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Barrichello puts Ferrari on pole at Monza
Alan Baldwin | September 11, 2004 21:32 IST
Brazilian Rubens Barrichello roared to the fastest pole position in Formula One history on Saturday to put Ferrari in the driving seat for their home Italian Grand Prix.
He will line up alongside the Williams of Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya, who went even faster in pre-qualifying, with Ferrari's seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher on the row behind in third place.
"It's just unbelievable, a great feeling," said the Brazilian, still chasing his first win since Japan at the end of last season.
"It's been a phenomenal achievement for me in terms of getting all the bits of the racetrack right. I'm really pleased."
Barrichello lapped the fastest circuit on the calendar in one minute 20.089 seconds, at an average speed of 260.395 kph and 0.531 quicker than Montoya, for his second pole of the season and 11th of his career.
His last pole was at Indianapolis in June.
However Montoya blasted round at an average speed of 262.242 kph on his pre-qualifying run for Formula One's fastest single lap yet.
"I pushed pretty hard, just made a mistake in braking into the second chicane," said the Colombian, who is moving to McLaren next year. "I might have been three tenths faster but I don't think I could have matched Rubens.
"We're on the front row, I think that's good for the team. We need the points."
Ferrari and Schumacher have already clinched both championships, the German at the last race in Belgium and the team the constructors' title in Hungary on August 15.
Three rounds remain after Monza and Williams are fourth, just five points clear of McLaren.
Spain's Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest for Renault, second in the championship, on a bright afternoon in the former royal park near Milan.
Schumacher has taken 12 victories in 14 races and won at Monza last year to end a run of poor form. The circumstances are very different this time, with Sunday's race billed as a celebration homecoming for the champions.
The German, who has said he will do what he can to help Barrichello finish as overall runner-up this season, struggled slightly in the morning with his car's set-up but remained optimistic.
"I made a mistake on the last corner which was my own fault and that cost me quite a lot, but not enough to get the pole position honestly," he said.
"Rubens just did a perfect lap and there was nothing that I could do about that...but it's looking very good for the race tomorrow, being in the position we are.
"Coming here having won both championships, it would be great to do it in style. It would be the perfect way to thank our 'tifosi' (fans)."
Japan's Takuma Sato qualified fifth for BAR alongside British team mate Jenson Button with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Belgium, seventh.
Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, standing in again for recuperating German Ralf Schumacher at Williams, was eighth.
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