The first phase of qualifying at Monza got underway this afternoon with drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson starting their qualifying runs from 9th and 18th places respectively. Mark had a trouble-free run and was rewarded with an excellent 6th...
The first phase of qualifying at Monza got underway this afternoon with drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson starting their qualifying runs from 9th and 18th places respectively. Mark had a trouble-free run and was rewarded with an excellent 6th fastest time -- ahead of both Renaults and the McLaren of David Coulthard. Mark's time was exactly the same as fifth placed man Kimi Raikkonen -- 1m21.966s -- with Kimi retaining 5th place because he posted the time before Mark.
Justin, however, didn't fair as well and had to settle for 15th place. The two-hour morning test session was compromised for Justin who suffered from a transmission problem that cost him mileage and his Free Practice was also cut short with an engine failure. In the end, Justin had to settle for half the number of laps in the Free Practice session compared to Mark who completed 22.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:
"We undertook an extensive tyre comparison programme during the two-hour test this morning and also worked on race preparation. We achieved a good number of laps and achieved some pleasing mechanical set-up work. Unfortunately, we suffered from a gearbox problem on Justin's car. The problem was corrected quickly and he went into the Free Practice session using his racecar that then suffered an engine problem during Free Practice."
"All in all, he has not exactly had a smooth build-up to qualifying and suffered accordingly. Mark, however, did a superb job in qualifying and much better than we expected given that all the teams tested here last week for three days -- and four in the case of some. We will now focus all our efforts on race preparation and strategy. On behalf of everyone at Jaguar Racing, I would also like to add that Michelin's support and responsiveness in recent days has been nothing short of magnificent. A great job all-round considering that they partner five teams."
"I had a rather difficult morning in preparation for qualifying and I am surprised at having secured 6th place today. The track is certainly a lot slower than when we tested here last week and while it's pleasing to have posted the 6th fastest time today, my focus is firmly on Sunday's race. That was a good lap but the wind here is a problem. The cars are running in downforce trim and you really feel it in Ascari and through the Parabolica corners."
"It also takes a while to arrive in 7th gear as you head towards the first chicane and judging the exact braking point is tough -- as we saw with Ralf Schumacher today. It's not easy! The one-lap pace is something we are usually very strong at but we have a fair deal of work ahead of us if we are to remain competitive over a race distance."
"A frustrating day that hasn't ended too well for me. My morning sessions were both compromised with a gearbox problem during the two-hour test and an engine problem in Free Practice. The track is slower and feels different to when we tested last week and I didn't get any low fuel runs prior to qualifying. This hindered me considerably, especially when it comes to understanding the limit of the car and tyres. Nonetheless, Friday qualifying means little and there is still ample time in which to make a difference this weekend."
Best time: 1:21.966
Best time: 1:23.609