French GP: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying notes

Bridgestone teams dominate French GP qualifying Bridgestone's teams had their best qualifying performance yet this season at a scorching Magny- Cours circuit in France when Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa claimed...

Bridgestone teams dominate French GP qualifying

Bridgestone's teams had their best qualifying performance yet this season at a scorching Magny- Cours circuit in France when Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa claimed the front row of the grid with their third one-two qualifying result this season. Joining them in the top five was Panasonic Toyota Racing's Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher who posted the fourth and fifth fastest times of the final qualifying shoot-out.

Although Renault's Fernando Alonso finished third in the final qualifying session, the Bridgestone runners actually set the top four overall fastest times of qualifying. WilliamsF1's Nico Rosberg was a strong ninth although he has a tough race ahead of him tomorrow as an engine change earlier in the day will see him drop back ten places on the grid.

Of the remaining Bridgestone runners Mark Webber was 11th fastest, MF1 Racing's Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro 16th and 20th respectively while Frenchman Franck Montagny just out qualified his Super Aguri F1 teammate, Takuma Sato, for 20th place. Michael Schumacher's pole today was the 94th pole for Bridgestone since entering in 1997.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager - Bridgestone Motorsport:

"Track conditions for this morning's third free practice were not ideal because of last night's rain but fortunately it cleaned up quickly enabling the Bridgestone teams to finalise their tyre choices before qualifying. This afternoon then brought very pleasing results with four Bridgestone runners qualifying in the top five."

"The Ferrari's had another excellent one-two and the Toyota pair looked very strong in fourth and fifth. Nico Rosberg also did well to make it into the final shoot-out. It was a good indicator of the performance of our tyres this weekend and how they can work when teams have a complete package."

"Between them, a range of specifications have been chosen by our teams this weekend. Temperatures are extremely hot here and conditions will be tough tomorrow so it won't be an easy race to win but I think our teams are looking competitive and we shall discuss with them overnight how to make the best of their tyres in relation to their race strategies."

Bridgestone Team News

Ross Brawn, Technical Director Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

"That was a very exciting qualifying session and vindication of the progress Bridgestone has made with the tyres. We saw in Indianapolis how strong the tyres were and that has continued here which is very encouraging. We also have some useful aerodynamic upgrades this weekend. For tomorrow's race the consistency of the tyres will be important. We will now do our calculations based on qualifying and decide what strategy to run tomorrow."

Pascal Vasselon, Senior General Manager Chassis Panasonic Toyota Racing:

"We are obviously happy with our Bridgestone tyres here and our tyre choice today. We knew from practice yesterday that we had no problems with consistency. Now, after today's qualifying sessions we have shown that the first lap pace was there as well. So we can look forward to an interesting Sunday."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , Franck Montagny , Fernando Alonso , Ross Brawn , Christijan Albers , Felipe Massa , Tiago Monteiro , Nico Rosberg
Teams Ferrari , Williams , Toyota Racing , Super Aguri F1