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Qualifying session leads to 'great expectations' for Bahrain GP

NEWS STORY
02/04/2005

Spare a thought for Rubens Barrichello, who goes into today's qualifying session having only completed 5 laps of the Bahrain circuit thus far this weekend. This afternoon he'll be using the (repaired) gearbox that failed yesterday, with a brand new 'box' on its way from Maranello for tomorrow's session. The Brazilian is really up against it.

Not having competed in Malaysia - indeed not having raced since Suzuka 2002 - Pedro de la Rosa will be first out today, followed by Takuma Sato, Patrick Friesacher and Jenson Button.

With four minutes remaining before the session gets underway, the air temperature is 41 degrees C, while the track temperature is 53 degrees.

Bang on time, de la Rosa leaves the McLaren garage, the session is underway.

The Spaniard, who has looked good all weekend, posts 28.969 at the first split. He's really at a disadvantage being first out as the track is very dirty. At the second split it's 1:08.312. At the line the McLaren 'tester' posts 1:30.725.

Next out is Sato, who missed Malaysia as a result of a virus. At the first split the Japanese driver posts 29.143, he's 0.17 down on de la Rosa. At the second split it's 1:08.726 as he loses a further 0.3s. The BAR driver crosses the line at 1:31.113, to go second, 0.388sd down on the McLaren.

Minardi's Patrick Friesacher completes the first sector in 30.070, he's already over a second down on de la Rosa. At the second split it's 1:11.671, he's now 3.3s down. The Austrian crosses the line at 1:34.848 to go third. A decent lap in what is clearly a horrible car.

Jenson Button is next out, the Englishman really needs a decent result this weekend. At the first split the Englishman posts 29.201, he's down by around 0.2s, however he makes up time in the second sector, edging ahead of his teammate. He crosses the line at 1:30.957 to go second, 0.232s off de la Rosa's pace.

Jacques Villeneuve is next out, another driver under pressure. He completes the first sector in 30.1, going on to complete the second in 1:09.009, he's 0.698s off the pace. He goes very wide on the exit to the final corner, which costs him a load of time. He crosses the line at 1:32.318, which puts him fourth.

At the first break it's de la Rosa, Button, Sato, Villeneuve and Friesacher.

This morning's pace-setter, Mark Webber, is first out. At the first split the Australian posts 29.043, he's slower than de la Rosa, but it's marginal. At the second split it's 1:08.406, he's now 0.095s down on the Spaniard. At the line it's 1:30.592, he's made up a lot of time and consequently takes pole.

Melbourne winner, Giancarlo Fisichella, is next out. At the first split the Renault driver posts 28.916, he's 0.127s up on the WilliamsF1 driver. At the second split it's 1:08.162, he's now almost quarter of a second up on Webber. A 1:30.445 sees the Roman take provisional pole.

Now its Rubens Barrichello's turn, what can he do, what can the F2005 do? At the first split the Brazilian posts 29.758, having made a real mess of Turn 1. At the second split it's 1:09.262, he's now over a second down on Fisichella. At the line it's 1:31.826, he goes sixth, of eight.

Christijan Albers is next out. At the first split the Dutch star posts 29.640, he's 0.724s down on the Renault. Like his teammate, he's working hard. It's 1:10.768 at the second split, he's doing well, considering. At the line the Minardi driver posts 1:34.005, which puts him eighth.

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