1998 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX - FREE PRACTICE HAKKINEN SECOND FASTEST - DESPITE SETBACK The West-McLaren-Mercedes team had an eventful start to the weekend of the Belgian GP when Mika Hakkinen lost control during the first session of untimed...
1998 BELGIAN GRAND PRIX - FREE PRACTICE HAKKINEN SECOND FASTEST - DESPITE SETBACK
The West-McLaren-Mercedes team had an eventful start to the weekend of the Belgian GP when Mika Hakkinen lost control during the first session of untimed practice and sustained significant damage to his car against the tyre wall. Some rapid repair work by his mechanics got the Finn back in time to participate in the afternoon session, when he set the second fastest time of the day, 0.6 second faster than his team mate David Coulthard.
Hirohide Hamashima, Technical Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Mika had a big crash this morning which has restricted the amount of data available to us. However, his car has been well repaired and we should be able to catch up tomorrow. The tyres we have brought here this weekend include differently-sized fronts, each of which is being offered in the same compound, together with one new type of intermediate wet . Having discovered after the race in Hungary that some of our teams experienced oversteer, we are confident about the compounds we have brought here, which is why we have the two different-size fronts. We expect to have no difficulty in finding good setups for the race."
Mika Hakkinen, Driver, West McLaren Mercedes: "I was upset about going off this morning, and I am grateful to the team for getting me back on to the track so rapidly. Now we are keeping our fingers crossed that the weather forecasts are correct and the weather stays fine tomorrow."
Steve Hallam, Chief engineer, West McLaren Mercedes: "Inevitably our day was disturbed by Mika's spin in the first session, and by the damage which it caused. We estimated that it would take at least an hour to repair the car and it was fortunate that we were able to get back on to the track with half an hour of the afternoon session still to go. One tyre had been punctured in the incident, so we fitted a fresh set, and it was important for Mika to be out when the track was dry, because we needed to find the right setup. Both David and Mika are reasonably comfortable, although the handling of both cars can be improved. If we have a dry day tomorrow, we expect to take advantage of that."
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 11:-11: 14:-15: Cloudy - dry Afternoon 12:-11: 18:-17: Cloudy - dry