A fairly uneventful Australian Friday Free Practice saw a dramatic conclusion with both Nick Heidfeld and Michael Schumacher crashing in the vicinity of Turn 6 in the final five minutes of the afternoon session. Schumacher's accident looked ...
A fairly uneventful Australian Friday Free Practice saw a dramatic conclusion with both Nick Heidfeld and Michael Schumacher crashing in the vicinity of Turn 6 in the final five minutes of the afternoon session. Schumacher's accident looked particularly heavy as he barrel-rolled through the air twice. Fortunately both drivers were unharmed.
Rubens Barrichello was fastest in 1.28.965, he was 1.591 seconds faster than Mika Hakkinen'spole time last year. Jarno Trulli was second in 1.29.267 and Michael Schumacher third with a lap of 1.29.284. David Coulthard was fourth (1.29.324), Mika Hakkinen fifth (1.29.799) and Ralf Schumacher sixth (1.30.277).
Heidfeld was seventh with team mate, Kimi Raikkonen, 11th despite his lack of experience. Sauber's 2001 contender appears to be a vast improvement on its predecssor, as does Prost's AP04 following Jean Alesi's ninth place. Gaston Mazzacane was 19th.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished in 8th place after several visits to the top six, and Olivier Panis was the first of the BAR drivers as he finished in 10th. Jacques Villeneuve was 12th following engine problems in session one.
Luciano Burti's accident 34 minutes into the afternoon session had the practice red-flagged while marshalls removed his car. He was eventually 18th with Eddie Irvine 13th. Jos Verstappen was 14th and Juan Pablo Montoya 15th. The Colombian had initailly kept pace with his team mate, Ralf Schumacher, before losing ground in the latter part of the day.
Giancarlo Fisichella was 16th. His partner, Jenson Button, was 21st following engine problems and what appeared to be a shredded tyre whilst on track, at Michelin's first Grand Prix weekend. Fernando Alonso took his European Minardi to 17th and Tarso Marques was 22nd after his engine let go early on in session two. Enrique Bernoldi was 20th, 1.534 seconds behind Arrows' team mate Jos Verstappen.
All eyes now turn to qualifying, which looks capable of throwing up a few suprises. Dry and warm weather is predicted.
Live commentary of the Australian GP Saturday practice begins at 22.00 GMT, 23.00 CET and 17.00 EST. Qualifying will be covered at 02.00 GMT, 03.00 CET and 21.00 EST.