Last Friday, during a practice session, Ralf Schumacher violently hit a wall, because of his tyres as it seems. Replacing him, Ricardo Zonta met the same problem and crashed his car too. Fortunately, they were not injured. Nevertheless, Michelin confess they don’t exactly know what happened and thus, want to be allowed to fit new tyres on all the cars they provide – as a precaution–, which is prohibited by F1 rules. The authorities have yet to take a decision concerning Michelin. They are under a very high pressure for the teams provided by Michelin have threatened to pull out the race if the French tyre manufacturer advised them to. In this case, the race would be cancelled, which remains unlikely given all the money involved.
All the pilots pushed very hard to be in pole position and eventually, Italian driver Jarno Trulli turned out to be the quickest on track, in spite of what happened to his team mate, posting an impressive 1m10.625 in his Toyota.
In his McLaren, Kimi Raikkonen is very close behind, only 0.069 slower. Then we find Button (BAR), Fisichella (Renault), Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), Alonso (Renault), Barrichello (Ferrari), Sato (BAR), Webber (Williams), Massa (Sauber), Montoya (McLaren), Villeneuve (Sauber), Zonta (Toyota), Klien (Red Bull), Heidfeld (Williams), Coulthard (Red Bull), Monteiro (Jordan), Albers (Minardi), Karthikeyan (Jordan) and Friesachier (Minardi).
McLaren, Renault and Ferrari did not meet many problems during the session and say they feel confident. On the contrary, WilliamsGP were not satisfied at all but they hope their strategy wil help them.
Of course, strategies will be a big concern: in a same team, 2 pilots may have different ones, which explains why Raikkonen is second while Montoya is only eleventh. Many pilots complained about the lack of grip, so tyres will play a key-role. How will Bridgestone react if Michelin is allowed to bring new tyres in?