JPM happy with front row slot

Williams ace Juan Pablo Montoya has admitted that second on the grid is the best he could have hoped for in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The Colombian set the fastest lap in F1 history, a 1m19.525 (162.968mph), in pre-qualifying, but reckoned that he would not have been able to match Rubens Barrichello's pole lap, even without the small errors he admitted to

It will only by the third time this year that Montoya has started on the front row this year, the last time was at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim back in July.

"I think it has been a while actually since I have been on the front row," he said afterwards. "I think the team has done a really good job. What can I say? It was good in the first qualifying. We ran really fast. We knew Ferrari could go quite a lot faster than what they did. And they did you know...

"I made too many mistakes, but even if I had done the perfect lap I think they would have gone a little bit faster. It's good. We are on the front row. We will see how the race goes and what strategy Ferrari are on.

The team's director of engineering Patrick Head agreed that Rubens Barrichello's lap was exceptional. "It was certainly very special," he said. "Whether he is fuelled to the same level as his team-mate I don't know. It was looking a bit tight after sector two but Juan did a very good sector three and managed to split the Ferraris.

"You are always disappointed not to be in the lead. But I think to be on the front row is as good as we were expecting so. Juan Pablo did a very good job."

Head admitted that the team set its cars up for a dry race, despite weather forecasts indicating rain in the Monza region during Sunday.

"We are certainly aware of it (the rain), but according to our weather forcast it is in the 10-15 percent likelihood," he said. "It is difficult to set the car for wet conditions too much on the basis of 10-15 percent."

Antonio Pizzonia, celebrating his 24th birthday, qualified eighth on the grid for what is almost certainly his last grand prix of the year. The Brazilian made a mistake and ran over the inside kerb of the second Lesmo forcing him to back off on the exit. Even so Pizzonia's time was less than two tenths slower than Montoya's and impressively he also shattered Montoya's old Monza lap record in the pre-qualifying session.

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