Indianapolis (September 28, 2002) - The Ferrari team of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will start one-two in Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After topping both free practice sessions on Friday, ...
Indianapolis (September 28, 2002) - The Ferrari team of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will start one-two in Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After topping both free practice sessions on Friday, Michael Schumacher continued to set the best lap of the day, qualifying his Scuderia Ferrari on the pole with a lap timed at 1:10.790.
Despite slowing for a yellow condition in sector two, Schumacher's fifth lap in the session put the five-time World Champion on the pole for sixth time this season.
"I aborted my first run, because I went a bit wide at the first turn and went onto the grass," said Schumacher. "Maybe I could have been a bit quicker because on my best run I had to back off for yellows in the second sector."
Schumacher's third consecutive pole at Indianapolis marked the team's ninth pole of the season.
Rubens Barrichello, who recorded the fastest speed in the speed trap during qualifying, will start alongside his Ferrari teammate on the front row. Barrichello set his best lap during his second flyer, stopping the clocks at 1:11.058.
During Friday's free practice, Barrichello spun on his first tour of the circuit, making hard contact with the outside retaining wall. Barrichello was uninjured but his Ferrari suffered heavy damage and the Brazilian was unable to return to the circuit.
"Obviously, after yesterday, I was playing catch-up a little but I'm quite happy," said Barrichello. "It was quite difficult out there because the balance seemed different from run to run. But at the end of the day, we are here in first and second, so that's good."
Schumacher later explained the differences in the balance of the car as a reaction to changes in the wind.
McLaren driver David Coulthard nipped Juan Pablo Montoya by 0.001 seconds on the last lap of the session to qualify third. Montoya posted his best lap of the session during his first run and was not able to improve.
Montoya, who complained about the balance of his BMW-powered Williams, said he couldn't match the speed of the Ferraris. "Tomorrow we'll try to beat McLaren," he said. "It's not disappointing. It's the way it is at the moment, and we have to deal with it.
"Tomorrow I am starting my race from the dirty side of the track and this is not really helpful. But this is racing."
Montoya qualified 0.173 seconds ahead of his Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher, who will start fifth. "The two of us are very close together, but we weren't close to the first two teams," said Schumacher. "To get beaten by McLaren is certainly a surprise to us."
Another surprise was Eddie Irvine in the Jaguar. After setting the second fastest lap of the day on Friday, Irvine qualified a disappointing 13th. "We just lost a lot of grip," said Irvine. Despite trimming nearly two seconds from his best time on Friday, Irvine was unable to qualify in the top-ten.
"The temperature was low this morning, and the car had grip," said Irvine who was third fastest this morning at 1:11.688. "We looked at Williams, McLaren to be ahead of them. We have overheated our tire and I am seven tenths slower than I was this morning. It's very frustrating.
"Sometimes we make a big step forward when the temperature goes up. Today, we made a big step backward. We're just going to have a fun day tomorrow."
Notes from the SAP United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Interested spectators at this weekend's event included drivers Sarah Fisher, Helio Castroneves, Gil de Ferran, Greg Ray, Alex Barron, Robbie Buhl, P.J. Jones, Bruno Junqueira, and Bryan Herta. Also visiting the paddock were team owner Carl Haas, former team owner John Della Penna and prospective team owner Mario Andretti.
Helio Castroneves was very pleased with his performance in a recent Formula One test with the Toyota team at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. After one of his runs, Castroneves said he returned the car to the pits to find the Toyota crew applauding and shouting "Spiderman!" Although he was pleased with his performance, Castroneves became disappointed after learning the test was not to select a driver for 2003 grand prix season.