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Fischella on pole in Melbourne 06 Mar 2005

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault in the post qualifying press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR in the post qualifying press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005 Felipe Massa (BRA) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005 Mark Webber (AUS) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Race Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 6 March 2005

Italian puts his Saturday advantage to full effect

Giancarlo Fisichella will start from pole position for the second time in his career after the inaugural Sunday morning qualifying session, giving Renault a dream start to their 2005 campaign.

The session started at 10 am and soon took an unexpected turn. Given the need to conserve engines and tyres, Sauber’s Felipe Massa did not even venture out, while BAR’s Takuma Sato completed only an out lap before returning to the pits, since whatever either of them did would not materially improve their grid positions. Similarly Michael Schumacher, with a fresh V10 in his Ferrari, did only an out lap. Then Christijan Albers’ Minardi played up leaving the garage and he failed to make it out of the pit lane in time.

In between this Ralf Schumacher lapped his Toyota in an aggregate 3m 22.717s to go fastest, followed by Patrick Friesacher who lost a place to the German after taking his Minardi round in 3m 28.363s.

Fernando Alonso had a good run in the Renault, taking a second off Ralf to go fastest with 3m 17.466s, then Tiago Monteiro dropped from 13th to 14th after recording 3m 20.329s in his Jordan.

Juan Pablo Montoya stayed ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Alonso when he lapped in 3m 14.645s to go fastest (the Brazilian managed 3m 16.822s), then McLaren team mate Kimi Raikkonen excited everyone by nearly losing control of his MP4-20 after a grassy moment. The Finn’s final result was 3m 15.388s, so he lost a place to Montoya as a result of the mistake.

After that, the top eight remained the same, except that Red Bull racers David Coulthard and Christian Klien switched places for fifth and sixth. The overall fastest lap of the session fell to Mark Webber in 1m 28.279s to Fisichella’s 1m 28.289s, but several drivers claimed to have made banker laps merely to maintain their places.

Besides Klien and Raikkonen, the big losers were Narain Karthikeyan, who lost places to Montoya, Raikkonen and Barrichello (as expected); Tiago Monteiro who lost a place to Alonso; and Friesacher, who lost one to Ralf Schumacher.

However, both Michael Schumacher and Sato have had engine changes, each losing 10 grid places.

Thus, the grid reads: Fisichella and Trulli; Webber and Villeneuve; Coulthard and Klien; Heidfeld and Button; Montoya and Raikkonen; Barrichello and Karthikeyan; Alonso and Monteiro; Ralf Schumacher and Friesacher; Albers and Massa, Michael Schumacher and Sato.