West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen finished today's two free practice sessions for the Belgian Grand Prix in fifth place with a time of 1:50.239 completing 29 laps. David Coulthard went off in the first session damaging his car and despite...
West McLaren Mercedes driver Mika Hakkinen finished today's two free practice sessions for the Belgian Grand Prix in fifth place with a time of 1:50.239 completing 29 laps. David Coulthard went off in the first session damaging his car and despite his mechanics working hard they were unable to get the car ready for the second session.
'I had a few problems getting a clear run in any of the sectors today as there was either traffic or yellow flags. I put on new tyres to go for a quick run but then it started to rain heavily. We have some work to do with the balance of the car before tomorrow but I'm sure we can achieve what we want. I always enjoy driving at Spa, it's one of the most exciting and challenging tracks, especially the blast up to Eau Rouge. Set-up is crucial and often has to be a compromise as it can be dry on one part of the circuit and raining on another as we saw today.'
'Obviously it's not an ideal situation as every lap you don't do on a track is a handicap. I got on the grass on the wrong side of the kerb and lost the back end of the car. The mechanics worked very hard and almost succeeded in having the car ready before the end of the session. We have lost some information, but we will look at what Mika has been doing. Anyway I really like the circuit as it has the perfect mixture of fast straights, corners and tricky hairpins and offers numerous overtaking opportunities.'
'Whilst David's mechanics worked hard to rebuild his car following his off they were unsuccessful in their efforts. Mika's practice was less fraught but still handicapped by the rain, which saw him unable to evaluate fresh tyres. However his performance in the wet was well on the pace.'
'In both wet and dry conditions Mika was close among the fastest. The team learnt a lot today and have found a good basis for the weekend. David's car was repaired and he will use it again tomorrow.'
Spare (Coulthard): MP4/16-04