MICHELIN SECURES ITS 14TH POLE OF THE SEASON Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from pole position. The Colombian lapped the historic Monza circuit in 1m 21.054s, 0.176s adrift of ...
MICHELIN SECURES ITS 14TH POLE OF THE SEASON
Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from pole position. The Colombian lapped the historic Monza circuit in 1m 21.054s, 0.176s adrift of team-mate Kimi Räikkönen, but the Finn will line up only 11th after being handed a 10- position grid penalty for an unscheduled engine change.
Michelin drivers dominated the session. World championship leader Fernando Alonso (Renault) will join Montoya at the front after posting the third fastest lap, while B*A*R-Honda team-mates Jenson Button and Takuma Sato will share row two. Michelin drivers Jarno Trulli (Toyota, fifth), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, eighth), Ralf Schumacher (Toyota, ninth) and David Coulthard (Red Bull Racing, 10th) will also start in the top 10.
Williams-BMW reserve Antonio Pizzonia has replaced regular driver Nick Heidfeld for the balance of the Italian GP weekend. The German crashed heavily during testing at Monza last weekend and was advised not to drive after yesterday's stint in the cockpit left him with a bad headache.
Michelin drivers set the pace in the final free practice sessions. Räikkönen topped the times, on 1m 20.916s. His team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya and Takuma Sato (B*A*R - Honda) completed the top three.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"Both our compounds have worked very well here, but in the end most of our partner teams have chosen to run with the same type of tyre tomorrow. Despite the heat and extreme straight-line speeds, which have a habit of increasing rear tyre temperatures, we have had no signs of undue wear or blistering."
"There have been no real shocks today, with a clutch of Michelin runners at the front. There is always the chance of the race throwing up a few surprises, of course, but come what may I know that our tyres will be in good shape for what will be the fastest race of the year."
Martin Whitmarsh, CEO Formula One, Team McLaren Mercedes:
"We had a good test before this event and worked very well with Michelin's engineers to choose suitable 'prime' and 'option' tyres. Both proved to be really good and in the end it was quite difficult to make a choice, but the one we picked was quick over a qualifying lap and we are sure it will work very well for a full race distance."
"We are comfortable with our pace and think we have a good race strategy. Michelin has been a very strong partner here - I'd like to thank them for helping us to set the two fastest times. It's a shame our cars won't line up like that, but we have tyres that are capable of winning - even if circumstances have made it difficult for one of our drivers."