Saturday March 31st, 2001
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher took his seventh successive pole Saturday and made Formula One history with his brother Ralf in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The three-time world champion, who lapped the bumpy Interlagos circuit in 1:13.780, was joined on the front row for Sunday's third race of the season by the Williams driven by his younger sibling.
Ralf, in his fifth season in Formula One but yet to win, was 0.310 of a second slower than Michael but secured the best qualifying position of his career.
McLaren's former world champion Mika Hakkinen of Finland was third quickest behind the German brothers with the second Williams of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya alongside him on the second row.
It was the first time two brothers had filled the front row and Michael's pole left him one short of the record eight in a row achieved by the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna in 1988-89.
They had almost achieved the feat at the last race in Malaysia, before Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello pushed Ralf back to the second row at the last moment.
This time the Brazilian, who has failed to finish his home race on the last six consecutive occasions, failed to muscle his way on to the front row and was just sixth fastest.
"Obviously it's a great pleasure to see my little brother next to me," said Schumacher senior, who was not surprised by the outcome of the qualifying session.
Michael said that the first corner of the start would be a thrill for both of them.
"We know each other well enough, we will be hard but fair. Obviously we have two separate interests and he has to do what he has to do and so do I.
"For sure, we will not make a crash out of the situation but it will be tight," said the Ferrari driver.
"We'll try our best for tomorrow," added Ralf, whose car has the fastest straight-line speed of any on the grid at the moment.
"I think I'm in a good position although I'm on the dirty line on the inside which is not always perfect.
"I think if I have I good start it should be difficult to overtake me."
"We couldn't find the right balance for the car," Hakkinen said.
The form of the BMW-powered Williams cars reinforced the growing evidence that the team, after finishing third overall last season, were now capable of matching Ferrari and McLaren on speed.
But doubts remain about the team's ability to be competitive over a full race distance and Michael Schumacher still seemed in a class of his own.
"We want to have another victory but every good series will have an end at some stage," he said.
The McLaren of David Coulthard, fastest in Friday's practice, was alongside Barrichello on row three.
"For Rubens, in his home Grand Prix, not to be where he wanted to be is obviously disappointing," said Schumacher of his teammate.
"As far back as he is, it's obviously not nice for him and for some degree for the team.
"But then it's so close we'll have to see what happens."
Montoya had a remarkable day. He was fastest in final free practice but then crashed into the tyre barrier after bouncing across a gravel trap with the qualifying session barely started.
The Colombian was seen arguing with an official after he climbed out of his car and then ran across the track.
After a long jog in the heat around the track, Montoya eventually made it back to the pits with about 42 minutes remaining and continued the qualifying session in the spare Williams.
He immediately went fourth fastest.
Surprisingly, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rows on the grid went in team order.
Jordan filled seventh and eighth places, followed by the two Saubers, the BARS and Jaguar.
Benetton's Jenson Button, in 20th place, was out-qualified by the Minardi of 19-year-old Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
Pos. Driver Team Times
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:13.780 210.252 km/h
2. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:14.090 + 0.310
3. Hakkinen McLaren Mercedes (B) 1:14.122 + 0.342
4. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:14.165 + 0.385
5. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (B) 1:14.178 + 0.398
6. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:14.191 + 0.411
7. Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 1:14.630 + 0.850
8. Frentzen Jordan Honda (B) 1:14.633 + 0.853
9. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 1:14.810 + 1.030
10. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) 1:14.924 + 1.144
11. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:15.046 + 1.266
12. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:15.182 + 1.402
13. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:15.192 + 1.412
14. Burti Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:15.371 + 1.591
15. Alesi Prost Acer (M) 1:15.437 + 1.657
16. Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:15.657 + 1.877
17. Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:15.704 + 1.924
18. Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 1:16.175 + 2.395
19. Alonso European Minardi (M) 1:16.184 + 2.404
20. Button Benetton Renault (M) 1:16.229 + 2.449
21. Mazzacane Prost Acer (M) 1:16.520 + 2.740
22. Marques European Minardi (M) 1:16.784 + 3.004
All timing unofficial