Archive for Sunday, June 15, 2003

Momentum continues for Williams-BMW

Schumacher, Montoya take top two spots

June 15, 2003

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— Ralf Schumacher has figured out qualifying and Juan Pablo Montoya has found a way to win. If the teammates can continue their recent success, Williams-BMW should have a banner day in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Schumacher and Montoya took the top two spots in qualifying Saturday at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, seemingly carrying over their momentum from Monaco two weeks ago. Schumacher started from the pole in that race and Montoya came from third to score his first victory of the season.

Both were strong in qualifying for today's race, with Schumacher posting a time of 1 minute, 15.529 seconds on the 2.709-mile, 15-turn track.

Montoya, who started from the pole here last year, was second with a lap of 1:15.923.

"You keep winning the poles, I'll keep winning the wins," Montoya joked to his teammate afterward.

But Schumacher badly wants a victory -- he's winless since Malaysia last season, a span of 22 races.

"I certainly have had a difficult time since my last victory," Schumacher said. "But (Monaco) has given the team a very big push."

Lurking right behind the Williams teammates will be five-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher, the defending race winner who qualified third in a Ferrari with a time of 1:16.047.

Asked how he felt about out-qualifying his older brother, Ralf couldn't resist poking fun at Michael.

"The best place for him to be is behind me," he said as the brothers began to laugh.

But Michael Schumacher won't be laughing today, not with an excellent chance before him to take over the lead in the driver standings for the first time this season. He trails Kimi Raikkonen by four points, and Raikkonen crashed during his qualifying lap and will start last on the grid.

"I saw that Raikkonen was off the track, but I just concentrated on doing my job," Michael Schumacher said. "I cannot ignore the fact that having him starting from the back of the grid is important in terms of the championship fight."

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