Monte Carlo, Saturday, May 15, 1999 -- Jacques Villeneuve starts Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix on the fourth row of the grid after turning in a best lap time of one minute, 21.827 seconds in qualifying today, good for eighth position overall.
Monte Carlo, Saturday, May 15, 1999 -- Jacques Villeneuve starts Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix on the fourth row of the grid after turning in a best lap time of one minute, 21.827 seconds in qualifying today, good for eighth position overall. Team-mate Mika Salo qualified an encouraging 12th, despite a morning practice session lost to problems with his gearbox.
Pole position was wrested from Germany's Michael Schumacher a few moments before the end of the hour-long qualifying session by Finn Mika Hakkinen of McLaren-Mercedes in a time of 1:20.547 - edging out the Ferrari driver by 0.064 seconds. The McLaren-Ferrari pattern continued in third and fourth positions as Hakkinen's team-mate David Coulthard set a time of 1:20.956, ahead of Schumacher's running mate Eddie Irvine who was fourth in 1:21.011.
Hakkinen's best lap was just short (+ 0.749) of the 1:19.798 set in 1998 qualifying, despite a fourth groove added to the front tyres for this season.
The British American Racing Supertec 01 car of Jacques Villeneuve showed its competitiveness during the Q session, ending up just 1.280 seconds off pole position. Villeneuve's first sortie saw him turn in a lap of 1:23.763, a time that eventually saw him drop all the way to 17th as the faster cars came out onto the tight and hilly 3.328 km street circuit that winds its way through the world's richest principality.
The times fell further for the Canadian each time out, a 1:22.99 halfway through the session, followed by a 1:21.859 with a quarter hour remaining. With a little over two minutes left in the session, Villeneuve turned in his best time, which was almost two full seconds off his first outing, a remarkable showing.
Jacques Villeneuve -- 1:21.827 -- 8th "I am quite satisfied with eighth place. The car went well, allowed me to push hard and was fun to drive. Unfortunately it is difficult to find the right set up in this circuit and we didn't manage to improve during qualifying and stayed at the same level as (practice) this morning. I think that the race is going to be difficult, but we all know that anything is possible here and we will need to be patient and not make any mistakes, to finish the race."
Mika Salo - 1:22.241 -- 12th "I missed the entire morning session because of a gear selection problem. That affected qualifying because I could not get a good set-up. It's too bad because the car's performance is good. It was just a matter of getting more laps. I am very confident for the race on Sunday because now we have a good set-up."
Craig Pollock, Managing Director, British American Racing "It has been a very good weekend. Both cars are in one piece, which is an accomplishment in Monaco. The drivers have done a brilliant job and so has the team. We could have had a better qualifying position, but overall I am very satisfied."
Greg Field, Team Manager, British American Racing "Obviously, eighth and 12th is very good, with both cars halfway up the grid. We could have done even better but the yellow flag for the Minardi's shunt, and the Jordan stopping outside the chicane, cut short our competitive time."