Sat team by team: Part 1

Autosport.com's new Formula 1 editor Jonathan Noble reports on the day's events up and down the pitlane during the final free practice and qualifying sessions for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

Sat team by team: Part 1



Rubens Barrichello delivered Ferrari its ninth pole position of the season and his second of the campaign. It was also the team's 175th in the sport. World champion Michael Schumacher could not match his Brazilian team-mate, having suffered with balance problems throughout morning practice, and he ended up third after making a small mistake at the final corner.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO: "The car was really good and I got the most out of it. I think it was very near the limit but at Monza the important thing is to get it right rather than be on the limit because a tiny mistake can cost you half a second. It was an exciting lap for me from inside the car."

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: "My lap started well with a good time in the first sector, where before I had been struggling. Then I lost the time in the final part, but Rubens did a perfect lap and I could not have matched it anyway."



Juan Pablo Montoya kept up his Formula 1 record of having qualified on the front row for all his Italian Grands Prix by grabbing second place in the final lap of the session - having set the fastest ever F1 lap in pre-qualifying. Antonio Pizzonia made a small mistake in the middle sector of the lap which cost him the two-tenths of a second difference to his team-mate - enough to lose him six places on the grid.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: "My final qualifying lap was not the best, because I pushed very hard and made too many mistakes, but even if it had been perfect I still think Ferrari would be ahead."

ANTONIO PIZZONIA: "Eighth is still a good position to start from and still a reasonable gift for my birthday. The top ten positions are very close. Unfortunately I made a small mistake in the middle sector which cost me probably a few positions but still I know we have a consistent pace for the race."



The closeness of the battle at the front of the field cost McLaren dearly as Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard ended the session just a few tenths off everyone but pole position man Rubens Barrichello but were at the bottom end of the top ten. Raikkonen ended up seventh and Coulthard 10th.

KIMI RAIKKONEN: "I think I was a bit too quick coming into the last corner and possibly lost some time, but otherwise it was good. Rubens is a lot faster than everybody else, but apart from him we are all pretty close."

DAVID COULTHARD: "My lap was a tidy one. However, I lost a small amount of time in Ascari, but because we are so close this cost me some positions. We believe that our strategy will allow us a strong race."



Renault's pace locked the team into the ultra-close fight for the leading positions, and Fernando Alonso admitted that he was surprised to grab the fourth slot on the grid. The team's excellent start system should give him a shout of grabbing the lead into the first corner tomorrow. Jarno Trulli, running a brand new chassis, could only manage ninth.

FERNANDO ALONSO: "We knew things would be very tight and I managed to take advantage of that to get a place on the second row. The timed lap was quite difficult because the car was understeering in the first part of the lap, at the second chicane and the Lesmos."

JARNO TRULLI: "I pushed to the limit and managed to put in a good lap. I still do not feel completely comfortable with the car, and it was nervous and difficult to drive on the lap so I took a lot of risks and they paid off."



Takuma Sato and Jenson Button locked up the third row of the grid as they grabbed fifth and sixth position. Neither driver had any major problems and, although disappointed with where they ended up on the grid, they remain optimistic that they have the right strategy for the race.

TAKUMA SATO: "There is not where we felt we could be on the grid here, but the close lap times at the front of the grid have shown that it was a very competitive qualifying session. I think we can be happy with our performance today and it's good that we have split the Renaults."

JENSON BUTTON: "I had a lot of oversteer - some big snaps as soon as I got on the power at the exits, especially at the two Lesmos and Ascari. So it was pretty tough and quite disappointing, but I am sure we can do something from there."

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