Verstappen Fastest in First Qualifying - France

The Minardi team sensationally dominated Friday qualifying for the French Grand Prix as Jos Verstappen ended top of the timesheets in a surprising session at Magny-Cours.

Verstappen Fastest in First Qualifying - France

The Minardi team sensationally dominated Friday qualifying for the French Grand Prix as Jos Verstappen ended top of the timesheets in a surprising session at Magny-Cours.

The Championship leaders were forced to run on a wet track before the late runners benefited from a drying track to leave Verstappen and teammate Justin Wilson in the top two spots.

Verstappen's time of 1:20.817 seconds was enough to take the fastest time, with Wilson 0.151 seconds adrift in second place. Third-placed Ralph Firman was 2.679 seconds further back. Sauber's Nick Heidfeld took fourth place, with Olivier Panis fifth for Toyota and Jaguar's Antonio Pizzonia sixth and a bizarre looking provisional grid.

Jacques Villeneuve took seventh for BAR-Honda on his first run of the track after the team were permitted to compete in qualifying by a French court. Jaguar driver Mark Webber, Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Toyota driver Cristiano da Matta completed the top ten to set up an intriguing grid-deciding session on Saturday.

World Champion Michael Schumacher was 12th, one placed behind teammate Rubens Barrichello, Williams-BMW pair Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya finished 18th and 15th, while McLaren's David Coulthard was 14th and Kimi Raikkonen 17th.

Drivers were permitted to use the extreme wet weather tyres in the session after further rain, and World Champion Schumacher took to the track first as he set a time of 1:27.929.

McLaren driver Raikkonen, the next man on track, could only go 1.191 seconds slower than Schumacher, and European Grand Prix winner Ralf Schumacher was a further two-tenths off the pace. BMW-Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya was quickest in the first sector - seven-hundredths quicker than Schumacher - but he lost time in the final two sectors and finished a second adrift of Schumacher in second place.

Fernando Alonso was also unable to trouble Schumacher's time and the Renault driver was the slowest of the top-five championship runners, a second-and-a-half off the pace. Rubens Barrichello got out of shape during the early stages of his run, but the Brazilian was not affected as he took top spot from his Ferrari teammate by more than eight-tenths.

David Coulthard, of McLaren, had been up on Barrichello in the first sector, but he was unable to retain the speed during the remainder of the lap and slotted into third place, 1.842 seconds down.

Jarno Trulli ended almost two seconds behind Barrichello after his run in fifth place, while Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella produced an impressive lap to go third, 1.407 seconds down.

Jenson Button took to the track for the first time this weekend after BAR-Honda were permitted to take part in qualifying and expectedly ended bottom of the times more than three-and-a-half seconds off the pace.

Webber then obliterated the best time by almost two seconds despite making a mistake in the final sector when he got out of shape at the chicane. Frentzen also went quicker than Barrichello's time to move into second place as the later runners began to benefit from a drying line on the track, and Toyota's da Matta took third despite being more than 1.7 seconds behind Webber.

Villeneuve then produced the shock in his first run on the track this weekend as he took more than half-a-second off Webber's previous best lap time. Heidfeld lowered the best time again by six-tenths, but Panis was unable to continue the trend as he finished 0.133 seconds adrift in second place.

Firman went fastest by a further half-a-second despite leaving the track after clipping a kerb at turn 12 and running across the gravel, while Pizzonia slotted into fourth place.

Verstappen put a smile on team boss Paul Stoddart's face with a time 2.679 seconds quicker than Firman, and Justin Wilson was marginally slower as he claimed second place.

Pos Driver Team T1 T2 Time 1. (19) Verstappen Minardi Cosworth (B) 25.932 54.162 1:20.817 2. (20) Wilson Minardi Cosworth (B) 26.028 54.391 1:20.968 + 0.151 3. (17) Firman Jordan Ford (B) 26.334 55.259 1:23.496 + 2.679 4. (15) Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 26.177 55.758 1:24.042 + 3.225 5. (16) Panis Toyota (M) 25.963 55.754 1:24.175 + 3.358 6. (18) Pizzonia Jaguar Cosworth (M) 26.217 55.799 1:24.642 + 3.825 7. (14) Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 26.311 56.340 1:24.651 + 3.834 8. (11) Webber Jaguar Cosworth (M) 26.397 56.055 1:25.178 + 4.361 9. (12) Frentzen Sauber Petronas (B) 27.067 57.478 1:26.151 + 5.334 10. (13) da Matta Toyota (M) 26.760 57.169 1:26.975 + 6.158 11. (6) Barrichello Ferrari (B) 27.757 58.154 1:27.095 + 6.278 12. (1) M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 27.755 58.687 1:27.929 + 7.112 13. (9) Fisichella Jordan Ford (B) 27.832 58.948 1:28.502 + 7.685 14. (7) Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (M) 27.208 58.826 1:28.937 + 8.120 15. (4) Montoya Williams BMW (M) 27.678 59.081 1:28.988 + 8.171 16. (8) Trulli Renault (M) 27.445 59.088 1:29.024 + 8.207 17. (2) Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes (M) 28.468 59.890 1:29.120 + 8.303 18. (3) R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 28.213 59.539 1:29.327 + 8.510 19. (5) Alonso Renault (M) 28.208 59.432 1:29.455 + 8.638 20. (10) Button BAR Honda (B) 28.240 60.338 1:30.731 + 9.914 Pos ----- Sector 1 ----- ----- Sector 2 ----- ----- Sector 3 ----- 1. Verstappen 25.932 Verstappen 28.230 Wilson 26.577 2. Panis 25.963 Wilson 28.363 Verstappen 26.655 3. Wilson 26.028 Firman 28.925 Firman 28.237 4. Heidfeld 26.177 Heidfeld 29.581 Heidfeld 28.284 5. Pizzonia 26.217 Pizzonia 29.582 Villeneuve 28.311 6. Villeneuve 26.311 Webber 29.658 Panis 28.421 7. Firman 26.334 Panis 29.791 Frentzen 28.673 8. Webber 26.397 Villeneuve 30.029 Pizzonia 28.843 9. da Matta 26.760 Barrichello 30.397 Barrichello 28.941 10. Frentzen 27.067 da Matta 30.409 Webber 29.123 11. Coulthard 27.208 Frentzen 30.411 Raikkonen 29.230 12. Trulli 27.445 M.Schumacher 30.932 M.Schumacher 29.242 13. Montoya 27.678 Fisichella 31.116 Fisichella 29.554 14. M.Schumacher 27.755 Alonso 31.224 R.Schumacher 29.788 15. Barrichello 27.757 R.Schumacher 31.326 da Matta 29.806 16. Fisichella 27.832 Montoya 31.403 Montoya 29.907 17. Alonso 28.208 Raikkonen 31.422 Trulli 29.936 18. R.Schumacher 28.213 Coulthard 31.618 Alonso 30.023 19. Button 28.240 Trulli 31.643 Coulthard 30.111 20. Raikkonen 28.468 Button 32.098 Button 30.393 All timing unofficial

shares
comments
Minardi Threaten Rivals with Disqualification in Britain

Previous article

Minardi Threaten Rivals with Disqualification in Britain

Next article

First qualifying: Verstappen fastest!

First qualifying: Verstappen fastest!
Load comments
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021