Trulli poised to spoil Alonso's fiesta?

07/05/2005
NEWS STORY

First out for today's qualifying session will be Juan Pablo Montoya - who has missed the last two races - followed by Imola retirees Giancarlo Fisichella, Patrick Friesacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello and Christijan Albers.

The air temperature is up to 23 degrees C, while the track temperature is 39 degrees. The sky is blue and the sun is shining.

At 13:00, Juan Pablo noses his McLaren out of its garage and heads off down the pitlane. Having locked up twice on his out lap, the Colombian crosses the line to begin his flying lap, completing the first sector in 22.648s. At the second split it's 52.787, followed by a 1:15.902 at the line, a disappointing lap.

Next out is Melbourne winner Fisichella. The Roman completes the first sector in 22.659, he's down on Montoya. At the second split it's 52.658, he's now up on the McLaren. He crosses the line at 1:15.601, a conservative lap.

Patrick Friesacher is next out in the very fast Minardi. At the first split it's 23.882, not bad considering. At the second split the Austrian posts 55.822, losing a whole heap of time. At the line it's 1:20.306, 4.7s off the pace.

Kimi Raikkonen takes to the track, the Finn completing the first sector in 22.678, despite having gone wide at Turn 2. At the second split it's 52.447, he's 0.2 up on Fisichella. At the line it's 1:14.819, good enough for provisional pole, but a ragged lap.

Rubens Barrichello is next out, the Brazilian having changed his engine, which means a loss of 10 grid spots. At the first split it's 22.580, he's 0.098s up on Raikkonen. At the second split it's 52.852, he's lost almost half a second. At the line it's 1:15.746, he's 0.9s down on the McLaren.

At the first break it's: Raikkonen ahead of Fisichella, Barrichello, Montoya and Friesacher.

Next out is Christijan albers in the second Minardi, the Dutchman has had more than his fair share of problems this weekend. He completes the first sector in 23.539, he's 0.8s off the pace. He's really fighting the car, finishing the second sector in 55.247s. At the line it's 1:19.563.

Tiago Monteiro is on track. At the first split the Jordan driver posts 23.570, he's 0.89s off the pace. At the second split it's 55.154, followed by a 1:19.040 at the line.

Teammate Narain Karthikeyan is next out. At the first split the Indian posts 23.277, which puts him 0.5s off the pace. At the second split the youngster posts 54.880, he's now 2.4s off the pace. At the line the Indian posts 1:18.557.

David Coulthard takes to the track in the Red Bull. At the first split it's 22.544, he's 0.13s up on Raikkonen. At the second split the Scot posts 52.764, he's now 0.318s down on the Finn. At the line the F1 veteran posts 1:15.795, which puts him fourth, following a disappointing final sector.

Felipe Massa completes the first sector in 22.703, he's only 0.025s off the pace. At the second split it's 53.060, he's now 0.6s down on Raikkonen. At the line the Brazilian posts 1:15.863, to take fifth.

This morning's pace-setter, Ralf Schumacher, is next out. The German completes the first sector in 22.543, he's 0.13s up on the McLaren. At the second split it's 52.288, he's still up on Raikkonen, but it's marginal. At the line it's 1:14.870 as he loses time. He'll be disappointed with that.

Tonio Liuzzi is next out, the Italian having looked good for much of the weekend, thus far. At the first split it's 22.777. At the second split it's 52.971, he's 0.5s down on Raikkonen. He makes a mistake at Turn 10, consequently crossing the line at 1:16.288, to go eighth.

Mark Webber is next out. At the first split the WilloiamsF1 driver posts 22.379, he's 0.29s up on Raikkonen. At the second split the Australian posts 52.344, he's still up on the McLaren driver. At the line it's 1:15.042, yet another driver to lose time in the final sector.

Teammate Nick Heidfeld is next out, will go for it, or simply "sit there". At the first split it's 22.438, he's 0.240s up on Raikkonen. At the second split the German posts 52.396, he's now 0.050s to the good. At the line it's 1:15.038, he goes third.

Jarno Trulli is next out in the Toyota. At the first split the Italian posts 22.442, he's 0.236s up on Raikkonen. At the second split it's 52.348, he's still up on the Finn, but it's marginal. At the line it's 1:14.795, he takes provisional pole by 0.024s.

At the third, and final break, it's Trulli, ahead of Raikkonen, Ralf, Heidfeld, Webber, Fisichella, Barrichello, Coulthard, Massa and Montoya.

Next out is Jacques Villeneuve, who finished fourth at Imola, courtesy of the disqualification of both BARs. The Canadian completes the first sector in 23.007, he's already 0.56s down on Trulli. At the second split it's 53.781, followed by a 1:16.974, which puts him twelfth. A disappointing lap.

Michael Schumacher completes the first sector in 22.404, which puts him 0.03s up on Trulli. At the second split it's 52.547, he's now 0.200 down on the Toyota. At the line it's 1:15.398, he's sixth, he gave 100% but it wasn't enough.

Last out is local (national) hero Alonso. At the first split it's 22.473, he's down on Trulli, but it's close. At the second split it's 52.132, he's made up time, he's now 0.215s to the good. At the line it's 1:14.811, which puts him second. A strong lap, which the crowd applauds, but it wasn't enough.

Summing up, some strong laps, particularly from Trulli, Alonso and Raikkonen, with the top 6 covered by less than a quarter of a second.

Both Toyotas look good, as do the WilliamsF1s, while Montoya, in particular will be ruing a mistake that cost McLaren dearly.

Due the way in which the current qualifying format works (sigh), it's way too early to start making predictions, however it would be a brave man to bet against Alonso making it win number four on Sunday, especially in light of the boost he'll get from the crowd.

On the other hand, Ferrari is clearly suffering, with Michael seventh and (poor old) Rubens due to drop ten grid spots - what has this guy to offend the Gods?

The Red Bulls were disappointing as were the Saubers, that said, there's a long way to go.

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Published: 07/05/2005
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