Monaco qualifying full of action and suprises The streets of Monaco set the scene for a spectacular qualifying session for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. On a hot and sunny afternoon, the battle for pole position ran until the final minutes of the...
Monaco qualifying full of action and suprises
The streets of Monaco set the scene for a spectacular qualifying session for the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. On a hot and sunny afternoon, the battle for pole position ran until the final minutes of the qualifying hour, with the McLaren of Mika Hakkinen clinching first place just seconds before time ran out.
Michael Schumacher had held pole for the last quarter of the session after a brilliant flying lap. The McLaren drivers seemed unusually off the pace, until, in the closing moments, the sped past the finish line to take pole and third place.Irvine, in the second Ferrari finished 4th, with Barichello behind him in 5th, performing strongly again for the Stewart team.
For Benson and Hedges Jordan, the fortunes could not be more mixed. Heinz-Harald Frentzen gave his second best qualifying performance of the 1999 season to finish 6th. His session was full of incidents, as he explained. "I found this a very exciting qualifying session. It was full of incidents, the first of which could have been nasty; I was coming up the hill to the casino and suddenly Pedro de la Rosa was in front of me going extremely slowly. The speed difference was about 200km and had I hit him it would have been bad - we were lucky. On my second run I went straight over the kerbs at the swimming pool. The whole car went up in the air, but I managed to get it back just before hitting the armco. On my last run, I was shifting down in the chicane and for the first time I got my finger stuck between the gear paddle and the monocoque and I could not steer the car properly. I lost a couple of metres and I think I would have made a better time otherwise. Overall though, our performance was good and although I thought I could have been a little quicker, third row of the grid is not bad for tomorrow's race."
Damon Hill had a dreadful day, finishing in 17th place, his worst ever qualifying position for Jordan Grand Prix. He had a big shunt in the morning session which may have dented his confidence. As Eddie Jordan explained, ""This place is about building up confidence and if you break that momentum just before qualifying as Damon did with his big shunt at Rascasse, it can be difficult to get it back. I think Damon's result today reflects that. He will have a difficult race tomorrow but we will just have to hope for the best. Heinz-Harald did another good job to qualify on the third row of the grid, so we still have a lot to play for."
Damon was lost for words. "Qualifying 17th was not what I wanted. There is not much more I want to say about it! My shunt this morning was bad and it meant we lost most of the running time, even though my mechanics did a fantastic job to get me out again on the track for some laps. The Monaco Grand Prix is always a lottery though, so who knows what will happen in the race."