US GP Minardi Saturday notes

It was smiles and spontaneous applause in the European Minardi F1 garage at the conclusion of this afternoon's qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Alex Yoong had both easily qualified for tomorrow's...

It was smiles and spontaneous applause in the European Minardi F1 garage at the conclusion of this afternoon's qualifying session for the United States Grand Prix. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Alex Yoong had both easily qualified for tomorrow's race, with Alonso driving brilliantly to record the 17th fastest time of the afternoon. The young Spaniard now starts tomorrow's penultimate round of the 2001 Formula One World Championship ahead of both Arrows entries as well as a Prost and a BAR-Honda.

The achievement was all the more creditable for the fact Alonso's fastest time was recorded on only his second run of the afternoon, the third ending prematurely when he returned to the garage as a precaution with a suspected engine problem, and the final being taken in the spare car. The team has made good progress over the last two days with fine-tuning the handling of its cars and now looks forward to tomorrow's race with considerable anticipation.

Fernando Alonso
"The qualifying session went very well, the only slight problem occurring when I had to take the spare car for my final run after I felt there was a possible problem developing with the engine on my previous attempt. If it hadn't been for that, I could possibly have finished 16th. I feel very happy, however, for this is my best qualifying result so far, which proves I am reaping the fruits of a season which is progressing in a way that is good not only for me, but also for the whole team."

Alex Yoong
"Overall, I feel satisfied with my qualifying session, which was trouble free. I could have improved my time a little bit in my last run but, unfortunately, a yellow flag forced me to slow down. There is still much to learn, but I feel we are making good progress."

Paul Stoddart
"What a fantastic effort! Fernando's P17 is his best performance this year. When one considers what we give away in engine power to our competitors, it's easy to see why the team is so upbeat about this performance. In fact, it's even better when one considers that Fernando's third run was spoiled and his final run was in the spare car fitted with older-specification gearbox. Clearly, his effort today was fantastic, but it could so easily have resulted in P14 or P15. Congratulations also to Alex, who in only his second Formula One qualifying session, comfortably made the field for tomorrow's United States Grand Prix. It would be a major understatement to say we are looking forward to the race."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Alex Yoong , Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi