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Qualifying Session Report - Results
Ralf Schumacher grabs
his first ever Pole position just 0.01 seconds ahead of his brother
Michael. David Coulthard was 3rd 0.197 seconds off the pace.
Ralf Schumacher's time is over 2.6 seconds faster than last year's pole time. In fact the first 16 cars on the grid have beaten the pole time of last year.
The session was run in ideal
conditions for Michelin as the track temperatures exceeded 40 degrees. It
started quietly with no activity on the track until 6 minutes into the
session when Jean Alesi and Jos Verstappen went out. Rubens Barrichello
then came out which was early for Ferrari and despite taking provisional
pole, his time was not very good.
Halfway into the session and Ralf Schumacher retakes the lead from his brother improving by more than half a second and minutes later Michael improves but remains in second just 0.076 seconds behind.
Michael starts feeling the
pressure and goes out on his 3rd run before Ralf and fails to improve.
Ralf then goes out on his 3rd run and aborts it as he also fails to
improve on the 1st and 2nd sectors.
Behind the exciting fight at the front, Mika Hakkinen managed to get 4th just 0.042 second of an impressive Jarno Trulli while Montoya settled for 6th.
Half a second covers the first 5, 1 second covers the top 8 while 2 seconds cover the top 13. The closes group of cars was 7th to 11th with just 0.366 seconds separating the 5 cars.
In the battle of the
team-mates, the closest 2 were Coulthard ahead of Hakkinen by just 0.082
seconds followed by Villeneuve ahead of Panis by 0.085. Verstappen managed
to out-qualify Bernoldi by just 0.2 seconds.
Benetton had a slightly improved performance with their new package with Fisichella in 16th and Button in 17th.
So for the 3rd race in a row, we have a Schumacher 1-2 on the grid although for the first time it is Ralf who is on pole. McLaren are on the second row while Trulli has done an excellent job placing his Jordan Honda ahead of the Williams of Montoya and the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello.
It will be an interesting start to an interesting race with tyres expected to play a key factor in this race again.