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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 September, 2004, 06:58 GMT 07:58 UK
Barrichello on China pole
QUALIFYING TIMES
1 Barrichello Ferrari 1:34.012
2 Raikkonen McLaren 1:34.178
3 Button BAR 1:34.295
4 Massa Sauber 1:34.759
5 R S'macher Williams 1:34.891
6 Alonso Renault 1:34.917
7 Fisichella Sauber 1:34.951
8 Panis Toyota 1:34.975
Rubens Barrichello has grabbed pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix after his Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher spun on his qualifying lap.

World champion Schumacher was expected to complete a Ferrari one-two but he spun at the first corner and will start from the back after abandoning his lap.

Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren was second fastest, 0.166secs behind Barrichello's one minute 34.012 seconds lap.

Jenson Button was third for BAR-Honda and David Coulthard a poor ninth.

The Scot said he lost nearly half a second in the middle part of the lap.

Sauber's Felipe Massa was fourth fastest, underlining that the Bridgestone tyres used by Ferrari and Sauber appear to have a significant advantage over the Michelins used by the other top teams.

I'm Michael Schumacher - I don't need to test my driving ability
Michael Schumacher
Williams driver Ralf Schumacher was fifth, ahead of Renault's Fernando Alonso, Massa's team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, Toyota's Olivier Panis, BAR's Takuma Sato and Coulthard.

Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve qualified 13th at his first Grand Prix for more than a year, but will start 12th because Sato has been penalised 10 places for an engine change in practice.

Villeneuve has been drafted in by Renault for the final three races after they dropped Jarno Trulli, who will drive for Toyota next season.

Villeneuve was more than 0.4secs slower than team-mate Alonso.

Barrichello's pole was his third of the season and his second in a row.

The Brazilian said: "I was shocked when I saw Michael spin. He doesn't do that. You're always expecting something good (from him)."

Schumacher will start from his worst qualifying position since he joined Ferrari in 1996.

The only previous time he has started a race from the back for the Italian team was the 1998 Japanese Grand Prix, when he was on pole but stalled on the grid.

Schumacher has been classified 18th, but could well choose to start from the pit lane.

Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen was in impressive form in the McLaren
That would allow Ferrari to refuel his car and change his race strategy - cars have to start the race in the same specification in which they qualify unless they choose to start from the pits.

The 35-year-old set the fastest time in pre-qualifying, but lost control of his car midway through the first turn on his qualifying lap and spun off the track.

He managed to rejoin the track but came straight into the pits at the end of the lap.

Barrichello acknowledged drivers were still learning the nuances of the new circuit, which may have affected Schumacher.

"You can try so many lines, but you can make mistakes," Barrichello said.

Raikkonen said he was optmistic of a strong showing in the race.

"The car has felt good right from the beginning of the weekend and I have been really able to push," he said.

"I made a small mistake on my qualifying lap coming onto the final straight but I don't think it cost me enough time to have claimed pole position.

"The important thing is that our package and the Michelin tyres are working well, and as we have a good strategy for the race I'm sure we are in with a chance of winning."




SEE ALSO
BAR grab top spots in China
24 Sep 04  |  Formula One
Sato hit with grid penalty
24 Sep 04  |  Formula One
China track lauded by F1
24 Sep 04  |  Formula One
Cash fears worry Mosley
24 Sep 04  |  Formula One


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