Japanese GP: Bridgestone Saturday notes

Ferrari front row for Bridgestone's 100th race Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello drove a dream qualifying for Bridgestone with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro duo claiming the front row of the grid for the tyre supplier's 100th grand prix...

Ferrari front row for Bridgestone's 100th race

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello drove a dream qualifying for Bridgestone with the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro duo claiming the front row of the grid for the tyre supplier's 100th grand prix since 1997. Michael was rarely in doubt to claim pole position and bettered his lap time with each of his three flying laps. A determined Rubens continued to fight to maintain his early second place next to his team-mate, eventually confirming his front row place for tomorrow's grand prix with a 1:31.749.

After the Ferraris, the drive of the day went to Takuma Sato who claimed a superb 7th place on the grid for DHL Jordan Honda in front of his home fans. Five of the top ten cars were on Bridgestone tyres.

Unfortunate circumstances meant the qualifying hour was more like two sessions in one. A violent accident involving Allan McNish just over half way through the session caused a 75-minute delay while the barrier through which his Toyota crashed, and destroyed, was replaced. He was able to walk away from the wreckage.

Luca Baldisserri, Race Engineer, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

"It was a good day today, certainly better than yesterday. We set up the car very well for Michael today and he was very happy with it. He did only three runs out of four to save tyres which is important for the race. Rubens did a fantastic job and at the end managed to stay in front of the McLarens. The Bridgestone tyres were good in qualifying and should be fine for the race too, so we are looking forward to tomorrow."

Takuma Sato, DHL Jordan Honda

"I feel really fantastic! The fans pushed me a lot today, I could feel them supporting me and that was a great feeling. My mechanics did a super job because we had a problem this morning but they managed to get me out for the last 15 minutes of practice. The car was great to drive, the Bridgestone tyres were really good and I made no mistakes on the last run - everything came together. It's going to be a tough race up front but I will do my best and try to get some points."

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport

"This track is quite long but there are very few opportunities for overtaking so qualifying position is very important. Therefore, I am very pleased for our teams today because most of our drivers will start from strong positions. In particular, I am happy for Takuma who did a great job for his first home grand prix. I am quite confident for tomorrow because our tyre performance was encouraging today and should be competitive for Bridgestone's 100th grand prix."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Allan McNish , Luca Baldisserri
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Jordan