Alonso Closes In on Title with Brazil Pole

Fernando Alonso claimed his fifth pole position of the season at Interlagos on Saturday when he took the upper hand over Championship rival Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix

Alonso Closes In on Title with Brazil Pole

Alonso put in a smooth run to finish with a time of 1:11.988 but Raikkonen buckled under the pressure when he locked a wheel heading into the first corner and could only qualify in fifth position.

Alonso, who currently has a 25-point lead in the title race, only needs to finish third to become the youngest champion in Formula One history and new modifications to his car have pushed Renault closer to their in-form rivals.

Juan Pablo Montoya ensured one McLaren would be on the front row for the start when he finished second fastest and pushed Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella down to third.

Jenson Button, who also has the benefit of an improved car here, finished fourth fastest as his time was enough to stay ahead of Raikkonen following the Finn's mistake.

Christian Klien secured his best qualifying position since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix when he finished sixth fastest, just ahead of World Champion Michael Schumacher's Ferrari.

Jarno Trulli was eighth fastest for Toyota but will lose 10 positions after an engine change. Felipe Massa was ninth in his Sauber, the fastest Brazilian on the grid, with home hope Rubens Barrichello missing out on a hat-trick of poles here when he struggled and ended up tenth.

Fisichella was the first driver out in his Renault and he was followed by BAR-Honda driver Takuma Sato, who chose not to even complete a lap because of a ten grid position penalty from the last race.

Michael Schumacher failed to match Fisichella but Montoya, also starting early after crashing out of the last race, was able to move ahead and led the way by the halfway point.

Dutch Minardi driver Robert Doornbos made a mistake on his lap when he spun at turn 12 and although he was able to continue he chose to pull into his pit and not set a time.

Klien put in an impressive lap to slot into third, almost a second faster than teammate David Coulthard, then Tiago Monteiro, who scored a point at the last race, was able to beat Pizzonia, Coulthard, Karthikeyan and Albers.

It was soon clear that there would be no hat-trick of poles for Barrichello on his lap, which ended up more than a second slower than Montoya leaving just Webber, Button and the two title contenders still to run.

Pos      Driver        Team                   Time
 1. (19) Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:11.988
 2.  (7) Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:12.145 + 0.157
 3.  (1) Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:12.558 + 0.570
 4. (18) Button        BAR-Honda         (M)  1:12.696 + 0.708
 5. (20) Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:12.781 + 0.793
 6. (12) Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:12.889 + 0.901
 7.  (3) M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:12.976 + 0.988
 8.  (5) Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:13.041 + 1.053
 9. (11) Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:13.151 + 1.163
10. (16) Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:13.183 + 1.195
11. (14) R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:13.285 + 1.297
12. (15) Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:13.372 + 1.384
13. (13) Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:13.387 + 1.399
14. (17) Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:13.538 + 1.550
15.  (6) Pizzonia      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:13.581 + 1.593
16.  (4) Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:13.844 + 1.856
17. (10) Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:14.520 + 2.532
18.  (9) Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:14.763 + 2.775
19.  (8) Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  No Time
20.  (2) Sato          BAR-Honda         (M)  No Time
shares
comments
Rossi Unfazed by Briatore Comments
Previous article

Rossi Unfazed by Briatore Comments

Next article

Dennis Confident despite No Pole

Dennis Confident despite No Pole
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022