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Spanish GP predictions by the Quali-flyer  

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Ferrari first, Ferrari second, daylight third.

Barcelona is a Ferrari circuit. Barcelona is a Bridgestone circuit.

It used to be a McLaren circuit too, back when McLaren was competitive. Last year saw Michael beat Mika in the Real Race. The year before it was the same. This year the McLaren is faster than it was a year ago but so is everybody else and Mika is sitting the year out.

For the first time this century there will be no McLaren on the front row come Sunday in Spain. The only question is whether the new and improved Barrichello can repeat his San Marino near upset and topple Michael from his throne. Rubens has been reinvented this year, despite the paucity of points he has never been quicker.

From 1998, when he got on Pole, Coulthard has not done better than 3rd. This year he will be dicing with the Renaults, Saubers and Williams for 4th through 10th. David said after San Marino �Unless we find something in testing, it's unlikely that our performance in Barcelona will be closer to the front than it was here."

I don�t think Kimi heard him though. Even with the vast improvement in the Renault there will be a McLaren on the second row (just the one) and once again a flying Finn will outpace David in Spain. Kimi wants to break his run of 3rd row starts. He has started from 5th every race this year but he likes Barcelona (he beat Nick there last year in his 5th start) and Barcelona likes the McLaren.

Barcelona doesn�t however like the Williams BMW, despite the significant number of points they have amassed here over the (early) years in the Sunday follow-up to the Real Race (5 wins and 3 podiums from 11 races). Ralf has been stuck in 5th place for the last couple of years behind 2 Ferraris and 2 McLarens. This year he may wish he was 5th. Ralf convincingly outqualified Juan Pablo here last year (JPM was 12th) and I believe he will just pip him at the post this year.

Last year saw the Renault�s back in 19th and 21st and 3.5 seconds off the pace. This year a little luck just might see Trulli on the second row with Jenson right behind him.

The unknown here is the Sauber, they suit Spain and Nick will be trying very hard. With any chill in the track the Bridgestones just might put them in amongst the top three Michelin teams.

Look for a mix-up of Williams, Renault, Sauber and McLaren's behind the front row, look also for a prime Also Ran candidate from this group.

Of the rest, Frentzen will be fast, Salo will push very hard, Fisichella will redeem himself after San Marino and Alex Yoong might even surprise us all and qualify (in 22nd place and way behind Mark of course). The Bridgestone middle runners will have an advantage here and we will see the Toyotas and Jaguars sitting behind the BARs, Jordans and Arrows (yup, even Bernoldi).

Spain will see all three drivers with perfect records carry them forward, with Webber, Salo and Frentzen all convincingly outpacing their opponents (charts and standings). It will also answer a question � will a demotivated Villeneuve give up or will Jacques decide he has something to prove to the team bosses his manager is undoubtedly chatting to? He convincingly beat Panis in Italy a fortnight ago and will, I believe, repeat that performance here.

Ford lost US$800 million in the first quarter of this year. Mark Fields (Who will replace Wolgang Reitzle as head honcho in the Premier Automotive Group and who is not the F1 fan that Dr Reitzle is) must be looking at his (and Ford's) highest salaried employee and questioning whether the PR value of having him consistently and convincingly beat Alex Yoong every Real Race outing (and Yoong is the only one he has!) justifies that salary. Look for a superb performance by Eddie after the session in explaining why 19th was the best he could get, despite the fact that he has been fast here before the talking took precedence over the driving (even outqualifying MS once in his Ferrari days).

The Circuit de Catalunya, like all too many of the circuits today, does not allow overtaking without a mistake from the driver in front. Enjoy qualifying in Spain; Sunday�s procession probably won�t have as much excitement as the battles to be fought out in the Real Race.

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Japanese GP 
Qualifying Heroes

1 M Salo
2 J Villeneuve
3 M Schumacher
Japanese GP 
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Previous Races 
Also Ran Award
USA E Irvine
Italy D Coulthard
Belgium D Coulthard
Hungary JP Montoya
Germany JP Montoya
France R Schumacher
Britain A Yoong
Europe J Villeneuve
Canada D Coulthard
Monaco R Schumacher
Austria J Villeneuve
Spain D Coulthard
S.Marino A Yoong
Brazil R Schumacher
Malaysia E Irvine
Australia N Heidfeld

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