Raikkonen on provisional pole for European GP

Raikkonen on provisional pole for European GP

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen took provisional pole position in Friday's qualifying for the European Grand Prix, in a session that was hampered by rain. Half way through it started to drizzle and it wasn't long before it was a downpour. Crisitano da ...

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen took provisional pole position in Friday's qualifying for the European Grand Prix, in a session that was hampered by rain. Half way through it started to drizzle and it wasn't long before it was a downpour. Crisitano da Matta and Jacques Villeneuve came off worst, both spinning and Villeneuve bringing out the red flag.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by Michael Kim.
Michael Schumacher opened the session with a lap time of 1:30.353, better than Olivier Panis' fastest in the earlier practice. Raikkonen followed on, the McLaren quicker than the Ferrari in sectors one and three to take provisional pole with a 1:29.989, three tenths up.

Renault's Fernando Alonso slotted into third on his run, a bit of a lacklustre performance, 1.5 seconds off Raikkonen. Ralf Schumacher was on the Finn's pace initially but lost out towards the end of his lap to go third. Williams teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was down at first but had a very quick last sector to take third from Ralf by just over a tenth.

Rubens Barrichello started the second group and set the fifth time, the Ferrari eight tenths down on Raikkonen. David Coulthard couldn't match his teammate and only managed sixth behind Barrichello and almost a second slower than Raikkonen. Jarno Trulli did slightly better than Alonso in the second Renault but only seventh quickest and over a second off pole.

Giancarlo Fisichella was the first Jordan out and had the slowest first sector of all, almost a second down. He didn't improve much and set the ninth time, over two seconds off Raikkonen. Jenson Button completed the second five, the BAR well off the pace and finishing tenth, nearly 2.5 seconds adrift.

Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen kicked off the third group as light rain started to fall on some areas of the circuit. The German managed to better Button slightly to take tenth. Mark Webber was first out for Jaguar but couldn't carry through his pace of the morning practice. With track conditions getting worse, Webber was nearly six seconds off provisional pole in twelfth.

Cristiano da Matta came out as the rain got heavier and spun the Toyota in the first sector. He recovered but decided to abort the lap. Jacques Villeneuve also spun but the BAR ended up in the gravel, bringing out the red flags. When the session was restarted, Olivier Panis went out onto a very wet track. The Frenchman was fastest in practice but this time he finished with a huge 27 seconds gap from pole in the poor conditions.

The last group started with Nick Heidfeld who was an improvement from Panis to take thirteenth, five seconds quicker despite the rain. Ralph Firman managed fourteenth for Jordan on his lap and Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia sixteenth.

The Minardis rounded the session off, Jos Verstappen actually managing to better Panis and Pizzonia to take fifteenth. Justin Wilson was up on his teammate in all three sectors and took the place off him by over a second. An excellent result for Minardi.

The rain certainly split the session in two, the first ten runners having much better conditions to work in. Renault is probably relieved to have made the top eight as Alonso and Trulli were off the pace and disappointing for the Jaguars to be caught in the bad weather after the good performance in practice. Final top eight classification: Raikkonen, M. Schumacher, Montoya, R. Schumacher, Barrichello, Coulthard, Trulli, Alonso.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan