Spanish GP qualifying report

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com Alesi was one of the first to come out and test the track while the top runners came out later in the session. Barcelona seemed to be kind to the Prosts with both Burti and Alesi performing well. Burti did ...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com

Alesi was one of the first to come out and test the track while the top runners came out later in the session. Barcelona seemed to be kind to the Prosts with both Burti and Alesi performing well. Burti did better than teammate Alesi which will surely keep the French Sicilian on his toes in future.

While the track seemed to suit Prost it didn't suit the Williams so well, because both Ralf Schumacher and Juan-Pablo Montoya worked very hard for their positions. Schumacher Jr made the best with what he had to slot into the top six. He also turned off the traction control, because it was very frustrating for the German.

Michael Schumacher on the other hand dominated the session by putting up the fastest time without any fear of it being equaled or bettered. If the problems Ferrari had in previous sessions were in the minds of many, Schumacher Sr soon dispelled any doubts by his performance. Mika Hakkinen looked set to qualify behind his teammate David Coulthard, but that was not to be. In the closing stages of the session Hakkinen pulled a sensational lap out of the bag to bump Coulthard down to third on the grid and closing the gap to Schumacher by plus minus six tenths of a second.

The surprise came from the ranks of Sauber who had both their drivers qualify in the top ten. It was Kimi Raikkonen however who stole the show by consistently staying in the top ten, while Nick Heidfeld at one stage was outside the 107% limit, but he soon rectified it by shooting up to tenth on the grid.

Canadian ace, Jacques Villeneuve had quite an interesting session. While on a blistering lap he breaked late and slid across the gravel trap to rejoin the track while his teammate Olivier Panis was looking set to out-qualify Villeneuve again. Villeneuve in his trademark performance of high speed and fighting all the way, soon set the record straight by putting the BAR in seventh position. Rivals Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Herald Frentzen in the Jordans did very well by qualifying in the top ten with Trulli being the consistent one staying in the top ten throughout the session.

For Jos Verstappen it was business as usual pushing the Arrows to the limit and beyond which saw him spin off while teammate Enrique Bernoldi stayed consistent giving it the best he's got. The once dominant powerful Benetton of years ago, seem to be struggling with both drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button staying in the lower order.

Heart rates went up in the Ferrari garage when Michael Schumacher was called back to the scrutineering area to be weighed again after he was weighed minutes before he did his first lap. It was Ferrari's plan to run Schumacher Sr's car as light as possible. It would have been disaster for Ferrari if he indeed was found to be lighter and penalised by having his best lap declared null and void. Jean Todt and Ross Brawn made sure that this was not the case. While Schumacher Sr shined, teammate Rubens Barrichello didn't get near the times and couldn't split the McLarens.

The picture has changed slightly from the previous two seasons with teams like Williams, Jordan and BAR edging closer to the top. Qualifying today proved it once again.

Tomorrow when the five rows of red lights go out, we will hear a symphony of engines roaring taking off with traction control steadying them, to compete for top honours.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Jos Verstappen , Enrique Bernoldi , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Ross Brawn , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Jordan