Schumacher Beats Montoya to Pole in Italy

World Champion Michael Schumacher sent the tifosi wild and handed Ferrari a much-needed confidence boost after claiming pole position for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Schumacher Beats Montoya to Pole in Italy

World Champion Michael Schumacher sent the tifosi wild and handed Ferrari a much-needed confidence boost after claiming pole position for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Schumacher punched the air after posting his lap time in front of Ferrari's supporters and Championship rival Juan Pablo Montoya was unable to beat the lap time as he settled for second place.

Williams-BMW driver Montoya split Schumacher, who he trails by just one point in the standings, and teammate Rubens Barrichello to set up an intriguing race with McLaren Kimi Raikkonen fourth on the grid.

Spaniard Marc Gene, deputising for Ralf Schumacher in the Williams, claimed an impressive fifth on his return to racing with Renault's Jarno Trulli sixth and BAR-Honda driver Jenson Button seventh. McLaren driver David Coulthard was unable to go higher than eighth and was disappointed with his performance, while Toyota's Olivier Panis and BAR-Honda's Jacques Villeneuve completed the top ten.

Spaniard Gene, first on track after replacing Ralf Schumacher, produced an impressive lap of 1:21.834 in his Williams-BMW, which Minardi pair Jos Verstappen and Nicolas Kiesa failed to get close to.

Zsolt Baumgartner, driving for Jordan in place of the injured Ralph Firman, was four seconds off the pace and could only split Minardi drivers Verstappen and Kiesa. Jordan driver Giancarlo Fisichella produced a solid lap to finish just over a second slower than Gene, before Jaguar's Justin Wilson slotted in behind him in third, a half-a-second further back.

Coulthard was unable to trouble Gene for top spot as he finished 0.637 seconds adrift of the Williams driver, and Jacques Villeneuve then took third place - eight-tenths of a second off the pace.

Button outqualified teammate Villeneuve again as he bettered the time of Coulthard to take second spot, 0.467 seconds off the pace, while Panis then took fourth place for Toyota. Fernando Alonso, winner of the last race in Hungarian, spun at the first chicane to end hopes of a front row grid position and completed his run 18 seconds down on Gene.

Alonso's teammate Trulli continued his recent run of form in the second half of the season when he finished just a tenth of a second down on Gene to move into second place ahead of Button.

Finn Raikkonen took over from Gene at the top of the timesheets after going 0.368 seconds quicker than the Spaniard with a faultless lap, but the next man on track Cristiano da Matta was unable to repeat his fourth place on Friday as he went ninth fastest.

Under-pressure Schumacher, competing with a heavy cold, turned the heat on Montoya with a lap half-a-second quicker than Raikkonen and the Ferrari driver punched the air as he crossed the line. Barrichello backed up the performance of Schumacher by taking second place behind his teammate only for Montoya to deny Ferrari the front row by taking second place.

Pos Driver Team T1 T2 Time 1. (18) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 25.995 53.788 1:20.963 2. (20) Montoya Williams BMW (M) 25.992 53.712 1:21.014 + 0.051 3. (19) Barrichello Ferrari (B) 26.219 54.057 1:21.242 + 0.279 4. (16) Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes (M) 26.202 54.223 1:21.466 + 0.503 5. (1) Gene Williams BMW (M) 26.261 54.261 1:21.834 + 0.871 6. (14) Trulli Renault (M) 26.528 54.564 1:21.944 + 0.981 7. (10) Button BAR Honda (B) 26.528 54.557 1:22.301 + 1.338 8. (7) Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (M) 26.300 54.732 1:22.471 + 1.508 9. (11) Panis Toyota (M) 26.332 54.665 1:22.488 + 1.525 10. (8) Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 26.610 55.021 1:22.717 + 1.754 11. (15) Webber Jaguar Cosworth (M) 26.854 55.135 1:22.754 + 1.791 12. (17) da Matta Toyota (M) 26.423 54.802 1:22.914 + 1.951 13. (5) Fisichella Jordan Ford (B) 26.756 55.099 1:22.992 + 2.029 14. (12) Frentzen Sauber Petronas (B) 26.469 54.946 1:23.216 + 2.253 15. (6) Wilson Jaguar Cosworth (M) 26.977 55.584 1:23.484 + 2.521 16. (9) Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 26.937 55.809 1:23.803 + 2.840 17. (2) Verstappen Minardi Cosworth (B) 26.870 56.165 1:25.078 + 4.115 18. (4) Baumgartner Jordan Ford (B) 27.312 57.056 1:25.881 + 4.918 19. (3) Kiesa Minardi Cosworth (B) 27.301 57.031 1:26.778 + 5.815 20. (13) Alonso Renault (M) 33.022 65.051 1:40.405 +19.442 Pos ----- Sector 1 ----- ----- Sector 2 ----- ----- Sector 3 ----- 1. Montoya 25.992 Montoya 27.720 M.Schumacher 27.175 2. M.Schumacher 25.995 M.Schumacher 27.793 Barrichello 27.185 3. Raikkonen 26.202 Barrichello 27.838 Raikkonen 27.243 4. Barrichello 26.219 Gene 28.000 Montoya 27.302 5. Gene 26.261 Raikkonen 28.021 Trulli 27.380 6. Coulthard 26.300 Button 28.029 Gene 27.573 7. Panis 26.332 Trulli 28.036 Webber 27.619 8. da Matta 26.423 Webber 28.281 Villeneuve 27.696 9. Frentzen 26.469 Panis 28.333 Coulthard 27.739 10. Trulli 26.528 Fisichella 28.343 Button 27.744 11. Button 26.528 da Matta 28.379 Panis 27.823 12. Villeneuve 26.610 Villeneuve 28.411 Fisichella 27.893 13. Fisichella 26.756 Coulthard 28.432 Wilson 27.900 14. Webber 26.854 Frentzen 28.477 Heidfeld 27.994 15. Verstappen 26.870 Wilson 28.607 da Matta 28.112 16. Heidfeld 26.937 Heidfeld 28.872 Frentzen 28.270 17. Wilson 26.977 Verstappen 29.295 Baumgartner 28.825 18. Kiesa 27.301 Kiesa 29.730 Verstappen 28.913 19. Baumgartner 27.312 Baumgartner 29.744 Kiesa 29.747 20. Alonso 33.022 Alonso 32.029 Alonso 35.354 Top Speed: 362.5 km/h (M.Schumacher, Ferrari) All Timing Unofficial

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