First qualifying: Verstappen fastest!

Track conditions that started wet but got progressively better turned first qualifying for the French Grand Prix on its head today (Friday) as Jos Verstappen led team-mate Justin Wilson for an unlikely Minardi 1-2. Wilson was subsequently disqualified, however, as his car was underweight

First qualifying: Verstappen fastest!

Last to run due to their position at the bottom of the F1 pile, Verstappen reeled off a faultless 1m20.817s lap that team-mate Wilson failed to beat by 0.151s. They both reaped the benefits of the ever-improving conditions on their Bridgestone dry weather tyres as the established frontrunners had been using either full wet or intermediate rubber.

Ralph Firman had time to run off the track at the Imola complex but still qualified second for Jordan-Ford, ahead of Nick Heidfeld who used inters on his Sauber-Petronas. Tellingly, Bridgestone locked out the top three positions, with Olivier Panis's Toyota the first of the Michelin runners in fourth, ahead of Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia.

Jacques Villeneuve was an impressive sixth for BAR-Honda, which was all the more impressive given that it was his first lap of the weekend as the team's cars had been locked in their transporters during free practice due to a legal wrangle. His team-mate Jenson Button was slowest of all, however, a full 6secs off his pace and almost 10secs off pole.

Practice pacesetter Mark Webber was seventh for Jaguar after a big moment through Imola, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) and Cristiano da Matta (Toyota) were next up.

The F1 heavyweights will have to settle for earlier than normal slots in tomorrow's final qualifying session. Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher should get the best of the conditions, having qualified 10th and 11th respectively. Schumacher's time was all the more praiseworthy as he ran when the track was at its wettest.

Giancarlo Fisichella suffered a scrappy lap that included a big moment at the first corner for 12th, ahead of David Coulthard (McLaren), Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Jarno Trulli (Renault). Although Button will be first on track tomorrow, he will be followed by Fernando Alonso (Renault), Ralf Schumacher (Williams) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) in that order, as the championship frontrunners struggled with their Michelin wets.

shares
comments
Verstappen Fastest in First Qualifying - France
Previous article

Verstappen Fastest in First Qualifying - France

Next article

Sauber Duo Relish Wet Qualifying

Sauber Duo Relish Wet Qualifying
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022
How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir Plus

How Russell has proven he deserves to be Hamilton's Mercedes heir

He’s fast, he’s smart, and he’s already shown he’s not going to let Max Verstappen intimidate him. George Russell won’t say it, but LUKE SMITH says he’s ready to take the lead at Mercedes when Lewis Hamilton moves on to a quieter life. And – whisper it – Mercedes and Lewis are starting to think so too

Formula 1
Aug 5, 2022
The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move Plus

The traits that fuelled Alonso's unexpected Aston Martin move

Fernando Alonso’s bombshell switch to Aston Martin sent shockwaves through Formula 1, not least at Alpine that finds itself tangled in a contract standoff with Oscar Piastri. Not shy of a bold career move and with a CV punctuated by them, there were numerous hints that trouble was brewing

Formula 1
Aug 4, 2022
The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships Plus

The elements Ferrari must resolve to first save face, then win championships

OPINION: Ferrari's Formula 1 title hopes look all but over after another strategic blunder in last week's Hungarian Grand Prix denied Charles Leclerc the chance to fight for victory, while handing it to chief rival Max Verstappen. The Scuderia now faces intense scrutiny over what it must now do to finally become a genuine factor in championship battles

Formula 1
Aug 3, 2022
The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision Plus

The clues about Hamilton’s F1 retirement plans revealed after Vettel’s decision

OPINION: Sebastian Vettel is set to leave Formula 1 at the end of 2022 and will, rather shockingly, be replaced by Fernando Alonso at Aston Martin. But what about the final chapter of the other driver that defined the post-Michael Schumacher era? In Hungary, Lewis Hamilton spoke about his future in the context of Vettel’s upcoming departure, which offered clues on how long it will last

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing Plus

Why all signs point to F1’s Monaco special relationship continuing

OPINION: With more potential venues than there are slots in future calendars, rumours have been circulating that the Monaco Grand Prix could be a casualty of F1’s expansion into new markets. But MARK GALLAGHER thinks this is highly unlikely

Formula 1
Aug 2, 2022
Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022 Plus

Hungarian Grand Prix Driver Ratings 2022

The Hungarian Grand Prix race result, after a dry race held without safety car conditions, bore little resemblance to what was anticipated after qualifying. While certain drivers were nullified by some iffy strategy calls, others shone to grasp opportunities afforded to them in the last F1 race before the summer break

Formula 1
Aug 1, 2022