Italian Bridgestone Qualifying Report

In temperatures of more than 30 degrees at Monza, Mika Hakkinen recorded what he regards as his best pole position of the 1999 season. A huge crowd of fans applauded the Finn as he improved his times on each of his three runs: he will start ...

In temperatures of more than 30 degrees at Monza, Mika Hakkinen recorded what he regards as his best pole position of the 1999 season. A huge crowd of fans applauded the Finn as he improved his times on each of his three runs: he will start tomorrow's race from the best position on the grid for the 11th time in this season's 13 races. David Coulthard, Hakkinen's team mate at McLaren-Mercedes, was baulked several times in heavy traffic and was forced to accept 3rd place on the grid behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen, back on top form for Jordan-Mugen/Honda.

Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "As we had anticipated, the Medium compound was the popular choice for qualifying and the race. It was after we experienced some blistering on the Soft compound during the test here in July that we decided to bring the Hard and Medium compound for this GP. Although there is a greater tendency towards degradation on the rear tyres rather than the fronts, the degree of degradation will be mainly a consequence of the different set-ups chosen by each team. For tomorrow, because we have seen a comparatively low rate of degradation on the compounds in use here, we believe that the majority of the drivers will choose a one-stop strategy for the GP.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director, Jordan Grand Prix: "With the Medium compound performing so well, choosing which Bridgestone tyre to use has been easy. I expect the race strategy to be equally predictable, with most teams preparing to make only one stop. Both of our drivers have reported that their cars have been well balanced all weekend, and with a one-stop strategy we think we are well placed to take a good result on a track where we have traditionally performed well and know we can stop late. I suspect that this is going to be a rather monotonous race, but when you're starting from 2nd place on the grid you don't usually choose a word like 'boring' to describe a race in which you hope to do well."

Patrick Head, Technical Director, Williams Grand Prix: "We have followed the indications that we had in testing last week and chosen the softer of the two tyres on offer here. This Medium tyre has shown itself to be very stable, with lap times getting faster and faster as the fuel levels come down. Because of this, I am expecting virtually everyone to make only one stop tomorrow. It is particularly pleasing for us to see Alex starting right up there on the grid in 4th place, on a circuit he loves. OK, it has taken rather a long time for him to get there, but we saw at Spa that Alex has now made a proper return to F1. I am hoping that he will be able to make his mark from this point onwards. Let's not forget Ralf in 5th place, who has contributed to our two best qualifying positions so far this year being recorded here. Both drivers felt that the car was stable under braking and very capable over the kerbs: those are two of the most important factors in getting round this circuit quickly. To be starting from grid positions which give us an opportunity to race well makes us feel we have a good opportunity tomorrow, although we have to hope for some problems among the cars around us in order to move up any further."

TEMPERATURES            AIR             TRACK   WEATHER 
Morning                 22º-25º         24º-29º Sunny - dry     
Afternoon               27º-28º         35º-37º Sunny - dry 

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Patrick Head , Mike Gascoyne
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Jordan