Saturday October 21st, 2000
Schumacher takes number nine
Michael Schumacher took a convincing ninth pole position of the season during qualifying, the tenth of the year for his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team to equal their best ever season record of 10 poles in 1974. The German was over two second ahead of his 1999 pole and almost half a second ahead of his closest rival who, until the final seconds of the session was his own teammate Rubens Barrichello, until the two McLaren both slipped ahead pushing him back to fourth spot. "I tried a low downforce setting on my second run, but the car did not feel good and I went back to a higher downforce set-up for my last run when I set the time," explained Michael, who used only eight of his regulation 12 laps to take the pole. "I waited at the beginning as the track was very dusty and there was no point wasting my tyres," he explained.
Rubens Barrichello, still recovering from a bad cold, was very disappointed as he watched the McLarens knock him back to fourth place for a couple of hundredths of a second after the checkered flag had come out.
McLaren struggle, but take second and third
"I was struggling with the balance on the first and third sectors, so second place is not so bad, while I am not surprised to be so far behind Michael," admitted Mika Hakkinen who will be sharing the front row with the Ferrari again for a re-run of their Championship deciding dual in Japan.
David Coulthard also had a troubled session and was happy to have made third spot. After a good first run, he couldn't match his time on his next two runs. "We changed the car back to the way it was the first run and that's when I managed to improve," explained David, who also escaped a minor fire and fuel in his eye just before his best lap after a fuel line came off during refueling.
Wurz best of the rest
Running what is said to have been the latest version qualifying engine produced by Renault, Alexander Wurz continued to amaze everyone in his last race for Benetton with the fifth fastest time, his Benetton teammate Giancarlo Fisichella struggling to take 13th spot, the Italian blaming his lack of track time this morning as the reason for being so far back compared with his teammate.
Villeneuve on the pace
Jacques Villeneuve lived up to the promise he predicted for his BAR at this track with the sixth fastest time of the session, although he had to walk back to the pits when his BAR's engine shut down on his last lap. Ricardo Zonta was back in 11th spot complaining that he was losing time with a braking problem.
Irvine 'disappointed' with seventh
"The car was not as good this afternoon as it was this morning so I struggled a bit and was disappointed not to make fifth," said Irvine. He also admitted that he backed off a little on the last corner to ensure a quick lap and said that had ultimately cost him fifth place in the Jaguar. After being happy with his car this morning, Herbert complained that his Jaguar was under-steering too much this afternoon following an engine change! He was 12th fastest.
Schumacher hoping for points
"I am at the bottom of my forecast where I would be here, between fifth and eighth place, but I am still hoping to end up with some points," said Ralf Schumacher. Jenson Button was back in 16th place, suffering from the lost set-up time he had this morning as well as traffic on two of his runs.
Trulli and Frentzen shared the fifth row for Jordan, Trulli complaining of a wrong tyre strategy and Frentzen his lack of set-up time because of his morning dramas. Jos Verstappen damaged the radiator and undertray of his Arrows when he slid wide over a kerb.
Pos Driver Team Times
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:37.397 204.881 km/h
2. Hakkinen McLaren Mercedes 1:37.860 + 0.463
3. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes 1:37.889 + 0.492
4. Barrichello Ferrari 1:37.896 + 0.499
5. Wurz Benetton Playlife 1:38.644 + 1.247
6. Villeneuve BAR Honda 1:38.653 + 1.256
7. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth 1:38.696 + 1.299
8. R.Schumacher Williams BMW 1:38.739 + 1.342
9. Trulli Jordan Mugen-Honda 1:38.909 + 1.512
10. Frentzen Jordan Mugen-Honda 1:38.988 + 1.591
11. Zonta BAR Honda 1:39.158 + 1.761
12. Herbert Jaguar Cosworth 1:39.331 + 1.934
13. Fisichella Benetton Playlife 1:39.387 + 1.990
14. de la Rosa Arrows Supertec 1:39.443 + 2.046
15. Verstappen Arrows Supertec 1:39.489 + 2.092
16. Button Williams BMW 1:39.563 + 2.166
17. Salo Sauber Petronas 1:39.591 + 2.194
18. Alesi Prost Peugeot 1:40.065 + 2.668
19. Heidfeld Prost Peugeot 1:40.148 + 2.751
20. Diniz Sauber Petronas 1:40.521 + 3.124
21. Gene Minardi Fondmetal 1:40.662 + 3.265
22. Mazzacane Minardi Fondmetal 1:42.078 + 4.681
All timing unofficial