Rubens Barrichello continued his current trend of lapping faster than Michael Schumacher and with Montoya consigned to fifth position in the final 30-minute warmup session today at Silverstone, Barrichello headed the timesheets with a...
Rubens Barrichello continued his current trend of lapping faster than Michael Schumacher and with Montoya consigned to fifth position in the final 30-minute warmup session today at Silverstone, Barrichello headed the timesheets with a scintillating lap of 1:22.371, nearly half a second faster than Michael Schumacher.
As ever, the warmup session can be misleading as drivers and team run varying fuel loads to prepare and sometimes mislead their rivals over their true race pace, However, few doubt that Ferrari will be the fastest cars in race conditions later today.
It was another mixed session from McLaren Mercedes with Kimi Raikkonen having a trouble free run to the third fastest time while David Coulthard effectively lost the second half of the session thanks to a Mercedes engine failure. As the mechanics busied themselves swapping the spare car settings from Raikkonen’s taste to Coulthard’s Ron Dennis explained that it was better the engine failed now than a few laps into the race. Hard to argue with that.
Takuma Sato was fourth fastest in his Jordan Honda undoubtedly on a very light fuel load ahead of pole sitter Juan Pablo Montoya in his BMW Williams. For Montoya, being just over two seconds a lap slower in race trim than Rubens Barrichello must be a real concern. Teammate Ralf Schumacher opted to save his BMW engine and completes just five laps and was subsequently back in 15th overall.
Nick Heidfeld was sixth fastest ahead of Jacques Villeneuve who is particularly confident heading into this race as his BAR Honda has been well balanced throughout the weekend regardless of weather conditions. Felipe Massa slithered his way to eighth fastest overall despite two minor off track excursions while Coulthard and the Renault of Jarno Trulli rounded out the top ten.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a more competitive 11th fastest in his Arrows Cosworth following his disappointing qualifying session yesterday, but a mechanical problem left him stranded at Copse corner.
Of the rest, Jenson Button struggled again in his Renault, recording the 17th fastest overall while Eddie Irvine’s nightmare weekend and season continued with Jaguar driver flat last now that Alex Yoong has been eliminated from the field after failing to qualify.
Heavy clouds still remain overhead at Silverstone and while the weather forecast claim it will not rain; it sure looks like it will. The Michelin runners, including pole man Juan Pablo Montoya will be praying for the circuit to remain dry, or if it does rain, rain hard enough to ensure that Michelin runners cannot use their super-fast intermediate tire.
As ever, pitstops and strategy will be critical as Michael Schumacher found out to his cost last year when a one-stop strategy handed the race to Mika Hakkinen. Expect most teams to run two stops and expect Rubens Barrichello to act as the Ferrari hare once again if he can pass Montoya from the start.
-Courtesy of CART-Racing.com