By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com It was yet another shaky first Free Practice for Tarso Marques in the Minardi. He narrowly missed an accident managing to keep his unstable car under control and headed back to the pits. The same couldn't be ...
By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com
It was yet another shaky first Free Practice for Tarso Marques in the Minardi. He narrowly missed an accident managing to keep his unstable car under control and headed back to the pits. The same couldn't be said for Pedro de la Rosa who went off into the gravel putting an end to his first free practice session. Luciano Burti and Olivier Panis had better fortune by means of being able to continue with first free practice after spinning off. Second free practice saw a more mild approach to the track from the afore-mentioned, but it was Fernando Alonso who had a huge spin at Copse enclosed in smoke and later spun off into the gravel in the closing stages of the session. De la Rosa, however made up for his spin by leaping his Jaguar from 19th to seventh while Jacques Villeneuve kicked up a lot of dust after his spin. He managed to keep going and got back on track without any damage.
It was Michael Schumacher who stamped down his authority on a track that holds some scary memories for him after his crash that left him out of the remainder of the 1999 Formula 1 season. Michael opened his first free practice session by bettering last year's pole time of 1:25.703 set by Rubens Barrichello. By tearing off his helmet and storming out of the pits, David Coulthard made it clear he was not happy with the time set by Michael. Mika Häkkinen responded in a different manner by bettering the lap set by Michael and challenging him all the way, but it was the German who came up trumps.
Second free practice had the tables turned with the McLarens on top with David Coulthard taking out his frustrations in a more positive way by clocking the fastest times halfway through the session. It didn't last very long, because Häkkinen dethroned Coulthard by quite a margin. Strangely enough after this, it started to rain softly.
The Honda powered teams finished behind the Ferraris and McLarens with the Jaguar of Eddie Irvine sandwiched between the Jordan of Heinz-Herald Frentzen and the BARs of Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve. This time round it was Frentzen who made it to the top ten with teammate Jarno Trulli trailing him by four places. Uncharacteristic of the usual appearance of the top order was the absence of Williams. Though putting in good laps, Juan-Pablo Montoya could only manage 13th while Ralf Schumacher made 11th position. Second free practice saw a different scenario with BAR losing their space to Nick Heidfeld, De la Rosa and Ralf Schumacher.
The Saubers of Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld featured lower than where we normally see them, while the Benettons of Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella were in their customary tail end of the order.
We've seen different Friday free practice with middle order runners moving up in the ranks. Could this be indicative of Honda and Cosworth delivering on promises of better engines.
Qualifying will give us insight to what we can expect in the race on Sunday.