French GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

ALONSO TAKES SECOND STRAIGHT FRENCH GP POLE FOR MICHELIN Fernando Alonso (Renault) will spearhead the Michelin challenge in tomorrow& ...

ALONSO TAKES SECOND STRAIGHT FRENCH GP POLE FOR MICHELIN

Fernando Alonso (Renault) will spearhead the Michelin challenge in tomorrow’s French Grand Prix after securing his second consecutive Formula One pole position at Magny-Cours. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 14.412s – the fastest time seen at the Nevers track so far this weekend – to pip Jarno Trulli (Toyota/Michelin) by just 0.109s.

Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) completed an all-Michelin top three, but he has been penalised 10 grid positions in the wake of an unscheduled engine change and will thus line up only 13th. Alonso’s pole is the 92nd in Michelin’s illustrious F1 history and maintains the company’s 100 per cent record for the season.

Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda) was fifth fastest – and best of the remaining Michelin drivers – ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, seventh), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, eighth), Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes, ninth), Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas, 10th), Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber- Petronas, 11th), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota, 12th), Mark Webber (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 13th), Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 14th), David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 15th) and Christian Klien (Red Bull Racing, 16th).

This morning’s third free practice session got off to a damp start and only nine drivers completed flying laps. Running on wet-weather tyres, Renault/Michelin drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella set the two fastest times. Fisichella was quickest in the following final free practice, which ended in dry conditions.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

“Our partners have performed extremely well since the start of the weekend and today’s result is a source of great satisfaction for the whole Michelin team."

"This morning’s rain affected the track a little. When conditions dried out, lap times weren’t particularly slower than before but the circuit became more abrasive, so one or two teams briefly had graining problems although this was to be expected. Conditions have since stabilised and I think we will be in excellent shape for tomorrow’s race.”

Nick Shorrock, director of Michelin F1 activities:

“Our preparations were knocked slightly out of step by this morning’s rain, but it was nice to have an opportunity to try our wet-weather products. They performed very well, although it was difficult to make many valid comparisons because relatively few cars did any serious running."

"Our partners have chosen to use three of Michelin’s four available dry-weather tyres in tomorrow’s race. These all delivered exactly the results we expected in terms of performance and durability. Once again, it was gratifying to see Michelin’s tyres working so effectively on a wide variety of chassis.”

Team perspective:
Bob Bell, technical director (chassis), Renault F1:

“Our tyres have performed extremely well this weekend. Michelin brought two very well-chosen compounds, in terms of both performance and durability. They’ve delivered all we could have asked for.”

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Red Bull Racing , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams