The Ferraris and McLarens once again stole the first two rows of the grid in qualifying. Michael Schumacher took pole, with Hakkinen behind him, Irvine in third place and Coulthard fourth. Battling it out below, Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan...
Battling it out below, Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan was just pipped for fifth place by Rubens Barrichello. The Jordan team had a frenetic session coping with coping with an engine problem on Hill's car, set-up changes to the T car, and an oil leak on Frentzen's car.
Frentzen managed to come through to take sixth place. Commenting on the session he said, ""We are getting closer to the front of the grid, but for the moment, I think this is as far up as we can get. We are continually making progress but so are the other teams, so we have not yet managed to improve on sixth place. But I think we can be happy; it is a pretty good position to start the race from. I had a few incidents in the qualifying session; first I was held up on the first run by Zonta which was unnecessary because he was on his out lap and I think he could have moved off the racing line. I came close to hitting Diniz on my third run. I was surprised that he braked so suddenly. He had finished his qualifying lap but did not seem to want to let me through on my qualifying lap, so I thought at least I would get a tow from him, and then he suddenly braked, so I very nearly went into him. For the race tomorrow, I do not think the heat will affect the tyres, but the brakes will suffer a lot. Our car is strong and well set up so I am pretty confident."
Damon was less fortunate. After suffering an engine problem on his first run, he took the T car which was set up for Frentzen, and finished the session in 14th place. "Fourteenth is not very good and I am disappointed," he said. "I would like to think I could do better than that and, although we did have problems, I cannot put all the blame down to that. I had an engine problem on my race car so moved to the spare car which was set up for Heinz-Harald. I actually quite liked the set up but it was difficult to adapt to it because the gear ratios and brakes were different. When I pressed the brakes nothing happened which was quite an alarming moment. Luckily I found reverse and got myself back on track, which at least moved me up from 20th to 14th! The race will be very unpleasant in this heat, but the tyres can withstand very high temperatures, so they will not be affected. Traditionally it is a race of attrition, and tomorrow should not be any different. It is very difficult to stay on the track, so it could be a race full of incidents."