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Michael Schumacher's 2001 Ferrari Die Cast
Michael Schumacher 
2001 Ferrari Die Cast

2001 Japanese Grand Prix 
Qualifying Session 

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Reports & Results from other sessions

Qualifying Session Report - Results

Michael Schumacher grabs his 11th Pole position of the season and his 4th in a row at Suzuka and he did it in style qualifying a massive 0.7 seconds faster than Juan Pablo Montoya in second place. Montoya was also impressive managing to out-qualify his team-mate Ralf Schumacher despite this being his first time at Suzuka.
Rubens Barrichello only managed 4th over 0.8 seconds behind his team-mate Michael while Mika Hakkinen was 5th over 1.1 seconds off Pole time. Giancarlo Fisichella in impressive form in his last appearance for Benetton managed 6th fastest splitting the 2 McLaren drivers. Jarno Trulli was 8th and the best Honda runner ahead of a Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld.

The session started as usual with the slower teams going out on the track. Montoya was the first of the top runners to go out and he grabbed provisional Pole, moments later Ralf Schumacher took provisional Pole followed but just before the halfway mark, Michael Schumacher grabbed provisional Pole and never gave it away. In fact Michael's first time was enough for him to stay on Pole yet he went out 2 more times and on each run he dropped his time. He ended up with a stunning time of 1:32.484 which was a massive 3.341 seconds faster than his own Pole time of last year.
Just to give an indication of how much faster the cars are this year compared to last, the top 17 cars on the grid set times that were faster than Pole time of last year.

Only the top 4 were within a second, the top 11 were within 2 seconds, the top 15 were within 3 seconds and the top 19 were within 4 seconds. Alex Yoong who did manage to qualify was 5.762 seconds off Michael's pace.

In the battle of the team-mates, the closest 2 were Enrique Bernoldi (20th) and Jos Verstappen (21st) with just 0.088 seconds separating them. Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd) was just 0.113 seconds ahead of Ralf Schumacher (3rd) and Nick Heidfeld (10th) was 0.195 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen (12th).
The worst qualifier compared to his team-mate was again Alex Yoong (22nd) who was 1.836 seconds slower than Fernando Alonso (18th). Tomas Enge (19th) was 1.314 seconds slower than Heinz Harald Frentzen (15th) and Rubens Barrichello (4th) was 0.839 seconds slower than Michael Schumacher (1st). 

Giancarlo Fisichella (6th) and Jenson Button (9th) and Tomas Enge (19th) had their best qualifying this season while Michael Schumacher again equalled his best.
Jos Verstappen (21st) and Olivier Panis (17th) equalled their worst performance this season.

It looks like Michael Schumacher wants to end the season on a high and he looks set to do that. Williams do look strong and depending on how their tyres perform in race conditions will determine if they can mount any challenge to Michael.
Barrichello fighting to take second from Coulthard will be hoping for the Williams to struggle and Michael to help him despite what he publicly says.

Click here of the Qualifying table for the drivers this season  



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