Montoya smashes F1 qualifying record

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Juan Pablo Montoya recorded the fastest-ever F1 qualifying lap during the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

The Colombian’s 161.467mph pole lap in his Williams FW24 broke the 17-year old qualifying record set by Keke Rosberg’s Williams FW10 at Silverstone. With the prospect of more changes to Monza’s chicanes before the 2003 GP, Montoya’s record may stand for some time.

However, two other long-standing records set by Peter Gethin at Monza in 1971 have narrowly survived being beaten in recent Fl races.

When Gethin won the Italian race for BRM at an average speed of 150.754mph, he set a record that has now stood for 31 years. In this year’s Monza race, Rubens Barrichello came within half a minute of breaking Gethin’s record, and would probably have done so had the Ferrari team not told him to ease his pace over the closing stages of the race. His average race speed was 149.813mph.

Later in September, Gethin’s record for the smallest margin of victory in a GP also came under fire when Ferrari team-mates Barrichello and Michael Schumacher crossed the line together at Indianapolis. Their apparent attempt to stage a dead heat had Barrichello winning by 0.011sec, whereas Gethin’s 1971 Monza margin over Ronnie Peterson’s March was recorded at 0.01s.

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