after just one lap. Michael Schumacher went second fastest, even the reigning champion couldn't budge Barrichello for a while.

Allan McNish had the first of two incidents: going wide at turn 12 the rear of the car caught the gravel and he spun backwards into the entrance of the pit lane. Amazingly, not only did he manage to keep it off the wall, he executed a very neat 360 turn to get the car out of trouble and pointing the right way back into the pits. With 20 minutes to go Jenson Button finally took to the track and slotted into sixth on his first flying lap.

Afternoon session about to start.
Photo by Jaguar Racing.
The second incident was Yoong: in a repeat of what happened to team mate Mark Webber in practice, he suffered front wing failure. Running wide onto the kerb the wing -- which should have withstood what was minimal rough treatment -- came off and went underneath the car then flew out behind to land in the middle of the track. Where Webber's wing collapsed, Yoong's appeared to shear off where it joined the nose cone. The session was red flagged briefly while the marshals cleared the track and Yoong managed to get back to the pits.

When the session restarted Michael had a few small adjustments to his front and rear wings then went out to hammer home a 1:16.690 to take pole position from Barrichello in the final minutes; three tenths of a second faster and two seconds faster than last year's pole time. In the very last minutes Montoya finally got it together for fourth behind Ralf and Trulli up into ninth.

No surprises were sprung from the rest of the field although Arrows' Heinz-Harald Frentzen produced a creditable tenth. Final top six classification: M. Schumacher, Barrichello, R. Schumacher, Montoya, Raikkonen, Button.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jaguar Racing