Saturday 11 July 1998 - free practice WEATHER CONDITIONS:overcast and windy Hakkinen and Coulthard continue to set pace Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard continued to set the front running pace with the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13s during ...
Saturday 11 July 1998 - free practice
WEATHER CONDITIONS:overcast and windy
Hakkinen and Coulthard continue to set pace
Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard continued to set the front running pace with the McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13s during today's free practice session, Hakkinen being delighted with the handling balance of his car while the Scot was still a little uncertain of his machine's high speed stability.
Schumacher third for Ferrari
Michael Schumacher set third fastest time in his Ferrari F300, the German driver working on chassis balance with a new rear wing and harder springs. He used two sets of new tyres during the course of the session while Eddie Irvine, who was seventh fastest, used one old set from Friday plus a new set.
Jordans fourth and fifth
The Jordan Mugen-Hondas of Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill wound up fourth and fifth fastest. Ralf reported he was even happier than expected with the performance of his car and predicted it would be better again on some of the higher speed circuits to come in the calendar. Damon set his best time in qualifying trim with a light fuel load but later slid off across a gravel trap on worn tyres, but successfully regained the circuit.
Mixed time for Williams
Jacques Villeneuve seemed quite happy with the feel of his Williams FW20, setting sixth fastest time, two places ahead of team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen. "The car is going pretty well," said the World Champion, "it feels confidently stable and we should be in a position to fight this afternoon." Frentzen for his part was struggling slightly for balance and the team believes it will be a finely judged call whether to use the softer option Goodyear rubber bearing in mind that the track surface might be too abrasive if the rubber is washed off by possible heavy rain over the next 24-hours.
Alesi makes top ten for Sauber
Jean Alesi squeezed into the top ten with his Sauber-Petronas, reporting that the car felt a little too throttle sensitive on the limit. Johnny Herbert got through a lot of set-up work but heavy traffic prevented him from improving on 12th place.
Benettons have troubled time
Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz could not better tenth and 11th places, both drivers unhappy with poor traction. Fisichella also lost a lot of time after an off-track excursion caused a lot of undertray damage which had to be repaired mid-session.
Pedro Diniz improved the traction on his Arrows, but Mika Salo had engine problems and a flat rear tyre on his carRubens Barrichello's Stewart-Ford also lacked traction while Jos Verstappen's sister car had a hydraulic problemboth Tyrrell drivers are hoping Ford will allow them to use more revs this afternoon as they are running onto the limiter in the tail wind.