Friday 11 September 1998 Friday free practice, 11.00 to 12.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: breezy, overcast and mild Ferraris set early pace Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine delighted the Monza fans by setting first and second fastest times this...
Friday 11 September 1998 Friday free practice, 11.00 to 12.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: breezy, overcast and mild
Ferraris set early pace Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine delighted the Monza fans by setting first and second fastest times this morning in their Ferrari F300s. Irvine also briefly tried a lower downforce rear wing but then reverted to a higher downforce set-up. Both cars had revised front wings for this race and the drivers concentrated on race set-ups.
Coulthard leads the pursuit David Coulthard posted third fastest time in his McLaren-Mercedes, feeling generally satisfied with the progress being made by the team. "It's a little different to what we've seen in the past, not having a McLaren quickest on Friday morning," he said. "But we are sticking to our own programme of race set-up work. The track conditions are a little short on grip; we really need a couple more runs before sufficient rubber is down."
Mika Hakkinen wound up fourth fastest, also concentrating on race set-up work, and he survived a straight-on moment across one of the chicane run-off areas without any damage. A new construction Bridgestone rear tyre is available here for McLaren and all the other contracted teams.
Williams fifth and sixth The Williams FW20s of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacques Villeneuve wound up fifth and sixth fastest during this morning's part of the free practice session. There were no specification changes to the cars for this race and both men concentrated on routine set-up work.
"I lost time with vibration from the rear end," said Frentzen, "and this proved to be a brake disc which needed changing. Although we have tested here quite a lot this season we still had to make quite a few set-up changes. It always amazes me just how much variations in ambient temperature here at Monza can affect the car's balance."
Hill upbeat about Jordan Damon Hill was absolutely delighted with the feel of his Jordan Mugen-Honda 198 which will further benefit from another engine specification improvement for qualifying and the race. The cars also feature revised aerodynamic rear bodywork and Hill set seventh fastest time despite stopping out on the circuit with electrical problems.
"The car really felt very good," said Damon. "I think we could be in for another good result here. But I clipped a kerb at the second chicane very hard and all the electrics cut out, so I stopped on the circuit." Ralf Schumacher was a slightly disappointed 11th, complaining of understeer and instability under braking.
Briefly: Alexander Wurz had a slight braking problem with his Benetton-Playlife while Giancarlo Fisichella spun on his way to eighth fastest time, just ahead of the Austrian...Olivier Panis had gear selection problems due to an hydraulic leak...Johnny Herbert reported that his Sauber-Petronas responded over-sensitively to throttle input, while Jean Alesi missed the whole session due to a major electronic problem which affected his gearchange mechanism...Mika Salo stopped with fuel pump problems while Pedro Diniz lost 45 minutes with electronic problems.
Friday 11 September 1998 Friday free practice, 13.00 to 14.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: overcast, then heavy rain
Irvine quickest for Ferrari Eddie Irvine wound up fastest at the wheel of his Ferrari F300, reporting himself very satisfied with the handling of the car. Michael Schumacher finished the day second quickest although he did not run much due to braking problems, completing a total of 12 laps to Irvine's 26.
Coulthard third despite spin David Coulthard set third fastest time overall in the McLaren-Mercedes despite high speed spin at one of the chicanes. " I was pushing quite hard and had a touch of oversteer, but usually in those conditions you can get away with banging over the kerbs," said Coulthard. "But the car snapped away from me although I was fortunate to keep it away from the barriers and prevent it from stalling." Mika Hakkinen wound up fifth fastest, happy with the feel of his car although the rain began falling before he could fully assess some set-up changes made after this morning's session.
Villeneuve fourth for Williams Jacques Villeneuve set fourth fastest time in the Williams FW20, two places ahead of team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Both drivers were happy with their cars which went particularly well in damp conditions on intermediate tyres.
Trulli's Prost takes seventh Jarno Trulli's Prost-Peugeot set seventh fastest time, six places ahead of team-mate Olivier Panis, both drivers reporting that their cars did not feel as stable here as they had been during last week's Monza test.
Jordans eighth and 11th Damon Hill wound up eighth fastest in his Jordan 198, the British driver using harder compound Goodyear wets when the rain was at its most intense. Ralf Schumacher set 11th fastest time, being quickest on soft Goodyear wets during the rain, although he remarked. "if it rains as badly as it did towards the end of practice, it will be impossible to race."
Benettons make top ten The Benetton-Playlifes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz set ninth and tenth fastest times, both drivers still working on chassis set-up. Fisichella went straight on at one of the chicanes while Wurz still complained of braking problems.
Briefly: Jean Alesi's Sauber-Petronas was still bugged by electronic problems, the drive-by-wire throttle mechanism not picking up the correct signal...Johnny Herbert complained that his car felt bad bouncing over the kerbs....both Tyrrell drivers had spins, Toranosuke Takagi rotating twice in the dry and once in the wet...the Arrows team described the session as "a day to forget."