Williams, Williams, Williams! Well, just the two cars but it's been a Williams weekend so far at Hockenehim. Will it hold to the race? Who knows but Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher made Friday's provisional one-two into reality on Saturday,...
Williams, Williams, Williams! Well, just the two cars but it's been a Williams weekend so far at Hockenehim. Will it hold to the race? Who knows but Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher made Friday's provisional one-two into reality on Saturday, albeit in reverse order.
Montoya stormed to pole with a 1:15.167 and Ralf was hot in his heels for second, relegating Rubens Barrichello to third and championship leader Michael Schumacher to sixth on the grid.
Jacques Villeneuve was next out, after also failing to set a time in yesterday's qualifying due to a spin. But the BAR did a mediocre 1:17.090, still off the expected average. Jos Verstappen was nearly two seconds off Villeneuve's pace but only a tenth ahead of Kiesa, which shows the young Dane's pace.
Giancarlo Fisichella is having a tough time, as is Jordan with reports that director of race and test engineering Gary Anderson has decided to quit. Fisichella put the boot in and took provisional pole with 1:16.831, not a great time but surely a boost to beat Villenueve. Jordan teammate Ralph Firman took third on his flying lap, 1.5 seconds off Fisichella.
Cristiano da Matta started the second group and took provisional pole by two tenths with a 1:16.550 for Toyota, despite an excursion onto the grass at the last corner which surely made him ease up. Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was nearly a second off the pace in sector one and finally posted fourth. Teammate Heinz-Harald Frentzen followed on to take the fourth position from Heidfeld.
Jenson Button had a well wide moment on the kerbs and his first sector was compromised and had another wide moment in the second sector which put him sixth ahead of the Minardis but behind the Saubers. Even David Coulthard couldn't beat da Matta, slotting into second.
Olivier Panis in the second Toyota belted out a great lap to take provisional pole with a 1:16.034. Michael Schumacher immediately made his presence felt, up in sector one and following through with a best of 1:15.898 to take pole. But it was not a spectacular lap.
Rubens Barrichello ran on a softer Bridgestone compound than Michael and was up on his teammate's time in sector one and in two to take pole by just over four tenths with a 1:15.488. Justin Wilson was over a second off by sector two with bad understeer and posted tenth, a poor performance compared to yesterday.
Kimi Raikkonen was just a couple of hundredths down on Barrichello in sector one but despite not beating the Brazilian, he did split the Ferraris to take second fastest ahead of Michael.
Fernando Alonso started the final group for Renault and was two tenths down on Barrichello in sector one. The Spaniard lost more in the middle part of the lap and finished fifth which was a bit disappointing -- but who knows what fuel loads and strategy are being played?
Mark Webber hurled the Jaguar around the track but ran wide at the last corner to finish 1.8 off pole in eighth. Renault's Jarno Trulli was on the pace and did a very good lap to take second, just under two tenths down on Barrichello.
And so to the Williams duo of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. Montoya was out first and just mere thousandths down on the pole sitting Ferrari in one and just a tenth by sector two and absolutely belted it in sector three for provisional pole with 1:15.167. Excellent. It was left to Ralf to do it all and he really pulled out all the stops but he lost it in the final sector to slot into second.
Another Williams one-two; superb performance by both drivers and only a hundredth or so between them. No surprise really, Williams have been the sharp end of the grid all weekend. Barrichello reaffirmed his form from Silverstone in third but Michael was adrift in sixth.
However, we have seen before that Michael's starting grid position really has no standing on his race result so sixth will presumably present the reigning champion with no more problem than usual.
Coulthard was a poor tenth at the end but he also has been known to fight his way up in the race. His qualifying performances are really letting him down but McLaren is not terribly efficient this weekend either. Final top eight classification: Montoya, R. Schumacher, Barrichello, Trulli, Raikkonen, M. Schumacher, Panis, Alonso.