Ricardo solid but birthday blues for Jacques SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, April 9 1999 - In his first Formula One outing on home ground, Brazilian driver Ricardo Zonta turned in a respectable time (1:21.009) at today's free practice for Sunday's...
Ricardo solid but birthday blues for Jacques
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL, April 9 1999 - In his first Formula One outing on home ground, Brazilian driver Ricardo Zonta turned in a respectable time (1:21.009) at today's free practice for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix, finishing 14th after the two sessions and running 15 trouble-free laps. Unfortunately,
Ricardo Zonta prepares for the first practice session of his home Grand Prix the same could not be said for British American Racing team-mate Jacques Villeneuve, who celebrated his 28th birthday in the paddock, unable to run during the the second session due to a leaking fuel cell, and was 22nd and last on the leaderboard.
Defending world champion Mika Hakkinen of McLaren-Mercedes was by far the fastest on the Interlagos circuit, with a best time of one minute, 18.881 seconds, ahead of team-mate David Coulthard at 1:19.352 and Ferrari's Michael Schumacher at 1:19.621.
Interlagos, a notoriously bumpy circuit known for its long, sweeping straight, difficult corners and tight infield sections, has traditionally been tough on cars and neccessitates precision set-ups.
The Brazilian Grand Prix is the second of 16 events on the 1999 Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Formula One calendar.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - 1:36.568 - 22nd "It is rather disappointing to have missed a whole session because we thought we'd made some good progress on the reliability front. I hope Saturday will be a lot better."
RICARDO ZONTA - 1:21.009 - 14th "As this is my first Grand Prix in Brazil I am very excited. Today we concentrated on the set-up of the car and it is improving although we have a few things to keep working on. I hope we will have a strong set-up for Saturday and that I can get a good time in qualifying. I just want to do well in my home country."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Managing Director, British American Racing "We found a very frustrating problem with Jacques' car which set us back tremendously because he missed out on the whole second session. Ricardo did a strong job as there was a tremendous amount of pressure on him being his home circuit and we're just very pleased that the day is over and he looks in very good shape. We feel that our true performance wasn't shown on this first day. Jacques' team worked extremely hard to get him out again for the second session, but didn't quite make it. Obviously we are very hopeful for Saturday.