German GP: Michelin Saturday qualifying notes

Michelin the dominant force for second straight day in Germany Last year's qualifying king Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) annexed pole position for the first time this year with an inch-perfect performance at Hockenheim. The...

Michelin the dominant force for second straight day in Germany

Last year's qualifying king Juan Pablo Montoya (BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin) annexed pole position for the first time this year with an inch-perfect performance at Hockenheim. The Colombian headed team-mate Ralf Schumacher as the Williams-BMWs locked out the front row for the third time in five races. Both drivers are gunning to reduce Ferrari star Michael Schumacher's world championship advantage. The German will start his home race from sixth on the grid, three places behind team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

"It has taken a long time to get my first pole of the season" Montoya said," but I'm very pleased. The car is working well and I think it will be in good shape for the race, too."

It was another impressive day for Michelin and all but one of its partner drivers will line up in the top 12. Jarno Trulli (Renault, third) was best of the rest, from Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes, fifth), Olivier Panis (Toyota, seventh), Fernando Alonso (Renault, eighth), Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, 10th) and David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes, 10th). Da Matta did well to retain control at the end of the lap, when he ran wide onto the grass and ended up zig-zagging across the finishing line. It has been a difficult day for Coulthard, who has qualified in the top six on only four occasions this season. The Scot lost vital track time this morning when he crashed at the Sachskurve during the final free practice session.

Jaguar star Mark Webber (11th) was on course for another strong qualifying lap until he made a couple of mistakes in the final sector. New boy Justin Wilson (15th) rounded off the Michelin challenge. After a stunning first day with the team, when he set seventh fastest time, the Englishman had a few minor problems during this morning's final free practice session. He missed the final few minutes after hitting and killing a pigeon that had landed on the track.

Michelin's day: Pierre Dupasquier -- Michelin Motorsport Director

MICHELIN CLINCHES SIXTH POLE OF THE SEASON
BMW WilliamsF1 Team/Michelin drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher dominated qualifying for the German Grand Prix the third time in the past five races that they have locked out the front row of the grid. It is the Colombian driver's first pole of the season and Michelin's sixth. It was another dominant day for the Clermont-Ferrand company and its partner teams: all but one Michelin driver will start in the top 11 for tomorrow's race.

Jarno Trulli (Renault, fourth), Kimi Räikkönen (McLaren-Mercedes, fifth), Olivier Panis (Toyota, seventh), Fernando Alonso (Renault, eighth), Cristiano da Matta (Toyota, ninth), David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes, 10th), Mark Webber (Jaguar, 11th) and Justin Wilson (Jaguar, 16th) will line up behind the pace-setting Williams-BMWs. Michelin motorsport director

Pierre Dupasquier said:" This was another fantastic performance by Michelin's partners. It is very rewarding to see them all looking so strong. This has consistently been the pattern for the past five or six grands prix."

SOME LIKE IT HOT
Drivers have coped with ultra-hot track temperatures during the first two days of the German GP and the weather threatens to be even fiercer for tomorrow's 67-lap race. Traditionally, such conditions can take their toll on tyres but Pierre Dupasquier is unconcerned. He said:" It will be a tough race tomorrow but there are a number of reasons for that. The conditions will make it physically hard for drivers, but they can handle the heat and so can our tyres. I have no fears about wear rates I don't expect they were a factor when teams were calculating their race strategies. It is feasible that teams might stop two or three times but if any of them wanted to stop only once our tyres would be durable enough to cope."

DOUBLE DEUTSCH
Michelin is using two dry-weather compounds this weekend and partner teams have chosen to use both in the German Grand Prix. Pierre Dupasquier said:" They will perform slightly differently in the race and that will depend on the heat and the manner in which the track evolves during the next 24 hours. Both, however, have proved to be very suitable for the conditions we have encountered so far this weekend."

-michelin-

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