Qualification for the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring concluded this afternoon with David Coulthard in pole position and Michael Schumacher in second. Mika Hakkinen was in third with Reubens Barichello in fourth. British duo Jenson Button and David Coulthard were both in the wars as Schumacher hammered out a warning. Button, fighting to save his seat at Williams, crashed out during the penultimate session and was unable to take part in final practice. Coulthard saw his final practice disrupted when he missed a chicane and made a lengthy trip across the gravel before stopping.
The Scot, racing despite the three cracked ribs sustained in a plane crash a few weeks ago, had to be pushed back off the track but eventually wound up fourth fastest for McLaren. Button eventually finished 13th fastest having been quickest yesterday on new tyres, but more importantly lost vital time learning the track ahead of qualifying later today. The 20-year-old, who could be loaned out to another team if Williams opt for former test driver Juan Pablo Montoya, was left kicking his heels in the garage as mechanics were unable to repair his car. Button has slid sideways into a tyre barrier after drifting too wide at a left-handed corner, clipping a kerb before skimming across the circuit into the gravel. The Bicester-based driver was unhurt, but paid for the set-back as he dropped down the time-sheets as the track continued to dry out after morning rain. But there was no stopping Schumacher who spearheaded a Ferrari domination on a circuit, barely an hour's drive from his birthplace, where he has not triumphed since 1995.
Team-mate Rubens Barrichello leaped into second spot ahead of Coulthard's McLaren team-mate Mika Hakkinen who is looking for a second successive victory tomorrow to cut Schumacher's 14 point championship lead. Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fifth fastest with Giancarlo Fisichella sixth for Benetton. Jaguar Racing's Johnny Herbert moved up to 12th quickest ahead of the 150th race of his career, but team-mate Eddie Irvine was back in 17th spot.
Jordan drivers Jarno Trulli and Heinz Harald Frentzen will start in sixth and tenth respectively. Eddie Irvine will start at eighth.
German Nick Heidfeld of Prost was disqualified from tomorrow's race after his car was found to be two kilos underweight. "The stewards therefore apply article 82(c) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and exclude the car from the 2000 European Grand Prix." Heidfeld qualified the Prost Peugeot 13th earlier today, and it would have been his first Formula One race in front of his home fans.