Schumacher lapped slightly faster than his elder brother Michael, who was chasing a record-equalling eighth consecutive F1 pole position. Previously, he had qualified fastest for every race since Monza last season. Ralf said: "I didn't expect us...
Schumacher lapped slightly faster than his elder brother Michael, who was chasing a record-equalling eighth consecutive F1 pole position. Previously, he had qualified fastest for every race since Monza last season. Ralf said: "I didn't expect us to be that quick but we seemed to get everything just right." His team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya also qualified strongly, despite not having previously completed any dry laps during the Imola weekend. The Colombian was seventh fastest.
Jaguar Racing was second fastest of the Michelin teams, with Eddie Irvine 13th and Luciano Burti 15th. Jean Alesi (Prost-Acer/Michelin) separates them on the grid. European Minardi's rising star Fernando Alonso further enhanced his reputation by qualifying 18th, ahead of several more fancied cars. The Benetton Renault Sports of Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button were 19th and 21st fastest. Alesi's team-mate Gaston Mazzacane is 20th and Tarso Marques (European Minardi/Michelin) will start 22nd. Marques' qualifying session was interrupted when he was involved in a misunderstanding with Jordan driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Both were delayed as a result.
It was not a successful qualifying session for crowd favourite Ferrari. Schumacher Snr lines up for tomorrow's race fourth and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello is sixth.
MICHELIN'S RACE :
Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director) :
"Previously we have been accustomed to red cars being ahead of us, but today it was the Silver Arrows, so something has changed. We are committed, however, to being ahead of everybody one day. But that is not going to happen straight away and we have plenty of hard work to do.
"A few things took us a little by surprise today. The track has, unusually, been less abrasive than usual and the temperatures have been very low all weekend. When it was only four degrees in the morning, for instance, our tyres weren't suited at all to the conditions. But during the qualifying hour the temperature gradually increased and that explains why lap speeds improved right at the end of the session. The tyres we have brought here are certainly a little too hard. If we had known what conditions were going to be like, we might have brought something different. We will add this information to our data bank for 2002."
"For tomorrow it's up to the teams to decide their tactics. That said, the configuration of the track - especially the pit lane that has a short approach and exit to facilitate quick stops - means it could favour several tyre changes. It's traditional to take advantage of this at Imola to run with a light fuel load. As far as we are concerned, we are happy that our tyres are very durable and we could easily make do with a single stop. Indeed, we believe our tyres would be capable of lasting the entire race."