Schumacher On Top Again
May 12, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Schumacher’s time of 1:09.562 was over a second faster than Mika Hakkinen's pole speed last year. It was the 37th pole position of Schumacher's career and his ninth in 10 races.
"I am a bit surprised because in practice we were not so fast," Schumacher said. "It's good to be on the pole here because you can dictate the pace."
Montoya’s BMW Williams teammate Ralf Schumacher will start third followed by Michael Schumacher’s teammate Rubens Barrichello. Jordan pilot Jarno Trulli was fifth fastest in qualifying.
Schumacher, who has never won in Austria, also survived a late scare when he was trying to get in one last flyer lap at the end of the session. The Arrows car driven by Jos Verstappen spun in front of him sending Schumacher into evasive action. The German driver had to run wide into the gravel to avoid the car.
"I wanted to get in that lap and I was going nicely when I saw Jos going off and I thought I could get by him, but then I saw him coming toward me and I had to go inside and avoid him." Schumacher explained. "I saw everything that was happening and I was totally in control. I was thinking he would come back and I was totally prepared to avoid that."
McLaren teammates Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard struggled in qualifying, surprising many including Montoya.
"Judging from this morning I thought we would be in the top six but I never expected we would be ahead of the McLarens," he said. "We definitely got a lot of improvements in the car and it paid off. We have been very close all weekend and it's good to be on the front row."
Sauber rookie Nick Heidfeld will start sixth on the grid followed by Coulthard, Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen and Olivier Panis.