Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Michelin snatch Monaco pole Juan Pablo Montoya gave the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Michelin their second pole position of the season with a stunning last-minute lap in Monaco after the season's most ...
Juan Pablo Montoya, BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Michelin snatch Monaco pole
Juan Pablo Montoya gave the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and Michelin their second pole position of the season with a stunning last-minute lap in Monaco after the season's most exciting qualifying session to date. The Colombian lapped in 1m 16.676s to pip closest rival David Coulthard (McLaren-Mercedes/Michelin) by 0.392 seconds. "My car felt really good," Montoya said. "Every change we have made this weekend has made it better. Getting a traffic-free lap here is very difficult but I was l ucky to get a clear run at the end and that was a big help."
It is the fifth pole position of his grand prix career and starting first at Monaco is more vital than at any other circuit because overtaking is almost impossible at F1's tightest track. Tomorrow he will be trying to reduce his 27-point deficit to world c hampionship leader Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), who qualified third. The German was troubled by sore eyes after a piece of grit worked its way into one of them during one of his qualifying runs.
It was a successful day for Michelin, whose partner teams occupied all but two of the top 10 places on the grid. Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) briefly headed the timesheets but was eventually forced to settle for fourth. Jarno Trulli (Renault F1) w as fastest throughout free practice on Thursday and Saturday morning, but he was unable to maintain that and slipped to sixth, which equals his best qualifying performance of the season. Kimi Räikkönen (West McLaren-Mercedes) lines up seventh, despite dama ging his car when he crashed during the morning, Jenson Button (Renault F1) is eighth and the Toyotas of Mika Salo and Allan McNish are ninth and 10th. It was an impressive effort by the Scot, who has never raced in Monaco before.
Mark Webber (KL Minardi-Asiatech, 19th) led the remaining Michelin runners, ahead of Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar Racing, 20th), Eddie Irvine (Jaguar Racing, 21st) and Alex Yoong (KL Minardi-Asiatech, 2nnd). Irvine qualified his spare car after suspension fail ure caused him to crash heavily during the morning. That incident left oil on the track and caused Webber, too, to snag the barriers. Yoong had to qualify Minardi's spare car after crashing his own right at the start of the session.
Michelin's day, Pierre DuPasquier
This is traditionally a one-stop race. How confident are you that the tyre will last stints of 40 laps or more?
"Very. I don't have the slightest worry at all about durability. Some sets of tyres have already completed about 40 laps in total this weekend and we have seen nothing to make us concerned about wear rate in the race."
Do you think this marks a turning point after your recent lean period?
"We'll see. One must never become complacent. All today's result shows is that we have developed a very good tyre for Monaco. Sometimes you go to an event and find out that your hard tyre is too hard or your soft is too soft, at other times you hit the swe et spot. Our partners and us are looking very well here in Monaco which does not mean that we will be able to do as well on others circuits."
How do you feel about tomorrow's race?
"The track is so tight and difficult in Monaco that anything can happen - everybody knows that. I feel very confident, however, that our tyres will be in good shape and I am pleased to see that several of our partner teams are fighting at the front and hav e a strong possibility of scoring points tomorrow. It shows that they are performing well and that we are working well together."