Brazialian GP - Fascinating first day Interlagos, 29th March - The time sheet at the end of this the first day of free practice for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix shows that Formula 1 is still capable of throwing up surprises. Certainly it's ...
Brazialian GP - Fascinating first day
Interlagos, 29th March - The time sheet at the end of this the first day of free practice for Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix shows that Formula 1 is still capable of throwing up surprises. Certainly it's surprising to see Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello 'only' fifth and seventh fastest. However, both Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro drivers are confident of being competitive in tomorrow's all important qualifying session.
Michael Schumacher spent the day getting to grips with the F2002, making its race weekend debut on this difficult and bumpy track. Both he and his team-mate were just two of the many drivers who find the slippery conditions catching them out with spins. While the world champion had a trouble free day, apart from the spin, his Brazilian colleague did not spend so much time performing for his home crowd. A puncture on his very first lap sent him back to the pits, before a glitch with the traction control sent him into a spin which left him stranded for the first hour, watching the action from the side of the track.
"This is the first time we have brought the F2002 to a race weekend, for Michael Schumacher's use. The team strived to find the best race day set up for the new car for Sunday, also doing a lot of comparison work on the two types of tyre. Using the modified F2001, Rubens Barrichello worked through his usual Friday programme, although he missed out on the first hour of practice. I think that we will be competitive, both for tomorrow's qualifying and the rest of the weekend."
"This is the first time we have run the new car on this track and so we are learning all the time and so there is still room to improve. It looks as though we should see a good battle this weekend with myself and Rubens fighting the Michelin runners, especially as McLaren seem more competitive here than in the first two races. The changes to the run off areas are very good. If they had not been made, I am sure I would have hit the barriers quite hard when I spun off. On Friday it is hard to read anything into the lap times, but I am quite happy with what we have achieved today."
"This afternoon, we tried to make up for all the time lost in the morning, when I only managed to do a handful of laps. Right from the installation lap, I had a puncture on the right rear tyre and then I spun because of a problem with the traction control. We still have a lot to do in terms of finding the right set up to deal with the bumpy nature of the track and to finalise our tyre choice for qualifying and the race."
"As usual, we were concentrating on race day and comparing the two types of tyre. It's possible the Bridgestones were better on the dirtier track in the morning and the other tyres picked up performance later. In Malaysia we were quick in qualifying, but slower in the race, so we will be placing more emphasis on race set-up this weekend. We had a few problems with Rubens' car and were not allowed to replace his set of tyres after he had a puncture. We are not concerned about the times, as we don't know what fuel loads everyone is running, so we are quietly confident for tomorrow. The F2002 ran well on its competition debut."