Coulthard Hot In Imola
April 14, 2001 | 11:00 A.M. EST
Coulthard grabbed the last-gasp pole position smashing Michael Schumacher's hopes of equaling Ayrton Senna's record of eight straight poles.
Mika Hakkinen made it an all-McLaren front row, while brothers Ralf and Michael Schumacher will start side-by-side for the second week in a row at third and fourth. Jordan driver Jarno Trulli qualified fifth.
"It was clear that the right moment to go for a time was at the end, but I did not make the most of it," Michael Schumacher said. "I lost four tenths in the last sector on my last lap. It was my fault. The car’s balance is as neutral as it has to be and it wasn’t an issue today."
Michael Schumacher said he isn’t phased by his worst starting position since the 2000 Belgian Grand Prix.
“I am not bothered about missing out on eight consecutive poles, but I am disappointed for our fans,” he said. “But I can assure them that tomorrow will be interesting. Strategy will be very important. The situation is not as bad as it looks and starting from fourth place, everything is still possible."
Coulthard's time was more than a second inside Hakkinen's 2000 pole time of 1:24.714 and inside the lap record of 1:25.531 set by Germany's Heinz-Harald Frentzen in a Williams in 1997.
"I'm really pleased with my pole position and the fact that it appears we have taken a step forward with the package," Coulthard said. "I went off the circuit yesterday and damaged the chassis so we changed it overnight and the team was working until early this morning, so this is the best reward they could get. We made a lot of changes during practice this morning and continued to do so during qualifying. After my penultimate run, I was still struggling with the rear and had difficulties carrying speed into the corners. We made some adjustments and I pushed a little bit more, and it was enough."
Rubens Barrichello qualified sixth and Juan Pablo Montoya will start the race seventh. Olivier Panis, Frentzen, and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the Top 10.
With no rain in the forecast for Sunday and Ralf Schumacher starting third, Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director thinks the race could bring good things to the much heralded Williams team.
"We had a trouble-free qualifying and everything went according to our plan," Berger said. "In the end Ralf did a good lap whereas Juan Pablo lost some time in the last sector. As long as it remains dry we are confident that tomorrow we will be able to increase our points score."