USA Saturday notes - McLaren


West McLaren Mercedes driver Kimi Raikkonen qualified on the front row for tomorrow's USA Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after setting a time of 1.10.694 which was only 0.069 of a second from pole position. Team mate Juan Pablo Montoya's time of 1:11.681 puts him 11th. As a result of his disqualification from the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend, the Colombian had to start second in today's qualifying session.

Kimi Raikkonen: "I think that was a pretty good lap, and I was very close to getting pole position, but at least we got on the front row. It will be interesting to see what strategies the other drivers are using. Like a lot of other teams our preparations were made a bit difficult by the Michelin situation, but we just continue to do what we can in our fight for the Championships. The car was working well, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race. My side of the track might be a bit slippery, but we will see what happens."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "I knew that it would be difficult because I had to do my qualifying lap so early, but it was not until I got out there I realised how challenging it would be. There was no grip, and I was sliding all over the place. The lap was OK, and whilst I did lock up a bit I don't think it lost me too much time. Obviously we had to change the tyre pressure slightly following advice from Michelin, but it didn't really affect the handling too much and it's the same for everybody. I believe the car is quick enough to win the race, but starting so far back its going to be extremely challenging."

Ron Dennis: "Taking into account our race strategy, the grid positions are very good. Kimi's qualifying lap was tremendous and Juan Pablo also did an excellent job considering his strategy and the fact that he was out second for his qualifying run. A front row position and taking into account our starting performances so far this year Kimi should have a good opportunity to fight for the victory.
With our Partner Michelin we are awaiting the final result of the detailed investigation that is being finalised at their research facilities. We along with the other Michelin teams will then decide the appropriate way forward for the race."

Norbert Haug: "Kimi's front row grid position is a perfect basis for the race. With 69 thousands of a second behind pole his qualifying lap was impressive, and he is starting the fifth time in the last six races from the front row. Our strategy should also help Juan Pablo to perform well. He obviously suffered from being second out in comparatively bad track conditions. But first of all we need to clarify the tyre situation together with our partner Michelin."

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Published: 18/06/2005
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