Japanese GP: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying notes

Bridgestone & Ferrari Caught Out in Qualifying! Bridgestone's runners had a bitter sweet day of running as poor weather conditions played havoc with the day's events at the Suzuka Circuit. Blighted by rain in the morning practice sessions, ...

Bridgestone & Ferrari Caught Out in Qualifying!

Bridgestone's runners had a bitter sweet day of running as poor weather conditions played havoc with the day's events at the Suzuka Circuit. Blighted by rain in the morning practice sessions, Bridgestone's runners were quite at home with Minardi and Jordan's runners featuring strongly in the practice session results.

Michael Schumacher, an acknowledged master in the rain, set the fastest time in the third session while Narain Karthikeyan seemed to revel in the wet conditions and Bridgestone's extreme wet tyres to finish the fourth session in second place overall.

However, the beginning of the afternoon qualifying session brought a different set of weather and track conditions with no falling rain. Two thirds of the field completed their qualifying runs and with the exception of Robert Doornbos, who was on extreme wets, all of Bridgestone's runners were on wet tyres.

For Michael Schumacher, however, this was a case of bad timing as the rain began to fall just as he was pulling out of his Ferrari pit on his wet tyres. He did well, however, to finish in 14th place as the three drivers behind him had had the benefit of switching to extreme wets.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"We had a frustrating day today with ever changing conditions. We had heavy rain in this morning's practice sessions where we saw our extreme wet tyres perform very well. The Jordan and Minardi drivers benefited greatly from this tyre performance with Narain Karthikeyan in particular seeming to enjoy the conditions."

"Although Michael spun off in the third practice session, he had managed to set the fastest time beforehand. We are quite satisfied with our extreme wet tyre performance. Unfortunately, in qualifying, we saw a variation of weather conditions. The majority of the field ran in wet conditions but without rain."

"However, just as Michael was leaving the garage, the rain started again. He was on wet tyres but really needed extreme wets. He did his best under the circumstances and I'm pleased that he still managed to set a time ahead of those runners behind him who had the benefit of time to change to extremes. Tomorrow will be very interesting as the grid is completely mixed up. It could be an exciting race!"

Ross Brawn, Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

"There's not a lot we could have done in qualifying today. It was a lottery and we didn't pull out any of the winning tickets. For Michael especially it was very frustrating as it rained just as he was going out. He had been very quick this morning. Anyway, we shall see what happens tomorrow as we have the top drivers in the championship starting from the back of the grid."

-bridgestone-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Narain Karthikeyan , Ross Brawn , Robert Doornbos
Teams Ferrari , Minardi , Jordan