During qualifying, you will normally have to do a minimum of three laps to achieve a qualifying time (first lap out of pits, timed lap then slow down lap). Because you only have twelve laps maximum to use, you can in effect create more qualifying runs by simply pressing [Esc] the moment that you cross the start/finish line after your timed lap. This will in effect allow a maximum of six qualifying runs instead of the normal four. This also has the benefit of allowing you to only put in two laps worth of fuel, making your car lighter and quicker. By using this method you should be able to even get a Minardi on pole position.
Note: This procedure involves editing a game file; create a backup copy of the file before proceeding. Use a text editor to edit the "*.plr" file corresponding to your player in the game folder. Add the following lines under the "[GAMEOPTIONS]" header.
Doing this will unlock the Medical and Safety cars, the 2-seater training car from the school mode, alternate backgrounds in menus, and marks the 3 training school phases (Indy, Monza, Suzuka) as passed.