Minardi goes back to the back

After Jos Verstappen caused a major surprise with the fastest time in first qualifying for the French Grand Prix yesterday (Friday), the Minardi team suffered a tough reality check today, with its cars qualifying in the more familiar location of the last row of the grid for the French Grand Prix

Minardi goes back to the back

Team boss Paul Stoddart refused to be downbeat about his team's return to its usual form, preferring instead to focus on the fact that the team was closer to Sauber and Jordan than it had been in recent races.

"It's not a surprise that the euphoria of yesterday didn't continue today," said Stoddart. "However, whatever happens, no one can take those magic moments away from the Minardi team when we were P1, and almost P2, in Friday's original qualifying session.

"Rather than in any way being sad, the team is quite upbeat about today's performance, and particularly impressed that we're only a few tenths off the Jordan and within reach of the Saubers."

After his disqualification from second place in yesterday's session, Justin Wilson had another trying day. His race car suffered an engine failure during the pre-qualifying warm-up. The Briton switched to the spare car for his run, which had been set up for team-mate Verstappen.

"The important thing was that we got a lap in as yesterday's didn't count," said Wilson. "I was told not to be too concerned with the lap time and just ensure that we qualified for tomorrow's race, which is what I did. Now we'll see what happens tomorrow."

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