Renault's Fernando Alonso took his first ever pole position in qualifying for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, the Spaniard setting a fastest of 1:37.044 ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli. Williams was the surprise of the session, Juan Pablo Montoya...
Renault's Fernando Alonso took his first ever pole position in qualifying for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, the Spaniard setting a fastest of 1:37.044 ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli. Williams was the surprise of the session, Juan Pablo Montoya only managing sixth and Ralf Schumacher not even in the top ten.
BAR's Jacques Villeneuve was next out, taking the top of the times with a 1:38.289 despite locking up into turn nine. He was eclipsed by former team mate Olivier Panis, 0.195 faster for Toyota. Ralf Schumacher was the first of the front runners, not spectacular in the first two sectors and only managed fifth behind Webber.
The Jordan of Giancarlo Fisichella was faster than Panis in the second sector but not good enough, setting the third fastest time. Cristiano da Matta made it a Toyota one-two, going second fastest behind Panis and next out was Alonso. The Spaniard was on the pace, seven tenths up on Panis, and took provisional pole with a 1:37.044, over a second quicker.
Jenson Button bettered Villeneuve, going second behind Alonso, followed on track by the Sauber duo of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nick Heidfeld. Frentzen went sixth fastest and Heidfeld put in a storming lap to take second. Jarno Trulli was next out for Renault, another very fast lap, and took the second place from Heidfeld by half a second.
A short break before the last five came out, starting with McLaren's David Coulthard. Setting the first sector time the same as Alonso, Coulthard slacked off in the last two and managed third, four tenths down. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen was very fast until he lost it going into the hairpin and only went fifth.
Juan Pablo Montoya was slower than the Renaults in the early part of his flying lap and couldn't catch up, going sixth, which left the Ferraris last to run. Rubens Barrichello was first out, 0.1 down on Alonso in the first sector and the same in the second, fourth quickest. Michael Schumacher just couldn't pull it off and clocked third quickest, leaving Fernando Alonso on his first ever pole position.
Not only was it his first pole, at 21 years old Alonso is the youngest ever driver to qualify front of the grid and also the first Spaniard to be on pole position.
So, a Renault front row for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli alongside Fernando. How it will translate in the race is yet to be seen; Renault obviously ran a light fuel load today but a good start tomorrow could see a podium finish. However, Ferrari and McLaren are looking fast although Williams were disappointing, Ralf Schumacher a lowly seventeenth. Final top eight classification: Alonso, Trulli, M. Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello, Heidfeld, Raikkonen, Montoya.