European GP Saturday Qualifying report

News item: Kar Wendlinger is set to test for Sauber in the coming week at Paul Ricard, having driven 100 laps in the Porsche Supercup. If the tests go well, he will drive in the final two Grands Prix for Sauber. Report: It was another dry day...

News item: Kar Wendlinger is set to test for Sauber in the coming week at Paul Ricard, having driven 100 laps in the Porsche Supercup. If the tests go well, he will drive in the final two Grands Prix for Sauber.

Report: It was another dry day at Jerez. Hill had been fastest in the morning session with a 1:22.755, and the afternoon was set for another fast session, as the sky was cloudy and the track cool.

The very start of the session saw a very busy track, since there were heavy clouds overhead and everyone feared it might rain. Verstappen, Morbidelli, Hill and Belmondo were among those who were out from the begining. Hill got held up on his first flying lap by Belmondo, and failed to improve his time. Verstappen, having been one of the potential non-qualifiers after an accident yesterday did a very cautious first flying lap to put himself 19th on the grid. Morbidelli moved up to 5th.

Hill backed off for a lap to let the traffic get ahead of him, and then started another flying lap and was -.925 faster than his first split time from yesterday, and then -.486 faster at the second split, but then got held up by Belmondo again to finish the lap +.194 slower than his yesterday's provisional pole.

Barrichello was also out on the circuit at this point, and beat Hill's time to take provisional pole. Hakkinen was out, and moved up to second, as Herbert moved into 5th. Hill went back to the pits, and then Herbert took over provisional pole.

Schumacher came out, as Brundle (who was 19th) started a flying lap. He was +.322 off Herbert's first split, and then got caught behind a Larrousse, and was +1.251 off at the second intermediate, to finish the lap with a 1.25.556, which was only good eneough to move him up to 18th.

Schumacher started his flying lap and was -.337 faster at the first intermediate, -.650 faster at the second, and, then before he finished the lap, first Mansell and then Berger took provisional pole away from Herbert. Nevertheless, when Schumacher finished the lap -.982 faster than Herbert's time, it was still good eneough to take provisional pole from Berger.

Alesi was on the track now, currently in 14th position, but before completing a flying lap, he spun off into the gravel bed at the start of the start-finish straight, and that was the end of his session. This meant that he was stuck with yesterday's time. At about the same time, Blundell lost it, and had a massive impact into a tyre wall, while DeCesaris ran too wide at another corner, lost the rear and and had a big impact against a tyre wall, scattering debris all over the track. The session was stopped briefly, and everyone returned to the pits with the three cars were cleared away.

The session was restarted before they had finished moving the Sauber, and re-building the tyre wall that DeCesaris had demolished, but only Belmondo went out. He managed a time of 1:30.234, with a completely clear track, which left him still down in 28th. There were 42 minutes left in the session, and the standings were was follows:

Schumacher, Barrichello, Berger, Mansel, Herbert, Hakkinen, Hill, Frentzen, Panis, Verstappen, Morbidelli, Blundell, Irvine, Alesi, Katayama, DeCesaris, Alboretto, Brundle, Zanardi, Martini, Fittipaldi, Comas, Bernard, Brabham, Noda, Schiaterella Non-qualifiers: Gachot and Belmondo.

Hakkinen, Hill and Irvine all went out, with Damon Hill being -.404 and -.385 faster than Schumacher at the two splits and -.166 faster at the end to move up to the top of the list, with a 1.22.892. Frentzen also appeared on the tract at this stage, with the top 6 looking like this: 1. Hill 1:22.892, 2. Schumacher +.166, 3. Barrichello +.563 4. Berger +.785, 5. Mansell +1.136, 6. Herbert +1.148

Herbert came out again, as Hill returned to the pits. There were 33 minutes to go, and there were breaks appearing in the clouds. Frentzen was +.427 and +.354 off at the two intermediates and +.539 off at the end of the lap, which moved him up to third place. Mansell, was also out on the track, and moved up to take third away from Frentzen. Schumacher also appeared out, to try and get some laps in before the temperature of the track rose too much.

Hill and Mansell have both dome 8 laps at this stage, and so still have some left. Schumacher is three tenths slower than Hill's time at the first intermediate, but marginally faster at the second, and finishes the lap -.130 faster with a 1.22.762 to take away pole from Hill. He slowed down on the next lap, only clocking up a 1.23.523.

Berger, who was now in 6th position, was out on his 7th lap of the afternoon, as was Martini, who was down in 17th. Berger was +1.531 off the pace at the second intermediate, and +2.314 off at the end of the lap. Frentzen who was now in 4th position came out again, and put in times that were +.306 off at the first intermediate, +.726 off at the second and +1.295 off at the end of the lap, which was no impovement. Morbidelli was also out on the track at this stage, and managed +.585 and +1.162 at the two intermediates, and +1.815 at the end of the lap, which didn't improve his time of 1.24.097, which had him in 8th position.

At this stage it was quite clear that the track conditions had deteriorated with the rising temperature. The top 12 positions were: Schumacher, Hill, Mansell, Frentzen, Barrichello, Berger, Herbert, Morbidelli, Hakkinen, Irvine, Panis, Vertappen. There was .915 of a second covering the top 6.

Herbert went out, but couldn't improve his time of 1:24:040. Hill, Fittipaldi (currently 19th), Mansell and Verstappen were all on the track. Hill was +.436 at the first intermediate, and since it is the first part of the track where the Williams has the advantage, it looked unlikely that he would re-take the pole position. He was +.914 off Schumacher's time at the second intermediate, when he locked up, and went across a gravel bed, bring lots of gravel back onto the track. He then went straight back to the pits, and having completed 11 laps this meant that he couldn't get any more flying laps in.

There were 10 minutes to go in the session, and it seemed fairly certain that Schumacher would start from pole. Verstappen went back to the pits, still in 12th position. Mansell did a time that was +.322 at the first intermediate, +.633 at te second and +1.249 at the end of the lap, and that was his last flying lap. Hakkinen was also out, but failed to improve his time. There were 3 minutes left. Fittipaldi was out, and was +2.941 off the pace with a 1.25.703. With 1 minute left, Berger finished his session and went back to the pits. The session ended with the standings as follows:

Schumacher, Hill, Mansell, Frentzen, Barrichello, Berger, Herbert, Morbidelli, Hakkinen, Irvine, Panis, Verstappen, Katayama, Blundell, Brundle, Alesi, Martini, DeCesaris

The Lotus cars were down in 21st and 22nd, with Noda and Schiaterella in 25th and 26th and Gachot and Belmondo the two non-qualifiers.

-- Christine. chogan@indigo.ccsem.infn.it chogan@maths.tcd.ie cjhogan@dsg.cs.tcd.ie

If it makes goo on the windscreen, we'll call it a bug. -- Larry Wall

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Damon Hill
Teams Sauber , Williams