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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Button takes first F1 pole
QUALIFYING RESULT
Jenson Button celebrates his first pole position in Formula One
1 J Button (BAR)
1:19.753
2 M Schumacher (Ferrari)
1:20.011
3 JP Montoya (Williams)
1:20.212
4 R Barrichello (Ferrari)
1:20.451
5 R Schumacher (Williams)
1:20.538
6 F Alonso (Renault)
1:20.895
Jenson Button has secured the first pole position of his Formula One career at the San Marino Grand Prix.

The English BAR driver became the first man this season to beat Michael Schumacher in qualifying with a time of one minute 19.753 seconds.

Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya was third fastest, ahead of the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher's Williams.

David Coulthard was 11th fastest after another poor day for McLaren.

Button went out third from last and his pace forced Michael Schumacher into making a mistake on his lap.

The world champion ran wide at the Variante Alta chicane, costing himself half a second, and he ended up 0.258secs off pole.

Button said: "The car's been running strong all weekend. I think we've done a good job, we really have.

"It was a great lap and I enjoyed it very much.

"But it's a fantastic feeling getting pole here on Ferrari's home turf. It's up to me now."

Michael Schumacher
Schumacher made a mistake while pushing to beat Button's time

On the weekend that marks the 10th anniversary of the race in which Ayrton Senna was killed, Button's pole was the first for engine supplier Honda since the Brazilian's lap at the 1992 Canadian Grand Prix.

Schumacher said he did not think he would have beaten Button even without his error.

"I was lucky to keep it on the circuit and not spin. I just overdid it a little bit at that place but it was still good enough for second," the German said.

"The time I lost over that sector wouldn't have been enough anyway.

"He put in a very good lap. I anticipated they would go strongly here this weekend.

"It's going to be a tight battle. It will be very interesting to see how the cars slot into the first corner."

The Williams drivers had been first and second in first qualifying, but neither could match that pace when it mattered.

Ralf Schumacher, in particular, had a poor lap and ended up 0.785secs slower than pole position.

Juan Pablo Montoya
Montoya is hopeful of a good race in the Williams
Montoya said: "I think it went really well. We took a bit of fuel out in the first qualifying because we wanted to run last in the second and it worked well for us.

"We have a good race car and I am very pleased, to be honest. It is the first time I have out-qualified Ralf here so it is good. It will be interesting to see. In the race it is going to be a lot closer."

Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest for Renault, followed by the second BAR of Takuma Sato, Mark Webber's Jaguar, the Renalt of Jarno Trulli, Cristiano da Matta's Toyota and Coulthard.

The Scot's McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who has retired from all three races this season, did not even start his qualifying lap because of an engine problem.

Sauber driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who had been sixth fastest in first qualifying, will join Raikkonen at the back of the grid after suffering a gearbox failure.




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC motorsport correspondent Jonathan Legard
"Button has been on fast forward since his first podium last month"



SEE ALSO
Schumacher on top at Imola
23 Apr 04  |  Formula One


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