Coulthard takes pole in crazy session

David Coulthard has taken a stunning pole position in a wet-dry qualifying session at Hockenheim

Coulthard takes pole in crazy session

The Scot was over a second quicker than his rivals in the early dash to beat the worst of the rain.

Michael Schumacher jumped up to second with a staggering last lap as the rain began to fall again at the very end of the session, but he was still 1.4s off Coulthard.

Giancarlo Fisichella will start third despite spinning early in the hour and having to switch to the spare. Mika Hakkinen was fourth quickest, with Pedro de la Rosa an amazing fifth for Arrows.

With the light drizzle that was falling when the session began rapidly becoming heavier, the entire field rushed out to try and set a quick time early on. Coulthard's lap was an amazing 1.5s quicker than anyone else could manage at that point, and for a while it was an all-McLaren front row as Hakkinen joined him at the head of the field.

Fisichella and Rubens Barrichello both crashed at the first corner as they tried to complete their first flying laps. The Italian grabbed the spare Benetton and dodged the showers to produce a heroic lap that placed him second on the grid.

However, this place could be under threat. The rules say that drivers must be re-weighed before going out onto the track if they switch to the spare car so that the FIA knows that the T-car meets the legal minimum weight. Fisichella did not do this and may lose his best time.

Frentzen has already been punished by officialdom. He missed the first two chicanes on his out lap and took to the escape roads, leaping to the front of the qualifying queue in the process as the whole field rushed to get a lap in before the rain intensified. The stewards decided that this gave him an unfair advantage and disallowed his time. The Jordan driver then had to go out when the track was wet and could only manage 17th on the grid,

That still places him ahead of Barrichello. The Brazilian will start 18th after having to wait to use the spare Ferrari. Schumacher was already in the T-car after damaging his race chassis in his practice crash this morning. Barrichello then had to wait while the mechanics changed the pedal settings for him before he could go out and struggle round to 18th place on the grid on the now wet track.

In the final moments of the session, Schumacher was able to go out in his repaired race car. The track looked too wet for anyone, even Schumacher, to improve on their times, but somehow the home hero managed to knock 0.3s off his best lap and jump from fourth to second alongside Coulthard.

Barrichello was also on track at this point, desperately trying to improve on his last run, but then the rain started to fall heavily just seconds after Schumacher crossed the line, leaving his Brazilian number two stranded on row nine of the grid.

Also losing out was Jacques Villeneuve. The BAR driver set the fastest sector one time of the entire session on his second flying lap, only to then spin and stall at the Jim Clark chicane. He still did enough to grab ninth on the grid however.

The main man to benefit from the chaos was Pedro de la Rosa. His brilliant time from the initial dash was enough for fifth on the grid. His Arrows team-mate Jos Verstappen did not get out in time at the start of the session and had to qualify on a damp track, leaving him 11th.

For the starting grid for Sunday's German Grand Prix, click HERE.

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