Schumacher on provisional pole for British GP

Schumacher on provisional pole for British GP

Michael Schumacher took provisional pole for the British Grand Prix in Friday's qualifying session; his time of 1:19.474 was the first lap of the afternoon and it stuck to the end. Teammate Rubens Barrichello had a less than illustrious session,...

Michael Schumacher took provisional pole for the British Grand Prix in Friday's qualifying session; his time of 1:19.474 was the first lap of the afternoon and it stuck to the end. Teammate Rubens Barrichello had a less than illustrious session, ending his lap in the gravel. The Williams duo of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher were second and third.

Michael Schumacher.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
The weather remained dubious, overcast with slight dampness and one or two spots of rain as the session got under way. Michael got the proceedings started with a 1:19.474, faster than David Coulthard's best in the practice session. Kimi Raikkonen was half a second down in the first sector and over a second off in the middle after going high on the kerb at Stowe. The McLaren finished the lap 1.5 seconds slower than Michael.

Ralf was better than the Finn, just a tenth shy initially which built to three tenths but enough to go second. Williams teammate Montoya was a similar tenth down in sector one but gained ground to take second from Ralf. Slight rain was falling on some areas of the circuit and Rubens Barrichello had a dismal time; the Ferrari swerved off the kerb and ended up in the gravel trap at Brooklands to red flag the session briefly.

Fernando Alonso started the second group, the Renault half a second down to take fourth. Coulthard bettered teammate Raikkonen by one place to go fifth, then Jarno Trulli took the position off him. Mark Webber was the first Jaguar out as conditions brightened a little, the Australian managing seventh with his flying lap. Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella was over half a second down in the first sector, the gap building to over two seconds to put him ninth.

Jenson Button commenced the third group with eighth fastest for BAR. Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen managed to beat Fisichella by a couple of tenths to round out the top ten. Jacques Villeneuve's BAR looked very twitchy but he was next to take over the tenth position. Cristiano da Matta was the first Toyota on track sneaked ahead into ninth, bettering Raikkonen's time as well as Frentzen and Villeneuve. Teammate Olivier Panis followed on and just a tenth down on Michael in the first sector and followed up with a strong lap to take fifth.

Nick Heidfeld kicked off the final group and was 1.7 seconds off provisional pole in thirteenth, but better than teammate Frentzen. Ralph Firman was over two seconds down by the middle sector and finished sixteenth, two and a half seconds astray. Antonio Pizzonia set a reasonable eleventh, which left the Minardis to run.

Jos Verstappen was a second slower than Firman to take nineteenth but Justin Wilson never even got his chance. The Minardi ground to a halt on his out lap -- although Barrichello will no doubt be peeved to have to start early in tomorrow's session, it will be business as usual for Wilson, even with him not setting a time.

Michael put his stamp on the proceedings in no uncertain terms: "We worked very hard last week (in testing)," he said. We are where we expected to be." Barrichello was a match for Michael until his untimely exit, so it could well have been a Ferrari one-two.

Williams is not slacking though, Montoya just two tenths behind and Ralf hot on his heels. Renault also look strong, a good fourth for Alonso but McLaren looked overly cautious. Final top eight classification: M. Schumacher, Montoya, R. Schumacher, Alonso, Panis, Trulli, Coulthard, Webber.

British GP: Friday press conference

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