Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda made a useful start to the weekend in Belgium when Jarno Trulli set second fastest time, with Jean Alesi ninth at the end of the day which saw the Spa-Francorchamps track affected by a shower in the afternoon ...
Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda made a useful start to the weekend in Belgium when Jarno Trulli set second fastest time, with Jean Alesi ninth at the end of the day which saw the Spa-Francorchamps track affected by a shower in the afternoon session.
'It's been a productive day,' said Trulli. 'We were able to test tyres and a lot of things on the car. We were able to do some laps in wet conditions. The car seems pretty good and I'm optimistic for tomorrow that we can get a result. The weather will be critical because I would prefer it to be one way or the other; not like today where the rain comes and goes just enough to make the track wet, and then it begins to dry out. When it was wet, I had some brake problems. I had too much brake balance on the rear and I spun twice.'
'Today was important for me,' said Alesi. 'This was the first time I was able to drive the car in wet conditions. I'm really happy with what we learned today and now we have to work on getting the best set-up for qualifying and the race.'
The first of the two 60-minute sessions was run in the dry but a short but heavy shower affected the second hour.
'Obviously it was a difficult day because of the weather,' said Trevor Foster, joint managing director. 'It was slippery early on this morning and that caught a lot of people out. The cars were sliding, particularly at the rear, and I think it took teams a few runs to get that sorted and some drivers were caught out very badly. We had an inkling that the weather front was coming in so we decided to do the tyre evaluation this afternoon. We now have a very good indication of which way we want to go, so it's been a productive day. We had the opportunity to run both the intermediate and the wet weather tyres and everything looks okay. The drivers seem fairly happy with the balance and we now have to sift through the information we have gathered.'
Michael Schumacher was fastest, his time set in the dry this morning. Schumacher's practice was brought to a halt in the afternoon when he crashed his Ferrari into the back of Pedro de la Rosa when the Jaguar was obscured by spray on the fast approach to Eau Rouge corner. Neither driver was hurt but both cars were badly damaged.
David Coulthard only managed four laps after spinning off and crashing into the barrier early in the morning session. The McLaren team was unable to retrieve the car until the break between the two sessions and the repairs, which took an hour and 40 minutes, could not be completed in time to allow Coulthard onto the track before practice had ended. (Drivers are not allowed to use spare cars until qualifying and the race).
Several drivers, including Mika Hakkinen, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve, spun. Juan Pablo Montoya lost control in the Bus Stop chicane in the wet and damaged his Williams against the crash barrier.