SCHUMACHER PICK OF THE MICHELIN BUNCH AT SUZUKA Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) secures the front row for Michelin during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix - which took place on Sunday morning because of adverse weather conditions ...
SCHUMACHER PICK OF THE MICHELIN BUNCH AT SUZUKA
Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) secures the front row for Michelin during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix - which took place on Sunday morning because of adverse weather conditions earlier in the weekend. On a drying track, the German - who only recently returned to the track in the wake of an injury-enforced layoff - clinched his first front-row start since the Canadian GP in June after lapping second fastest to brother Michael.
Mark Webber (Jaguar Racing, third) led a clutch of Michelin runners at the front of the field. He will line up ahead of Takuma Sato (B·A·R-Honda, 4th), Jenson Button (B·A·R-Honda, 5th), Jarno Trulli (sixth on his Toyota debut), David Coulthard (Team McLaren Mercedes, 8th), Jacques Villeneuve (Renault, 9th), Olivier Panis (Toyota, 10th), Fernando Alonso (Renault, 11th) and Kimi Räikkönen (Team McLaren Mercedes, 12th).
Minardi driver Zsolt Baumgartner did not participate in the second qualifying session after spinning off at Degner Curve during the first.
Felipe Massa (Sauber) failed to set a qualifying time. He aborted his lap after running through the Spoon Curve gravel trap.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"All our partners used dry-weather tyres during the decisive qualifying session. It was almost feasible to use dries towards the end of pre- qualifying, but one or two parts of the track remained definitely too marginal. The track had improved considerably by the end of the second session, but previously it was clear that Michelin's dry tyres gave teams a significant edge in cool, slightly damp conditions."
"Both of our dry-weather compounds will be used in this afternoon's race. Although they hadn't been tried prior to this morning's second session, our partners were able to make a confident choice thanks to their previous experience and our databank."
"It might have been an unusual weekend, but it has also been very interesting. We have been able to try our latest extreme wets and intermediates, which have generated good performance, and the passion of the fans for their two F1 manufacturers - Honda and Toyota - is infectious. We are proud to be associated with both projects."