Qualifying 1: Montoya in control

BMW WilliamsF1's title contender Juan Pablo Montoya stole the early initiative over his title rivals Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen by setting an astonishing lap time, faster than anyone managed in last week's test session, to take provisional pole in Monza today (Friday)

Qualifying 1: Montoya in control

Montoya's time of 1m20.656s proved Michelin's theory that it would be competitive in Italy this weekend, despite two weeks of controversy over the width of its front tyres after races. Montoya, using a new construction approved by the FIA like all entrants signed to the French company, set by far the fastest time of the weekend.

"I wasn't very happy with the balance of the car this morning, on new tyres I kept locking up," said Montoya. "But thanks to the team the balance is very good now, and I think we'll continue to be strong this weekend."

His team-mate Ralf Schumacher may have joined him on the provisional front row but missed his braking point for the first chicane, ran over the grass and had his time, then good enough for third, disallowed later in the session, despite the fact he appeared to slow in the second sector.

Rubens Barrichello was second quickest, fractionally slower than the Colombian Williams driver, but the Brazilian claimed that wind affected his Ferrari's balance during his lap. "The time wasn't bad, it's quite close to Montoya," he said. "It was a bit windy out there and it made the car very nervous. It would be nice to be on pole tomorrow."

Championship leader M Schumacher was third quickest ahead of Cristiano da Matta's impressive, in straightline terms at least, Toyota with Raikkonen fifth. Jaguar's Mark Webber continues to impress, setting an identical lap time of 1m21.966s to the Finn to go fifth fastest overall. Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso's Renaults were sixth and seventh fastest, prompting the Italian to comment: "Car-wise we're pretty happy, but on the long straights we've never been that strong."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen mastered a difficult-looking Sauber to be ninth fastest, ahead of the second Toyota of Olivier Panis and the BAR-Honda of Jenson Button. Nick Heidfeld was 12th for Sauber, ahead of Jacques Villeneuve (BAR).

David Coulthard produced a woeful lap in his McLaren-Mercedes, which was only good enough for a lowly 14th. He made mistakes at both the first and second chicanes, and admitted: "I lost a good chunk of time, so I need to work on it tomorrow."

Justin Wilson also looked all-at-sea in the second Jaguar and was 15th fastest, ahead of the Jordan-Fords of Giancarlo Fisichella and Zsolt Baumgartner. Nicolas Kiesa was 18th for Minardi, but team-mate Jos Verstappen failed to complete his flying lap.

shares
comments
Grapevine: Ferrari Army Keep the Faith at Monza

Previous article

Grapevine: Ferrari Army Keep the Faith at Monza

Next article

Montoya Fastest in First Qualifying at Monza

Montoya Fastest in First Qualifying at Monza
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021