By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com What appeared to be a rather sedate qualifying session at Spa Franchorchamps turned out to be very exciting in the closing stages of the session. It was Williams who came up trumps making good use off the ...
By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com
What appeared to be a rather sedate qualifying session at Spa Franchorchamps turned out to be very exciting in the closing stages of the session.
It was Williams who came up trumps making good use off the ever-changing weather conditions. They saved their strategy till four minutes before the session ended. Both Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher were sent out on slicks making mince meat of the rest of the order. First it was Monotya who flew around the track as if it was as dry as the desert to take provisional pole. Ralf Schumacher toppled his teammate, thinking that his time would suffice to keep him there. However, Montoya pulled a stunning lap out of the bag to reclaim pole position in what was the best lap of the day. There may be a dark cloud hanging over Montoya's pole, because he didn't slow down under yellow flags marking Nick Heidfeld's stranded Sauber. Race stewards are to decide whether he will indeed start from pole position at tomorrow's Belgian GP.
Engineers and drivers must have been very confused at one stage whether to just go for slicks instead of sticking to the wet weather and intermediate tyres. With just under 30 minutes to go, the track was empty with not one car venturing out. The wetness of the track could be seen in the amount of spray coming from behind the Minardi of Tarso Marques. Marques also spun at turn one while Nick Heidfeld had a controlled slide through there keeping the car going to finish his first flying lap of the afternoon which put him into provisional pole. The qualifying session didn't go too well for him, because he retired with some sort of mechanical failure forcing him to abandon his car at the side of the track.
David Coulthard in the McLaren was the first to break the two-minute lap time barrier followed by teammate Mika Häkkinen who toppled him from provisional pole. Coulthard took a big gamble to finish a lap that would better his position, but would spoil his chance of putting on slicks and retry for pole. There wasn't enough time to do both. Four times World Champion Michael Schumacher put an end to the McLaren dominance by reclaiming pole position having put a lot of front wing on the Ferrari. It looked set that he would start from pole, but two Williams happened along.
Eddie Jordan must be gritting his teeth with his former driver Heinz Herald Frentzen starting from fourth on the grid tomorrow whereas his drivers are further down the order.
While it was a day of triumph for Williams, it is still a nightmare for Arrows and Minardi who with the extraordinary laps of Williams are now outside the 107% time. Jos Verstappen, Enrique Bernoldi, Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques are awaiting the decision of Team Principals, which will decide if they will start tomorrows Belgian GP or be spectators.
The final grid line-up will provide the answer for fans of Montoya, Verstappen, Bernoldi, Alonso and Marques at a track which is regarded as the most exciting of GP tracks.