Fisichella retains pole for Australian GP

Fisichella retains pole for Australian GP

Giancarlo Fisichella carried through his pole position from Saturday to Sunday qualifying and will start the Australian Grand Prix from the front of the grid. The Renault driver set an aggregate time from both sessions of 3:01.460. Toyota's Jarno...

Giancarlo Fisichella carried through his pole position from Saturday to Sunday qualifying and will start the Australian Grand Prix from the front of the grid. The Renault driver set an aggregate time from both sessions of 3:01.460. Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Williams' Mark Webber also held their places from Saturday to line up for the race second and third respectively.

Pole winner Giancarlo Fisichella celebrates.
Photo by xpb.cc.

After the weather disruption in qualifying on Saturday, Sunday was overcast but dry for the second session. Sauber's Felipe Massa was due to run first but the team decided not to bother, as he didn't set a time yesterday and would more than likely be starting from the back anyway.

BAR's Takuma Sato, who also failed to set a time in the first session, only did an out lap before returning to the garage -- both Sauber and BAR apparently went for the option of conserving the engines and tyres for the race for those drivers.

Ferrari followed suit with Michael Schumacher, who was last of the drivers who set a time in first qualifying, as the German too only did an out lap before heading back to the pits. Finally Toyota's Ralf Schumacher put in the first flyer and clocked an overall time of 3:22.717. (All times given are aggregate from both qualifying sessions.)

Minardi's Patrick Friesacher was five seconds down and teammate Christijan Albers was due out next. The Minardi had a gear selection problem and by the time Albers got out of the garage he had missed the green light, so could not take his lap. What with one thing or another, second qualifying did not get off to a very good start.

Fernando Alonso was the next man to put in a flyer and the Renault took provisional pole by over five seconds, 3:17.466. The first Jordan was Tiago Monteiro and he sprung a surprise by going ahead of Ralf by a couple of seconds. Rubens Barrichello followed on and his Ferrari was sixth tenths up on Alonso, 3:16.822.

Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren was next to provisional pole, two seconds up on Barrichello with a 3:14.645. The Colombian's teammate Kimi Raikkonen was quicker still until a brief trip over the grass at turn 12 and had to settle for second, nine tenths off Montoya.

The second Jordan of Narain Karthikeyan also sprung a surprise by going ahead of Alonso for fourth -- was Jordan running a very light fuel load? Jenson Button's BAR flew round and took provisional pole by over two seconds, 3:12.128.However, the top drivers from session one were still to come and would benefit from their good times yesterday.

Nick Heidfeld posted 3:09.130 in the Williams, three seconds up on provisional pole and David Coulthard led out for Red Bull, 3:07.213 for the Scot. His teammate Christian Klien was just a couple of tenths astray to slot into second. Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve, who was fourth on Saturday, took over at the top with a 3:06.846.

The second Williams of Webber gave the Aussie fans something to cheer about when he clocked 3:04.996 but Trulli ousted him with a 3:04.429. Last man to run was Fisichella and, unsurprisingly, he consolidated his best time yesterday to remain on pole with an aggregate time of 3:01.460. It's the Italian's second career pole position.

The rain problems yesterday certainly made for an unusual overall result today. The top four were really no surprise given their time advantage from yesterday and the Red Bull duo completing the top six is a nice start for the new team. Heidfeld and Button retained their seventh and eighth places while the McLaren pair moved up a couple of slots to round off the top ten.

The Jordans were the surprise of the session, 12th and 14th for Karthikeyan and Monteiro respectively, while Toyota, Renault and Ferrari maintained the split results they had on Saturday. The driver who actually set the fastest lap in this session was Webber. An interesting line up for the first race of the season but, of course, this afternoon is when it really counts.

Toyota, Sauber and Red Bull are near the sharp end of the grid for the start, but it seems unlikely that they will stay there with McLarens, Ferraris and BARs behind them. The aggregate times make it hard to tell who's really on the pace so it should be an interesting race.

Of the four drivers who did not set a time, Michael and Sato both had a precautionary engine change prior to this session, therefore they start behind Albers and Massa. Final top eight classification: Fisichella, Trulli, Webber, Villeneuve, Coulthard, Klien, Heidfeld, Button.

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