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Home > Sports > News > Reuters > Report

Barrichello fastest in qualifying

March 07, 2003 12:17 IST

Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello took the honours on Friday as Formula One experienced single-shot qualifying for the first time ahead of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The Brazilian, on pole in Australia last year, lapped the Albert Park circuit in one minute 26.372 seconds to ensure that he will run last in Saturday's decisive shoot-out for the front row slot.

Friday's qualifying, with drivers each getting the track to themselves for one flying lap, determined only the starting order for Saturday's similar session.

Finland's Kimi Raikkonen was second quickest for McLaren, 0.179 slower than Barrichello, while Canada's 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was third in a BAR ahead of Ferrari's five times world champion Michael Schumacher.

Briton Jenson Button, in a BAR, was fifth quickest ahead of compatriot David Coulthard in a McLaren.

The session started in 2002 championship order, with Schumacher first on the track and Toyota's Brazilian rookie Cristiano da Matta last out.

The Williams duo of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher looked surprisingly slow, although tactics now play a far greater role under revamped rules designed to spice up a sport dominated by Ferrari and cut costs.

Montoya, on pole seven times last year, managed the 10th fastest time while Ralf was only 16th.

The new drivers had a tough baptism, Briton Ralph Firman running into the dirt on his flying lap for Jordan and Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia doing the same for Jaguar.

The latter's error allowed Minardi's Dutchman Jos Verstappen to clock a faster lap than Pizzonia.

Britain's Justin Wilson, who will make his Minardi debut on Sunday, was slowest and will start first on Saturday.

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