Atlas F1 News Service

Schuey Leads Ferrari Front Row;
Qualifying - Malaysian GP

Saturday March 17th, 2001

Michael Schumacher, todayMichael Schumacher took pole position for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix after a frantic battle with his brother Ralf in Saturday's qualifying session - although the session ended with an all-Ferrari front row once again.

The world champion took his sixth pole in a row with just three minutes remaining when a storming lap took him ahead of brother Ralf by almost 0.3 seconds.

"Our father must have gone mad with his heart rate," said the older brother, who will be chasing his sixth successive victory in Sunday's race.

But Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello spoilt the Schumacher family party by moving up in the closing moments of the session to make it a Ferrari front row lock out once again.

McLaren struggled in the heat of Sepang and although Mika Hakkinen improved matters by moving up to fourth in a frantic final minute, it was nevertheless a disappointing performance by the Woking team.

The anticipated heat gave the drivers and cars a challenge, and at the start of the session the track temperature touched 40 degrees but all cars remained on soft rubber.

An over-exuberant Jarno Trulli had a trip across the grass in his Jordan early on, as Barrichello topped the times with 23 minutes gone.

Schumacher was right on the pace when he went out for his first flying lap, and despite getting it sideways in the 12th corner, the world champion replaced his Ferrari team-mate in provisional pole nearly halfway through the session.

Benetton were high up the timesheets early on, but the usual top runners at Jordan, BAR, and Williams soon pushed them down.

Ralf Schumacher put in a stunning lap after 35 minutes, and he stole provisional pole from his brother with Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya making it up to fourth despite a lack of knowledge of the track.

McLaren were clearly struggling with Coulthard in fifth and Hakkinen 12th, and although the Finn moved up to fifth 20 minutes from the end, it was not the expected performance from the Silver Arrows.

The track temperature dropped during the session, offering the chance for faster lap times, and Barrichello became the first man into the high one minute 35's to knock Ralf Schumacher off pole with a quarter of an hour to go.

Almost immediately after the Brazilian moved to the head of the field the lap times continued to drop and both Schumacher brothers claimed provisional pole in rapid succession to make it a family front row with the elder Michael eventually winning out.

Barrichello's last-minute lap took him up to second, 0.099 seconds behind team-mate Schumacher, with Hakkinen forced to start behind Ralf Schumacher's third-placed Williams, 0.8 seconds adrift of pole.

The Williams team were buoyant, and Montoya ended the session in an impressive sixth place, whilst emotions were at the other end of the scale at McLaren with David Coulthard down in eighth.

The Honda runners filled out the rest of the top ten, and Jarno Trulli was their fastest runner, putting his Jordan into fifth place and continuing to show the form that saw him top the times in Friday practice.

Jean Alesi gave Prost some hope by ending in 13th place, but Jaguar failed to achieve the success they had on Friday. Eddie Irvine finished in 12th with Luciano Burti 15th.

Both Saubers also found themselves solidly in the midfield, whilst Benetton claimed exactly the same grid positions as they had in Australia with 16th for Giancarlo Fisichella and 17th for Jenson Button.

Arrows had a disappointing day to end at the back of the top 20, while both the Minardis qualified despite off-track excursions during the session.

Pos. Driver        Team                  Times                 
 1.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari          (B)  1:35.220  209.565 km/h
 2.  Barrichello   Ferrari          (B)  1:35.319    +    0.099
 3.  R.Schumacher  Williams BMW     (M)  1:35.511    +    0.291
 4.  Hakkinen      McLaren Mercedes (B)  1:36.040    +    0.820
 5.  Trulli        Jordan Honda     (B)  1:36.180    +    0.960
 6.  Montoya       Williams BMW     (M)  1:36.218    +    0.998
 7.  Villeneuve    BAR Honda        (B)  1:36.397    +    1.177
 8.  Coulthard     McLaren Mercedes (B)  1:36.417    +    1.197
 9.  Frentzen      Jordan Honda     (B)  1:36.578    +    1.358
10.  Panis         BAR Honda        (B)  1:36.681    +    1.461
11.  Heidfeld      Sauber Petronas  (B)  1:36.913    +    1.693
12.  Irvine        Jaguar Cosworth  (M)  1:37.140    +    1.920
13.  Alesi         Prost Acer       (M)  1:37.406    +    2.186
14.  Raikkonen     Sauber Petronas  (B)  1:37.728    +    2.508
15.  Burti         Jaguar Cosworth  (M)  1:38.035    +    2.815
16.  Fisichella    Benetton Renault (M)  1:38.086    +    2.866
17.  Button        Benetton Renault (M)  1:38.258    +    3.038
18.  Verstappen    Arrows Asiatech  (B)  1:38.509    +    3.289
19.  Mazzacane     Prost Acer       (M)  1:39.006    +    3.786
20.  Marques       European Minardi (M)  1:39.714    +    4.494
21.  Alonso        European Minardi (M)  1:40.249    +    5.029
22.  Bernoldi      Arrows Asiatech  (B)  No time *

(*) Times removed after his car did not comply with the regulations

All Timing Unofficial



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*(03-16-2005): Malaysia Preview Quotes: Jordan


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