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The Real Race 
Round 9 - Europe

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What is the definition of mixed emotions? The standard answer is watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your new Porsche.

Today I had mixed emotions watching Montoya blow my predictions away on his way to his 3rd Pole in a row. While I still maintain that the Ferrari is the better car it is very good for F1 to see the cracks appearing in the invincible Schumacher/Ferrari package. Michael may have got there if he hadn't made a mistake on the last corner of his last run but he got the spot he deserved. The fact that he only failed so as to make our esteemed editor's prediction come true is immaterial.

While taking nothing away from the performance of the Williams duo, today was another victory for Michelin. You have to look back to 9th place to find the first of their 'other' teams. Michelin are definitely getting the upper hand on Bridgestone.

Looking at the results makes it glaringly obvious how little the driver contributes to today's F1 results. Williams, Williams, Ferrari, Ferrari, McLaren, McLaren, Renault, Renault. On this track, on this day, this is the way the cars stack up and the best driver on the day can only manage to outperform his team mate. Even down the back, Alex Yoong can get his Minardi within one and a half seconds of someone who can drive a race car. Tomorrow luck, strategy, team orders and traffic will come into play, today the tyres and the cars determined the outcome.

Webber and Salo still sit at the top of the Qualifying Table having now gone to 9-0, with Frentzen alone on 8-1. Fisichella, Heidfeld and Schumacher (senior) are all 7-2 up and Trulli is 6-3 to Button. The rest are in the undecided category with Montoya making a late surge for supremacy, and a very effective surge it is too

The European GP 'Also Ran' Award.

Jacques Villeneuve said yesterday "It's hard to say where we are at the moment but I guess we're expecting a similar qualifying performance to Montreal." Sorry Jacques, in Canada you had a go. In Europe, well, in Europe you didn't!

Perhaps it was the lack of a home crowd, perhaps it was a hard night last night, perhaps you are just getting past it. Panis is a reasonable middle of the road pilot Jacques, not an ex World Champion with an ego that exceeds his talent. It must be rather galling to have him come home a second in front of you.

At least you get the consolation of having won yet another Also Ran for your effort

The European GP Qualifying Heroes

1. Mark Webber, 2. Heinz Harald Frentzen, 3. Olivier Panis

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The Real Race - Drivers Standings - Round 9

Grid Driver Car Team Wins Losses Best QualiPoints
1 JP. Montoya 6 BMW WilliamsF1 (M) 5 4 1 56
2 R. Schumacher 5 BMW WilliamsF1 (M) 4 5 2 37
3 M. Schumacher 1 Ferrari (B) 7 2 1 60
4 R. Barrichello 2 Ferrari (B) 2 7 1 45
5 D. Coulthard 3 McLaren Mercedes (M) 4 5 2 16
6 K. Raikkonen 4 McLaren Mercedes (M) 5 4 5 15
7 J. Trulli 14 Renault (M) 6 3 6 1
8 J. Button 15 Renault (M) 3 6 6 1
9 N. Heidfeld 7 Sauber Petronas (B) 7 2 5 2
10 M. Salo 24 Toyota (M) 9 0 9  
11 F. Massa 8 Sauber Petronas (B) 2 7 7  
12 O. Panis 12 BAR Honda (B) 4 5 9  
13 A. McNish 25 Toyota (M) 0 9 10  
14 T. Sato 10 Jordan Honda (B) 2 7 14  
15 H. Frentzen 20 Arrows Cosworth (B) 8 1 10  
16 P. de la Rosa 17 Jaguar Cosworth (M) 5 4 11  
17 E. Irvine 16 Jaguar Cosworth (M) 4 5 13  
18 G. Fisichella 9 Jordan Honda (B) 7 2 6 1
19 J. Villeneuve 11 BAR Honda (B) 5 4 9  
20 M. Webber 23 Minardi Asiatech (M) 9 0 18  
21 E. Bernoldi 21 Arrows Cosworth (B) 1 8 12  
22 A. Yoong 22 Minardi Asiatech (M) 0 9 21  

QualiPoints are awarded in the same way points are awarded to the top 6 drivers in a race. (i.e. 10, 6, 4, 3, 2,1)

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