German GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

MONTOYA SECURES FRONT-ROW SLOT FOR MICHELIN Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) boosted his chances of securing a second consecutive Hockenheim victory after qualifying on the front row of the grid for the German Grand Prix. After...

MONTOYA SECURES FRONT-ROW SLOT FOR MICHELIN

Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) boosted his chances of securing a second consecutive Hockenheim victory after qualifying on the front row of the grid for the German Grand Prix. After setting the pace during pre-qualifying, the Colombian lapped in 1m 13.668s during the decisive session to be second fastest behind world championship leader Michael Schumacher, who has taken the 61st pole position of his F1 career.

Little more than half a second covered the top six drivers and several of Michelin's partners will be in contention tomorrow. Jenson Button (B*A*R- Honda) was third fastest, although a 10-position penalty - for an engine change yesterday - will drop him to 13th on the grid.

Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes) thus starts third ahead of team-mate David Coulthard (fourth), Fernando Alonso (Renault, fifth), Jarno Trulli (Renault, sixth), Takuma Sato (B*A*R-Honda, eighth), Olivier Panis (Panasonic Toyota Racing, ninth) and Antonio Pizzonia (BMW WilliamsF1 Team, 10th).

Jenson Button isn't the only B*A*R-Honda driver to have endured a troubled build-up to the race. His team-mate Takuma crashed in this morning's opening free practice session and had to sit out the second.

Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:

"This has been an interesting - and productive - qualifying session. Despite being cleaned overnight by heavy rain, the circuit has not thrown up any nasty surprises and has evolved in a predictable manner. Our six partner teams have opted to use two different dry-weather compounds and these have been exceptionally consistent, as well as fast."

"It is gratifying that Williams is challenging at the front of the field once again, that McLaren has maintained its recent run of strong form and that Toyota has taken a step forward with its updated car, which hadn't turned a wheel in anger before this weekend."

"Looking at the difference in lap times between some team-mates, I think we can expect to see a mixture of two- and three-stop strategies tomorrow. It promises to be an open race. Michelin dominated this event last season - when we took a clean sweep of the top six - and I believe several of our partners will be strong contenders tomorrow."

-michelin-

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