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David Coulthard
"I think that I am the quickest guy around this track"
 real 28k

Michael Schumacher
"It's not a circuit I'm particularly in love with"
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Saturday, 1 July, 2000, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Schumacher grabs front spot
Michael Schumacher
Schumacher was flying after a slow start in practice
Michael Schumacher has surprised his rivals and scorched to pole position for the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours.

The championship pacesetter was only eighth quickest in the final practice session, but was clearly keeping something in reserve as he grabbed his third pole in a row for Ferrari.

The 31-year-old German steered his Ferrari to a fastest time of one minute and 15.632 seconds to outpace nearest rival Briton David Coulthard, in a McLaren, by one-tenth of a second.

Schumacher set his fastest lap to go top of the time-sheets after 28 minutes of the hour-long session run in the sunshine.

It was the 27th pole of his career and gives him an excellent chance of securing his 41st win to equal Brazilian Ayrton Senna's total.

Early domination

McLaren's David Coulthard, who had earlier dominated the practice sessions, pushed hard in the last few minutes of qualifying but had to settle for second spot after suffering with an oil-leak.

Coulthard's consolation was out-qualifying team-mate Mika Hakkinen for the fourth time in succession as the Finn slipped to fourth in the dying seconds behind Rubens Barrichello in the other Ferrari.

Eddie Irvine responded to the rebuke by Jaguar Racing figurehead Jackie Stewart to equal his best qualifying display for the team of sixth place.

Team-mate Johnny Herbert qualified 11th fastest for Sunday's race, one place behind the Williams BMW of compatriate Jenson Button.

Michael Schumacher has a 22-point lead over Coulthard in the drivers' world championship. In the constructors' championship, Ferrari lead with 84 ahead of McLaren with 66.

Final qualifying times:

1. Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari one minute 15.632 seconds (average speed 202.342 kph)
2. David Coulthard (Britain) McLaren 1:15.734
3. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Ferrari 1:16.047
4. Mika Hakkinen (Finland) McLaren 1:16.050
5. Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Williams 1:16.291
6. Eddie Irvine (Britain) Jaguar 1:16.399
7. Jacques Villeneuve (Canada) BAR 1:16.653
8. Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Germany) Jordan 1:16.658
9. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Jordan 1:16.669
10. Jenson Button (Britain) Williams 1:16.905
11. Johnny Herbert (Britain) Jaguar 1:17.176
12. Mika Salo (Finland) Sauber 1:17.223
13. Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) Arrows 1:17.279
14. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Benetton 1:17.317
15. Pedro Diniz (Brazil) Sauber 1:17.361
16. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) Prost 1:17.374
17. Alex Wurz (Austria) Benetton 1:17.408
18. Jean Alesi (France) Prost 1:17.569
19. Ricardo Zonta (Brazil) BAR 1:17.668
20. Jos Verstappen (Holland) Arrows 1:17.933
21. Marc Gene (Spain) Minardi 1:18.130
22. Gaston Mazzacane (Argentina) Minardi 1:18.302

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See also:

01 Jul 00 | Motorsport
Jordan: Schumacher is unstoppable
27 Jun 00 | Motorsport
Brands Hatch a step closer to F1
28 Jun 00 | Motorsport
Schumacher eyes Senna landmark
02 Jul 00 | Motorsport
French Grand Prix in pictures
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