2002 Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying
Honda F1 Press Information 25 May 2002
FISICHELLA HEADS HONDA FOURSOME
Jordan Honda driver qualifies 11th for Monaco Grand Prix
Giancarlo Fisichella will start the 60th Monaco Grand Prix from row six of the grid tomorrow after he qualified his DHL Jordan Honda in 11th position. 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 respectively.
Due to the twisty, narrow Monaco street circuit the drivers know there is a good chance they will 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 1m18.342s, 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 half way through the qualifying hour to complete two flying laps in succession. The Canadian driver set his best time of 1m19.252s on his third and final outing, improving on his initial timed lap by just over a second, placing him 14th on the grid.
Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato set his best time of 1m19.461s on his second outing, improving on his initial time by over a second, placing him on the eighth row in 16th position. B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis set his best time of 1m19.569s on his third outing, but the Frenchman was blocked by Alex Yoong (Minardi) in the last sector, which ruined his quickest run. Panis improved on his first timed lap by seven tenths of a second, placing him in 18th position.
As Monaco basked in glorious sunshine (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 on 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."
1 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams BMW 1m16.676s
2 David Coulthard McLaren Mercedes 1m17.068s
3 Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1m17.118s
4 Ralf Schumacher Williams BMW 1m17.274s
5 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 1m17.357s
6 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes 1m17.660s
7 Jarno Trulli Renault 1m17.710s
8 Jenson Button Renault 1m18.132s
9 Mika Salo Toyota 1m18.234s
10 Allan McNish Toyota 1m18.292s
11 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan Honda 1m18.342s
12 Heinz Harald Frentzen Arrows Cosworth 1m18.607s
13 Felipe Massa Sauber Petronas 1m19.006s
14 Jacques Villeneuve B.A.R Honda 1m19.252s
15 Enrique Bernoldi Arrows Cosworth 1m19.412s
16 Takuma Sato Jordan Honda 1m19.461s
17 Nick Heidfeld Sauber Petronas 1m19.500s
18 Olivier Panis B.A.R Honda 1m19.569s
19 Mark Webber Minardi Asiatech 1m19.674s
20 Pedro De La Rosa Jaguar 1m19.796s
21 Eddie Irvine Jaguar 1m20.139s
22 Alex Yoong Minardi Asiatech 1m21.599s