Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen took sixth and eighth places on the grid at the end of a close competition in the upper level of the field. Neither Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda driver had any specific problems in a qualifying session which...
Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen took sixth and eighth places on the grid at the end of a close competition in the upper level of the field. Neither Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda driver had any specific problems in a qualifying session which saw less than half a second cover the fifth to eleventh place drivers.
'We knew it was going to be as very close qualifying,' said Trulli. 'On my quickest lap I had some traffic, but sixth position on a track where we have never really been strong is not too bad. I'm confident for tomorrow because our car is reliable but, having said that, it's going to be a very tough Grand Prix.'
The sun continued to shine during the 60-minute session, the ambient temperature reaching 19 deg C, the track temperature 28 deg C.
'It was a very close qualifying session today,' said Frentzen. 'Every hundredth of a second really counted. If I had been able to squeeze another tenth of a second from the car, I would have been sixth, but that was all I could do in this session so I have to live with that. Each lap got better, the best one coming at the end even though I lost a bit of time in the last sector. I was one-tenth of a second up in the first two sectors but lost it in the third. So I managed to go quicker but not quick enough to break the 1m 19s barrier. The car was good all the way through. From this position, it looks like it's going to be a tight race because there is not a lot between us in lap times.'
'We are fighting with BAR, Sauber and Williams this weekend,' said Jordan. 'It's all very tight, and exciting as well. It has not been our best qualifying but, under the circumstances, being on the third and fourth rows is not bad. What we want to do is keep scoring points and we are placed to do that.'
Michael Schumacher dominated qualifying although a last-minute run by Mika Hakkinen (when he switched off his traction control to help cure a handling problem) moved the McLaren driver onto the front row, ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. Neither Williams driver used traction control throughout the 60-minute session, Ralf Schumacher taking fifth on the grid while Juan Pablo Montoya had to be satisfied with 12th place after having problems with slower cars during two of his four runs.