Qualifying: Schu heads Ferrari one-two

Michael Schumacher delivered exactly what was expected during qualifying for the United States Grand Prix by taking the 49th pole position of his career, comfortably outpacing Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello

Qualifying: Schu heads Ferrari one-two

Schumacher's time, set on his second run, was 0.26s faster than Barrichello's fastest. The best-of-the-rest, McLaren's David Coulthard, was a further 0.36s in arrears as the Ferraris once again proved to be the class of the field.

Juan Pablo Montoya set the early pace, but it never looked like a true picture of how things stood. Barrichello made a mistake at Turn 1 on his first flier, leaving his F2002 second to the Williams, while Michael aborted his run altogether.

The true order emerged after the half-way point of the session when Schuey made his second run count, recording the pole time of 1m10.790s. No one else was to break the 1m10s barrier.

Barrichello's second run bumped him up ahead of Montoya, who uncharacteristically never improved on his first attempt. That allowed Coulthard to push him down to fourth late in the session with his best lap of 1m11.413s.

Ralf Schumacher was another late improver to leap in front of Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren for fifth.

The surprise of the session was the man in seventh place. Jacques Villeneuve was only 13th fastest in the morning free practice, but he and British American Racing raised their game in qualifying. The Canadian saw off the challenges from Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella, who settled for eighth and ninth.

Nick Heidfeld's Sauber completed the top 10 despite a couple of incidents at the first turn.

In contrast to Villeneuve, the disappointment of the session had to be Eddie Irvine. The Jaguar ace was second quickest on Friday, third this morning and must have expected more than 13th place on the grid. A Michelin tyre problem was pinpointed as the reason by the Ulsterman.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen qualified just behind his team-mate Heidfeld in 11th on his return to Sauber. Jenson Button was off Trulli's pace and will start 14th in his Renault.

Takuma Sato's day was ruined in the morning practice session when a blown Honda engine left him with a lower-spec V10 for qualifying. He could only manage 15th.

Sato was one place ahead of Allan McNish, who outqualified his Toyota team-mate Mika Salo for only the second time this season. Alex Yoong's Minardi will bring up the rear of the field as usual, the Malaysian comfortably making the cut for tomorrow's race, which is due to start at 1900 (BST).

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