|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Trulli fastest in first Japan qualifying
October 10, 2003 12:23 IST
Last Updated: October 10, 2003 17:40 IST
Italian Jarno Trulli raised Renault's hopes with the fastest time in Friday's first qualifying for Sunday's title-deciding Japanese Grand Prix.
Trulli lapped the figure-of-eight Suzuka circuit in one minute 30.281 seconds, 0.062 ahead of Germany's Ralf Schumacher in the Williams.
Ralf's older brother Michael, the Ferrari driver who need finish only eighth to take a record sixth Formula One championship, was third with sole title rival Kimi Raikkonen fifth quickest.
McLaren's Raikkonen must win on Sunday to have any chance of preventing Schumacher from being crowned champion.
Schumacher has 92 points to Raikkonen's 83.
Sunday will also decide the constructors' championship with Ferrari three points clear of Williams at the top.
Renault won the Hungarian Grand Prix in August with Spaniard Fernando Alonso and expect to be challenging for the podium at Suzuka as well. In another blow to Raikkonen in a session that merely determined the start times for Saturday's definitive qualifying, the Finn was slower than British team mate David Coulthard.
Japan's Takuma Sato, replacing Jacques Villeneuve after the Canadian former champion quit BAR before what would have been his final race for the team, was 11th fastest at a circuit he knows better than any other.
His British team mate Jenson Button was 16th.
Times in Friday's first qualifying: