|Formula One World Championship Round 7
Round 7 : Monaco (Monte-Carlo)
Fisichella Heads Honda
| Giancarlo Fisichella will start the
60th Monaco Grand Prix from row six of the grid tomorrow after qualifying
in 11th position in his DHL Jordan Honda. Jacques Villeneuve (Lucky Strike
B·A·R Honda) qualified in 14th position while Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda)
and Olivier Panis (B·A·R Honda) will start from 16th and 18th positions
On the twisty, narrow Monaco street circuit the drivers know it is easy to get blocked while trying to complete their flying laps, and many of them experienced the unforgiving nature of the principality today. All four Honda-powered drivers completed four sets of three laps, except for B·A·R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve, who decided to put in two flying laps on his first outing.
Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella set his best time of 1 minute 18.342 seconds, the quickest lap on Bridgestone tyres after the two Ferraris, on his third outing, improving on his first timed lap by over a second and a half and securing 11th position on the grid. B·A·R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve took to the track halfway through the qualifying hour to complete two flying laps in succession. The Canadian driver set his best time of 1:19.252 on his third and final outing, improving on his initial timed lap by just over a second and placing him 14th on the grid.
Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato set his best time of 1 minute 19.461 seconds on his second outing, more than one second faster than his initial time, which places him on the eighth row in 16th position. B·A·R Honda's Olivier Panis's best time of 1:19.569 was set on his third outing, but the Frenchman was blocked by Alex Yoong (Minardi) in the last sector, which ruined what would have been his quickest run. Panis improved on his first timed lap by seven tenths of a second to secure 18th position.
As Monaco basked in glorious sunshine and temperatures of up to 22 degrees Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) secured pole position followed by the McLaren of David Coulthard and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher. His brother Ralf and Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello will start from fourth and fifth positions with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen completing the top six positions for tomorrow's grid.
Shuhei Nakamoto --- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"The mid-field battle is proving to be incredibly tough this year and we have to improve the package if we want to achieve consistent top ten qualifying positions. We clearly haven't been able to do this today so I'm quite frustrated. Our drivers did everything they could but we have to give them a better chance of being able to fight for points at every race. Having said that, Monaco is a notoriously unpredictable race and we're going to give it everything."
Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 11th
"Earlier this weekend I expected to be in the top ten and I have qualified 11th, which is not a bad position. My engineer and I did a good job together and the car was well balanced, but because I was driving to the limit, unfortunately it was very easy to make mistakes on the track. Behind the Ferraris, I was the quickest with Bridgestone tyres, which demonstrates that our set-up worked well."
Jacques Villeneuve Position: 14th
"The balance of the car wasn't too bad considering we've been working mainly with the tyres so far this weekend. On my first two runs I had traffic so I knew there was a better lap to be done than the first two. It was just a question of attack, attack! I've started further back than 14th before and managed to finish in the points so anything is possible here. It's a long race; you have to be fast and not make any mistakes. That's the key to Monaco."
Takuma Sato Position: 16th
"Generally it wasn't a bad session, but we had difficulties in applying all the set-up changes I would have liked, in order to manage the changing track conditions and understeer which I experienced. There was also a lot of traffic on my last runs so all in all I wasn't able to get a top time from the car."
Olivier Panis Position: 18th
"I'm really disappointed with 18th today because qualifying has been much better for me over the last few races. The team have done a good job throughout the weekend and we took the right direction with the tyres. My third run was definitely the quickest and I was four tenths up in my first two sectors, but then I was blocked by Yoong in the last sector and it ruined a good time for me. I wasn't able to improve on the last run and 18th is where I have to start the race. Qualifying is critical here but, unfortunately, the car we have at present is not good enough. It will be a tough race for us now but we have to make the best of it and look for every opportunity tomorrow."
| Formula One World Championship Round 7
Round 7 : Monaco (Monte-Carlo)