The West McLaren Mercedes of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen dominated both today's practice sessions at the A1-Ring in Austria. Hakkinen, whose Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago ended in mechanical failure, overcame the flu to drive the fastest...
The West McLaren Mercedes of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen dominated both today's practice sessions at the A1-Ring in Austria. Hakkinen, whose Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago ended in mechanical failure, overcame the flu to drive the fastest lap in the morning session. His teammate went quickest on his last lap in the afternoon with a 1:11.245. Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello ended the day third fastest. Ralf Schumacher was fourth, followed by his brother Michael who finished the day on a 1:11.647 in the other Ferrari. As the A1-Ring is not one of the circuits used for testing, Bridgestone's contracted teams concentrated on trying different set-ups, as well as running both specifications of dry tyre. Bridgestone has brought a new soft compound tyre to the A1-Ring which is smooth, low-grip track.
Adrian Newey - Technical Director - West McLaren Mercedes
"There are many circuits where we do not test so it is not a particular problem to come here, but the dirtiness of the track is a problem. It was worse today than last year because this year's race is earlier in the year and there has been no running here so far by other formulae. Although it will not make a lot of difference tomorrow for qualifying, it was very dirty for this morning's practice. This makes it difficult to evaluate how the car is changing because the condition of the track is changing even more quickly. There are slight differences in the behaviour of the two tyre specs and it is not obvious which to choose. In theory, a softer tyre will usually give you more grip but more understeer. We have gone well in Austria before but things change year by year so you never really know what to expect."
Ross Brawn - Technical Director - Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
"A normal day for us. We had some difficulty with the brakes on Michael's car at the beginning of the morning session which meant we lost a bit of track time. The objective here is to fit as much as you can into the two sessions, so losing time was not helpful especially when the dirtiness of the track shortens the morning session anyway. We solved the problem with Michael's brakes in time for the afternoon session. We did a tyre comparison and it is fairly clear which tyre we want to use. There is some difference between the two specs but it is not huge. Otherwise, nothing special for us today."
Hisao Suganuma - Technical Manager - Bridgestone Motorsport
"The lap times from today were encouraging, but it is difficult to say at the moment which is the best specification for this circuit. Our softer compound seems to grip better than the harder compound which is what we would expect. The lap time difference between the two specs may be four or five tenths of a second, but overall the times for both tyres look promising."