Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

Ralf early qualifying leader

August 2, 2003

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— Ralf Schumacher didn't go all out yet still led Williams-BMW into the top two spots Friday in pre-qualifying at the German Grand Prix.

Brother Michael Schumacher, seeking an unprecedented sixth Formula One championship, only was ninth-fastest in a Ferrari.

On a hot, dry day, Ralf Schumacher clocked in at 1 minute, 14.427 seconds on the 2.84-mile Hockenheimring, going 137.503 mph. Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was next in 1:14.673.

Pre-qualifying, new this season to F1, determines the order for qualifying today. The fastest driver is the last to take a qualifying run. The slowest of 20 cars goes out first.

"I am quite surprised to be at the front since I took it quite easy on my qualifying lap," Ralf said. "My car was simply perfect, brilliantly balanced and the tires behaved well, too."

Williams-BMW has dominated racing for six weeks. Between Schumacher and Montoya, they have had three victories, four seconds and three pole positions over the last five races. Ralf Schumacher won the European Grand Prix and followed with a victory two weeks ago in the French GP.

"Now I am looking forward to a good qualifying and a good race, especially because the weather forecast is predicting hot conditions which will suit our package," Ralf said, looking ahead to Sunday's race.

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