A dirty track was expected for the first free practice at Interlagos which predicted a slow session. Temperature was 28C in the air and 37C on track. The Jordans of Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella were first to appear in the dry, sunny ...
A dirty track was expected for the first free practice at Interlagos which predicted a slow session. Temperature was 28C in the air and 37C on track. The Jordans of Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella were first to appear in the dry, sunny conditions, followed by the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya. Within ten minutes all teams bar Ferrari had completed shakedown laps.
Toyota's Allan McNish was the first to set a time but was swiftly replaced by Sato as the session got under way in earnest. Michael Schumacher took the F2002 out for a brief skirmish, doing one lap before heading back into the pits. Arrows' Heinz-Harald Frentzen showed early form, as did the Jaguars of Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa, while Sato developed a gearbox problem and returned to the garage. Enrique Bernoldi took over the top slot for Arrows, followed by Sauber's Felipe Massa then Montoya, the times changing rapidly.
Rubens Barrichello had a puncture in the Ferrari F2001 and Kimi Raikkonen spun at the Senna S with probable engine failure, which meant the end of his session. Not a great start for McLaren as David Coulthard also spun into the gravel; the session was stopped as Raikkonen's car couldn't be removed quick enough. The temperature kept rising which seemed good for the Michelin runners, Ralf Schumacher taking over the top of the times for Williams.
Once the pit lane exit was open again the Ferraris returned to the track, followed by several other cars trying to make the most of the remaining 20 minutes of the session. Barrichello had a minor spin which messed up Michael's lap, then the German also spun -- Barrichello seemingly stalled and got out of the car, then Minardi's Alex Yoong joined in with the spinning/stalling trend as another session retiree.
Michael set second fastest behind brother Ralf, Fisichella up into third, the Jordans looking good with Sato in seventh. Both Saubers were in the top ten, Nick Heidfeld jumping up to third, but poor pace continued to hamper BAR; Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis in 16th and 17th respectively. Jaguar's early showing lapsed, Irvine falling to 14th and de la Rosa down in 20th, then Michael let the F2002 show its form and took the top time. Bernoldi spun but kept it on track and Sato also joined the spinning/stalling party to retire. Sauber once again were strong as the session closed, as was Bernoldi: final top six classification: M Schumacher, R Schumacher, Fisichella, Heidfeld, Massa, Bernoldi.