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Schumacher Grabs 50th F1 Pole in Delayed Qualifying

Saturday October 12th, 2002

By Timothy Collings

Michael Schumacher claimed the 50th pole position of his Formula One career today as a big crowd at Suzuka's famous fairground circuit bathed in warm sunshine, but the session was overshadowed by a chilling moment, an alarming high-speed accident from which Allan McNish was very lucky to escape uninjured. It meant that the qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix was both shaken and stirred.

Schumacher, the quintuple champion who has dominated this season's competition almost at will, returned to his best form after clocking only the sixth best time on Friday in his Ferrari during a session split in half by a 65-minute interruption following Scot McNish's harrowing collision on the exit from the 130R corner.

McNish lost control of his Toyota as it mounted the kerb before it spun backwards, bounced off a gravel trap and made a shuddering impact with the barriers which broke asunder. It seemed that half of his car flew through the hole in the protective railings and onto the grass banking while the other half remained inside.

McNish, helped by marshals, staggered away, slumped with his head between his knees and then lay down prone on the grass before making a partial recovery, waving to the crowd and signalling he was alright.

Formula One's chief medical officer Sid Watkins said: "He had a big bang and he was a very lucky boy. We will need to take a close look at him. He might be okay after a night's sleep and then we'll see if he can do the warm-up and take part in the race."

The session ended in familiar fashion once the damage to the barriers was repaired with Schumacher and his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello taking the front row for the Italian team ahead of Briton David Coulthard and his McLaren Mercedes-Benz teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Ralf Schumacher and his Williams-BMW teammate Juan Pablo Montoya took fifth and sixth places on the grid and there was a valiant effort by Takuma Sato who secured seventh for the Jordan-Honda team ahead of his teammate Giancarlo Fisichella.


Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:31.317 229.482 km/h 9
2. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:31.749 + 0.432 12
3. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (M) 1:32.088 + 0.771 10
4. Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes (M) 1:32.197 + 0.880 7
5. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:32.444 + 1.127 10
6. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:32.507 + 1.190 9
7. Sato Jordan Honda (B) 1:33.090 + 1.773 11
8. Fisichella Jordan Honda (B) 1:33.276 + 1.959 9
9. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:33.349 + 2.032 11
10. Button Renault (M) 1:33.429 + 2.112 9
11. Trulli Renault (M) 1:33.547 + 2.230 7
12. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 1:33.553 + 2.236 12
13. Salo Toyota (M) 1:33.742 + 2.425 9
14. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:33.915 + 2.598 8
15. Massa Sauber Petronas (B) 1:33.979 + 2.662 11
16. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:34.192 + 2.875 10
17. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:34.227 + 2.910 12
18. McNish Toyota (M) 1:35.191 + 3.874 5
19. Webber Minardi Asiatech (M) 1:35.958 + 4.641 11
20. Yoong Minardi Asiatech (M) 1:36.267 + 4.950 9

All Timing Unofficial


Published at 06:18:04 GMT
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I have to say something about Sato, it's a great efford by him, he deserve some thumbs up!!! I want to see him continue in F1!
 

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rayyu882 said:
I have to say something about Sato, it's a great efford by him, he deserve some thumbs up!!! I want to see him continue in F1!
If BAR would rent Villeneuve to CART for '03, Sato would be the perfect guy to fill in.:(
 
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