Formula1 MF1 Midland Racing- French Grand Prix - Final Practice & Qualifying

Formula1 MF1 Midland Racing- French Grand Prix - Final Practice & Qualifying

15.07.2006: Formula1 MF1 Midland Racing- French Grand Prix - Final Practice & Qualifying

Saturday July 15th, 2006



Christijan Albers extended Midland F1 Racing's recent string of encouraging performances by once again piloting his M16 into the second qualifying session for the France Grand Prix, the first time an MF1 driver has accomplished the feat on consecutive race weekends.

Despite suffering from painful mouth ulcers that made it difficult for him to communicate with the team, Albers' lap time of 1:16.962 in the first qualifying session was the team's best of the weekend. He just missed duplicating it in the second session, and ultimately qualified 16th.

Tiago Monteiro improved on his best practice lap time by 0.898 of a second in qualifying, but struggled to come to grips with the balance of his car and will start the race from 20th position.



Tiago Monteiro (POR), #18 (Chassis: M16-03)

Third Timed Practice Session: 17th, 1:18.487 (+1.482), 23 laps completed

Qualifying: 20th, 1:17.589 (+2.096 from Pole Position lap), 7 laps completed

Quote: "This has been one of the toughest weekends for me so far. In addition to some technical issues, I've been having serious problems setting my car up the way I like and balancing it to my taste, which is a shame, because I really like this track. I don't understand why we can't get around it, but that's how it goes sometimes - that's racing. I'm also disappointed because I think I could have gone faster in qualifying. On my first flying lap, I was blocked by Coulthard, which is really surprising because he's always the first one to complain about it when it happens to him, so I wasn't expecting that kind of driving from him. On my second lap, I made a few mistakes because, as I said, the car is tricky to drive and I couldn't put in a clear lap. I'm disappointed and sorry for the team, but we need work hard in order to sort out these issues by tomorrow."




Christijan Albers (NED), #19 (Chassis: M16-02)

Third Timed Practice Session: 12th, 1:18.059 (+1.054), 24 laps completed

Qualifying: 16th, 1:17.105 (+1.612 from Pole Position lap), 8 + 3 laps completed

Quote: "I think we had a reasonable day. Reasonable, but not perfect - perfect would be pole position! Still, I think we are in good shape for the race and should be quite competitive. Bridgestone made a good tyre for us here and I think we chose the right compound, so we should be pretty strong. Maximum attack!"

Colin Kolles, Managing Director: "Unfortunately, Tiago made a mistake on the second flying lap of the first session that prevented him from making it into the second. Christijan did a good job and finished 14th in the first session, and he probably could have held that position in the second session if he had been able to repeat that time. But our pace looks promising. We are solidly mixing it up with our rivals now, and if we have some luck and run a smart race, we can be competitive tomorrow."

 

James Key, Technical Director: "We're reasonably optimistic heading into tomorrow, because I think the tyre we chose is going to be good for the race. We've gone with the harder of the two compounds we had yesterday, and I think it's definitely the right decision given the track conditions. The qualifying times were extremely close and with a little luck, we might have been able to get both cars higher up into the second session - it was that close. Unfortunately for Tiago, he didn't make it through, which is a shame, but we'll think about race strategies to give him a shot at a better result. We can race competitively tomorrow, and that's what we need to make sure we do."

Johnny Herbert, Sporting Relations Manager: "It was a good effort by everyone overall. For Tiago, it's a shame that he lost some time on his second split, because if he'd got that one together, he'd have probably got through to the second round. Christijan did a very good job to crack the second session, especially considering the problems he's had with his mouth ulcers. Given our tyre choice and pace all weekend, both drivers should have a strong race."


- Ron Fine -
photos copyright MF1 Midland

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15.07.2006 / MaP

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