Barrichello ahead on wet Belgian GP Saturday

Barrichello ahead on wet Belgian GP Saturday

Rubens Barrichello topped the times of the single Saturday practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, in a morning that was disrupted by bad weather. The Brazilian clocked a best of 1:57.085 in very wet conditions, with Ferrari teammate Michael...

Rubens Barrichello topped the times of the single Saturday practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix, in a morning that was disrupted by bad weather. The Brazilian clocked a best of 1:57.085 in very wet conditions, with Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher second and McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen third.

Rubens Barrichello.
Photo by Bridgestone Corporation.

The early morning practice session was cancelled due to bad weather conditions -- twice the session was delayed but was eventually abandoned as heavy rain and fog made it unsafe for the medical helicopter to fly. The conditions persisted by the scheduled start of the second session there was a further half hour delay but eventually proceedings got under way.

Schumacher was the first to paddle to a time in the much-shortened 15 minute session. The Ferrari clocked 1:57.906 and Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya was over four seconds behind. More cars joined the time sheet but all were three seconds or more slower than the Ferrari.

Olivier Panis slid into the gravel but managed to keep the Toyota going and BAR's Takuma Sato closed the gap to Schumacher to 2.6 seconds. He was deposed by Raikkonen, who was just over a second slower than the Ferrari, then the Finn bought it down to three tenths.

The Saubers and Renaults were in the top ten but with an overall average two minute lap time, it was impossible to tell who might be on form. Giancarlo Fisichella's Sauber was next to make the gap to Schumacher even smaller, two tenths, but Raikkonen bounced back and was just six hundredths shy of the top.

Barrichello got in on the action, clocking 1:57.085 to beat Schumacher by eight tenths. Antonio Pizzonia crashed into the barrier at Rivage but the Williams appeared not too badly damaged. Minardi's Gianmaria Bruni followed suit shortly afterwards, hitting the wall at Eau Rouge.

It was quite a big crash but Bruni was safely out of the car. However, the session was red flagged and as there was only a minute or so left it was not restarted. All in all it was quite a peculiar morning at Spa -- that 15 minute session was more interesting than the Hungarian Grand Prix!

We can only wait and see what qualifying might bring. Final top eight classification: Barrichello, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Fisichella, Coulthard, Massa, Button, Trulli.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Antonio Pizzonia , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Olivier Panis , Kimi Raikkonen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi