Qualifying 1: Trulli reigns as Indy king

The fight for the world championship was forced to take a back seat in first qualifying for the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis as track conditions played into the hands of the midfield runners, an advantage that Renault's Jarno Trulli - who has set the pace in every session so far - accepted with both hands. Early runners Juan Pablo Montoya and Michael Schumacher were only fifth and eighth respectively

Qualifying 1: Trulli reigns as Indy king

Following the rain shower that disrupted free practice, the track was completely dry yet 'green' when M Schumacher's Ferrari ventured out as the first car on track. His 1m10.736s was easily eclipsed by Montoya, whose Williams-BMW was 7kph faster on the long start/finish straight. Juan Pablo's 1m10.372s was celebrated with repeated punching of the air by the Colombian in the cockpit, and he admitted later that the pressure is starting to get to him.

"I feel a bit more stressed than usual," said Montoya. "I was surprised to beat Michael's time as it rained when I tried new tyres this morning, so it was a gamble to know where we were. But so far so good. I think we'll be pretty good this weekend."

But as track conditions improved, it was time for the team-mates to take centre stage. Ralf Schumacher (Williams) set a 1m10.222s laptime, easily good enough for P1, but that was beaten by his big brother's colleague, Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian Ferrari ace brought the mark down to 1m09.835s, and this was celebrated like a pole position by the team's mechanics - but they reckoned without Renault.

Fernando Alonso's lap was disappointing, though, and only good enough for seventh. But Trulli was sensational, and despite the ever-increasing threat of rain, whirled around in 1m09.556s, over a quarter of a second faster than Barrichello's time.

"I felt very good in the car today," said the Italian. "I had very good grip out there, and I'm very happy. This is the kind of circuit that suits our car."

Barrichello said: "It was a nice lap, I got everything out of it. It's going to be a close battle this weekend...I hope it rains!"

Jaguar's Mark Webber then joined the party, producing the sort of lap he's becoming famous for on Friday afternoons. A maximum attack effort was good for an incredible third, just half a second off the pole time, and he knocked the Williams duo down to fourth and fifth.

David Coulthard managed a tidy lap to take sixth for McLaren, but team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, the third car on track remember, could only manage ninth, but was just two-hundredths slower than eighth-placed M Schumacher.

Jenson Button just held off Cristiano da Matta's Toyota for the honour of the fastest Japanese-powered car in his BAR-Honda. Giancarlo Fisichella was 12th in his Jordan-Ford, and was the last of the runners not to be affected by yet another heavy rain shower.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was halfway around his lap when it began to soak the Speedway, but he kept his nerve and 13th place. Olivier Panis (Toyota) just pipped Frentzen's Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld for 14th, while Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), Ralph Firman (Jordan), Justin Wilson (Jaguar) and Nicolas Kiesa (Minardi) completed the runners. Jos Verstappen decided to abort his flying lap and pitted his Minardi.

shares
comments
Pizzonia Looking for F1 Test Role
Previous article

Pizzonia Looking for F1 Test Role

Next article

Trulli Fastest in First Qualifying - US GP

Trulli Fastest in First Qualifying - US GP
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
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…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
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