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Qualifying Session Report - Results
Michael Schumacher grabs his 7th Pole position of the
season and the 50th of his career ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello and David
Coulthard. Kimi Raikkonen was 4th ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya.
The session was interrupted for over 75 minutes after Allan McNish appeared to have lost control of his car and drove backwards through the armco barrier. The back of his was destroyed, luckily though he didn't sustain any major injuries. He will be assessed tomorrow to see if he will be fit to race. He qualified in 18th.
The fight for pole turned to be a no-contest with Michael Schumacher convincingly faster than anyone else here including his team-mate. The fight at the front was really between the other 5 drivers of the top 3 teams. For most of the session they appeared to be evenly matched however Barrichello, Coulthard and Raikkonen all managed to improve late in the session while Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya didn't and hence the final order.
Behind the top 3 teams, the Jordan team took the honours of the best of the rest thanks to a more powerful Honda engine. Takuma Sato impressed his home crowds by not just outqualifying his team-mate but also ending up in 7th and only 1.773 seconds off Michael's pace despite this being his first time on the track in a Formula 1 car. Behind Sato, it was close as expected with 1 second separating Sato in 7th and Massa in 15th.
In addition to McNish's crash, Olivier Panis and Eddie Irvine suffered from car problems and had to stop on the track. Panis managed to get back and use the spare but Irvine didn't.
In the battle of the team-mates, Mika Salo managed to
qualify 1.449 seconds ahead of Allan McNish although McNish had his crash and
only had 1 run. Jacques Villeneuve managed to qualify 0.843 seconds ahead of
Olivier Panis but again Panis had car problems and had to switch to the spare
and Michael Schumacher managed to out-qualify Rubens Barrichello by 0.432
Alex Yoong deserves a mention as he was closest to Mark Webber as he has ever been with just 0.309 seconds separating the two.
Takuma Sato (7th) had his best qualifying position this season while Michael Schumacher (1st) once again equalled his best. Both Ralf Schumacher (5th) and Juan Pablo Montoya (6th) equalled their worst qualifying positions this season.