Qualifying was disappointing for Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda, Jarno Trulli claiming eighth place on the grid, Heinz-Harald Frentzen setting 13th fastest time after spinning off on his last lap. "It was a very tough qualifying just as I ...
Qualifying was disappointing for Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda, Jarno Trulli claiming eighth place on the grid, Heinz-Harald Frentzen setting 13th fastest time after spinning off on his last lap.
"It was a very tough qualifying just as I expected," said Trulli. "I'm a bit disappointed, but I had a feeling from the morning that we weren't really, really competitive. Unfortunately, the car didn't feel that good with the tyres we ran; we knew that we were going to struggle because the car felt very nervous. Anyway, I'm on the fourth row and I hope to build a good race from there. As you know, anything can happen during 78 laps in Monte Carlo!"
Frentzen lost more than 30 minutes of track time during morning practice when his car ground to a halt with a hydraulics problem. The failure cut into time which should have been spent continuing the search for the best set-up on the EJ11 for qualifying. In the end, Frentzen had throw caution to the wind and go for a time.
"I was pushing really, really hard on my last lap," said Frentzen. "Unfortunately, I lost control going into Portier and I'm really annoyed about that. The car felt good to drive. Of course, I could have done with the extra set-up time lost this morning, but that's not an excuse; it's just that it didn't help too much. I obviously feel I could be further up the grid, so it's going to be a tough race. Finishing is a major challenge, never mind anything else, and I'm looking forward to it. You never give up until the end of the last lap here."
"The track got quicker as time went on and more rubber went down," said Trevor Foster, Managing Director, Jordan Grand Prix. "Unfortunately, Jarno got baulked by a slow car on his last run. I think it was one of the Ferraris but, whoever it was, it cost Jarno two or three tenths of a second.
"Heinz spun when braking for Portier, the corner before the tunnel. That lap had been quick, his quickest, in fact until that point but it meant he couldn't complete his last lap. That's the problem with Monaco; if you don't get all your runs in, you have less chance of getting the time you need and Heinz is paying the price.
"Overall, the cars haven't been too bad. The drivers have been complaining that the cars are a bit too nervous; it is difficult to get a good balance round here. That said, we should have done a bit better and we missed our opportunities."
The battle for pole turned out to be a dramatic three-cornered fight between Michael Schumacher's Ferrari and the McLarens of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. In the closing minute of qualifying, Coulthard leapt from fourth on the grid to take pole from Schumacher, sandwiching the Ferrari between the two McLarens.