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F1 Hot News - II
By Andrew Maitland
April 3, 2004


Button 'lost' in Bahrain
Only Ferrari and BMW-Williams beat the white BAR cars in Bahrain.

Takuma Sato (5th) outpaced teammate Jenson Button (6th) by three hundredths.

'I had some oversteer ... so I'm pleased,' said Sato.

DOMINATED

Button, 24, dominated both pre-qualifying practice sessions on Saturday.

'I'm lost,' he said in the afternoon. 'We should have been quicker.

'We'll have to look at what went wrong.'








Montoya missed pole
BMW-Williams' two cars fill the second row of the grid in Bahrain.

'It is a shame,' said Juan Pablo Montoya (3rd).

'I lost all my advantage in the last corner.

'But at least I'm starting from the clean side of the grid.'

Ralf Schumacher (4th) believes he has an advantageous race set-up.

'My lap could have been better,' said the German.

'Ferrari seems to be strong but I think we can give them a hard time.'








Pantano unhappy
Nick Heidfeld completed a 2004 hat-trick of qualifying 15th in Bahrain.

'But this time I have to start at the back,' the German frowned.

His Cosworth V10 had to be changed after a problem in practice on Friday.

Nick also criticized organizers for not moving an errant cone at turn-10.

Teammate Giorgio Pantano (15th) is unhappy for a different reason.

'We need to understand why [the car] changed so much from yesterday.'

The Italian said: 'I find it very strange because I could not find a balance.'








Baumgartner struggled
Minardi's two qualifiers are separated by a massive 1.2 seconds.

'I struggled a bit,' admitted 18th-placed Zsolt Baumgartner.

The Hungarian lost a set of new tires when he spun into the gravel in practice.

CAUTIOUS

He added: 'Maybe I was then a bit cautious for qualifying.'

Gianmaria Bruni (17th) was pleased with a solid final session lap.

'With the package we have,' said the Italian, 'we achieved a good time.'








Schu's less than perfect pole
It'll be an all-red front row for Sunday's inaugural Bahrain GP.

Michael Schumacher drove to his 58th pole with a less than perfect tour.

'I was right on the limit and sometimes over it,' he said.

Teammate Rubens Barrichello is four tenths further adrift.

'I'd describe my lap as ... not a very good one,' said the Brazilian.

'I was conservative because of a brake problem in the first run.'

Technical director Ross Brawn was surprised with the ideal result.








Kimi called off flying lap
Kimi Raikkonen drove into the pits without setting a final-qualifying time.

'We decided to change our tactics,' the McLaren star explained.

He was already subject to the ten-grid penalty for an earlier engine change.

Kimi said the move means he can start with a 'good fuel load' and new tires.

Teammate David Coulthard (10th) continued his difficult run in Bahrain.

'The car feels ok but it's just hard to be fast,' said the Scot.

'The aim [in the grand prix] is for reliability.'








Alonso had brake problem
A brake problem left Fernando Alonso 17th on the Bahrain GP grid.

The young Spaniard missed the apex of the first corner.

He then really spoiled the lap by running wide at turn fourteen.

'I was locking the wheels every time I had to brake.

NOT EASY

'It's not going to be easy [to score points] from back here.'

Teammate Jarno Trulli (7th) got in a clean lap.

'I'm fast in the first and last sectors,' said the Italian.

'But there's definitely progress to make in the second part.'








Toyota making progress
Both Toyota cars are in the top-nine for Sunday's Bahrain GP.

'We're making steady progress,' said a satisfied Olivier Panis (8th).

'Now we have to continue to be strong.'

SURPRISED

Cristiano da Matta (9th) is pleasantly surprised in the desert setting.

'I think our car suits this type of smooth surface,' said the Brazilian.

Technical director Mike Gascoyne reckons both drivers can aim for points.








Klien outqualified Webber
Mark Webber made a few mistakes whilst qualifying on Saturday.

The Australian (14th) has been out-qualified by his rookie teammate.

'This is not an accurate reflection of what the R5 is capable of.

NERVOUS

'I tried to get the lap back but I couldn't,' said the 27-year-old.

Even 20-year-old Christian Klien (12th) is not best pleased.

'The car was slightly nervous under braking,' said the Austrian.








Fisichella feels better
Giancarlo Fisichella is feeling better.

The Italian had a high fever on Friday but qualified a decent 11th in Bahrain.

'The Sauber was the best it's been all season.

'I am glad that the gap to the front is also closer.'

MISTAKE

Teammate Felipe Massa (13th) made a huge mistake at the first corner.

He then went over the curb in turn four and lost traction.

'By then, the damage was done,' said the Brazilian.

Team boss Peter Sauber said Felipe 'didn't find his rhythm.'

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