Portuguese GP Friday qualifying report

[Note that this report corrects some inaccurate information that was] [posted in the preliminary qualifying report. ] Phillip Adams was first out for a dry session at Estoril. Temperatures were about 18 degrees. He is...

[Note that this report corrects some inaccurate information that was] [posted in the preliminary qualifying report. ]

Phillip Adams was first out for a dry session at Estoril. Temperatures were about 18 degrees. He is driving the 109 with the old Mugen-Honda engine. His second flying lap was a full 3 seconds faster than his first, at which point Mika Hakkinen came out onto the circuit. He moved into first place on his first flying lap, taking 5.33 seconds of Adams' time. Barrichello and Gachot also appeared on the circuit, with Hakkinen getting caught behind Gachot at the end of what had been a fast lap up to that point. Hakkinen decided not to waste another lap and went into the pits.

Barrichello had been 4th fastest in the morning, behind Coulthard, Hill and Katayama, after his first flying lap he was 2nd behind Hakkinen and on the next lap he took .167 seconds off Hakkinen's time to take provisional pole, where he stayed until almost half way through the session.

Herbert came out at this point, and very disappointingly span before completing a flying lap, stalled the engine, and tried to get it going again while rolling downhill in the opposite direction to the traffic. He failed and was pushed off the track by the marshals. So we never got to see how the new engine was going to do here.

Morbidelli came out next and put himself into 3rd, then Alesi, who was .185 off Barrichello's pace at the first intermediate, .613 at the 2nd and only .260 off Barrichello's time at the end of the lap, which put him into 3rd.

Berger was out next, along with Irvine who moved into 4th, and then Brundle who took 4th from Irvine. At 20 minutes into the session, Berger took 2nd, being just .095 behind Barrichello, who was back in the pits.

Barrichello came out for his second set of flying laps at this point. Lehto, Fittipaldi and Frentzen also appeared, with Lehto moving into 6th. Hill made his first appearence 25 minutes into the session, and was caught behind Fittipaldi on his first flying lap to end up .750 behind Barrichello. On his next flying lap Hill was stuck behind Katayama, and so backed off. Katayama moved into 16th and then up to 14th, 2.2 seconds off Barrichello's time. Barrichello returned to the pits having made no improvement on his time.

Hill now went fastest, taking .532 off Barrichello's time to do a 1:21.287. Coulthard came out of the pits; and on Hill's next lap he improved by a further .334. It was now half way into the session and the top positions were as follows:

1. Hill 2. Barrichello 3. Berger 4. Hakkinen 5. Alesi 6. Brundle 7. Lehto 8. Verstappen 9. Frentzen 10. Fittipaldi 11. Blundell 12. Irvine 13. De Cesaris 14. Katayama 15. Morbidelli

However, there were now a number of fast cars on the track, and first Coulthard, then Alesi, then Coulthard again took second place, demoting the session's early leader, Barrichello down to 4th. The Breger came out and threw the car around the track, sliding all over the place to take away provisional pole by .345, being the second man to break into the 1:20s.

Irvine came out again, Alesi and Berger trundled into the pits in tandem and Hakkinen came out and moved up to 5th. He was then held up on the last corner by Brabham and went into the pits.

Adams then spun his Lotus into the gravel (he was 23rd at the time) ending Herbert's chances of going out in the other car to at least record a time for the session. Gachot's engine then blew up somewhere near the end of the pit straight, and he parked it on the edge of the track on the outside of a corner. Despite being in a dangerous position, and the marshals having to take their lives in their hands to push it away (they kept having to run away from it as another car would come hurtling around the corner) the session was not stopped.

At this point, we discovered that Pedro Lamy had made an appearence in the paddock and was walking unaided and looking forward to getting back into a car. He looked a lot fitter than Wendlinger, but then again, we didn't see him walking. Anyway, good to see him looking fit and healthy, and lets hope he can drive again soon.

There were now 10 minutes of the session remaining. Berger came out, and was still sliding his car everywhere (great to watch) but made no improvement over his provisional pole time. Hill also appeared, and improved his time, but not his position, so he was still provisionally second. On the next lap Berger was taking it easy, and moved over at a difficult point in the track to let Hill past. Shortly thereafter Hill lost it and span. He kept the engine running, and elected not to go back into the pits for a fresh set of tires, despite having been in the gravel.

At this point there was the customary huge number of people on the track for the closing minutes. Brundle improved to 5th, Martini's engine blew up, and Irvine found himself in 17th, with Barrichello in 7th. Coulthard improved his time, but remained in thrid place. Incidentally, there was a problem with Irvine's engine this morning, and so he was not qualifying using his race engine today. He should have it back tomorrow. Apparently this engine was short on high-end power.

At this point, with only a few minutes of the session left, Hill was on his last flying lap, when he was approaching Irvine. Irvine went wide onto the grass, Hill went past, Irvine lost it and ended up going backwards into the side of Hill (who was braking for a corner) with the rear of his Jordan hitting the side-pod of the Williams, just in front of the left rear. The Jordan wobbled a bit and the Williams took off into the air and somersaulted (sideways) to end up upside-down in the gravel bed. Hill climed out unharmed and the session was red-flagged with only 3:29 minutes to go.

When the session was restarted, Hakkinen moved up into 4th.

The two non-qualifiers were (tragically) Herbert, with no time, and Belmondo who was a massive 12 seconds off the pace. Gachot was 26th, 7 seconds off the pace.

The other thing of note is that only .001 separated the two Benetton drivers.

At the end of the session the order was as follows: Berger, Hill, Coulthard, Hakkinen, Alesi, Katayama, Brundle, Barrichello, Blundell, Lehto, Verstrappen, Fittipaldi, Frentzen, DeCesaris, Morbidelli, Martini, Alboretto, Irvine, Panis, Comas, Dalmas, Brabham (I missed 23, 24 and 25 !)

-- 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 Pedro Lamy
Teams Williams , Benetton , Jordan