Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead of
team-mate Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher. Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi
Raikkonen and David Coulthard make the top 6.
Almost 2 seconds better than last year's pole, that is how
much better the new Ferrari is and it is the car and not the driver as only
0.064 seconds separates the 2 Ferrari drivers.
The Williams duo ended up on the second row not too far from Ferrari but not
close enough to mix it with them. Ralf Schumacher was under 0.4 seconds behind
while Juan Pablo Montoya was over half a second behind.
The McLaren pair are on the 3rd row but over a second off the pace with
Raikkonen almost four tenths faster than his more experienced team-mate.
Nick Heidfeld wins the 'best of the rest' position as he managed to get ahead
of the 2 Renaults. All 3 are separated by less than a tenth.
Jacques Villeneuve for the first time this season makes it into the top 10
comfortably ahead of Felipe Massa in 11th over half a second behind while
Panis takes 12th place. This is also the first time this season that both BARs
have out-qualified both Jordans.
Heinz Harald Frentzen makes a fine effort and put his Arrows in 13th place
ahead of his team-mate and both Jaguar runners while Takuma Sato managed to
out-qualify Giancarlo Fisichella who suffered a hydraulic failure in his race
car and had to use the spare.
The Toyotas of Mika Salo and Allan McNish take 16th and 17th with McNish only
0.003 seconds behind Salo while Eddie Irvine takes 18th ahead of an impressive
Mark Webber who managed to set a time better than both Bernoldi and de la Rosa
in better cars and his own team-mate Alex Yoong who also failed to qualify as
he didn't make the 107% mark.
The action started early as there was a threat of rain and
drivers wanted to put in a timed lap early just in case. Of the top 3 teams,
Ralf Schumacher was the first to take provisional pole, Barrichello then took
it from him and Michael Schumacher looked set to take it on his first run but
he lost time in the 3rd sector due to traffic.
On the second run, Montoya momentarily took provisional pole only for Ralf to
retake it and moments later Rubens retakes it again!
On the third run, Rubens elects not to go out while Michael
moves into second and both Williams' drivers improve but were behind the two
On the final run Michael Schumacher managed to improve and take Pole while Barrichello
and the two Williams didn't improve.
Several drivers had dramas during the session with Bernoldi
suffering from an engine failure on his first out lap. He used the spare and
managed to qualify in 20th. Fisichella suffered a hydraulic failure after his
first run in his race car and had to continue in the spare.
David Coulthard was the last driver to set a time after being delayed while
his mechanics changed the engine on his car after it developed a problem
during morning practice.
Just over half a second separates the top 4. 1.5 seconds
separate the top 6, just over 2 seconds separate the top 10, 3 seconds
separate the top 14.
In the battle of the team-mates, Webber out-qualified Yoong
by a massive 2.451 seconds, Frentzen ahead of Bernoldi by 0.946 and Heidfeld
ahead of Massa by 0.914.
Allan McNish was the closest to his team-mate Mika Salo, a mere 0.003
separating them, Jenson Button was 0.024 seconds behind Jarno Trulli and
Rubens Barrichello was just 0.064 seconds behind Michael Schumacher.
Jacques Villeneuve (10) and Takuma Sato (14) had their best
qualifying positions so far this season while Michael Schumacher (1), Ralf
Schumacher (3), Kimi Raikkonen (5), Nick Heidfeld (7) and Olivier Panis (12)
equalled their best qualifying positions. Interestingly Kimi Raikkonen is the
most consistent qualifier so far qualifying in 5th for each of the 4 races so
far this season.
Giancarlo Fisichella (15), Mika Salo (16) and Pedro de la Rosa had their worst
qualifying positions so far this season while David Coulthard (6) and Alex
Yoong (22) equalled their worst qualifying positions.