European GP Friday practice notes

By Erica Southey - 2001-06-22 F1 Both sessions seemed to be haunted by drivers not being able to make it to the end, be it through mechanical failure or self arranged excursions. With barely two minutes into first free...

By Erica Southey -



Both sessions seemed to be haunted by drivers not being able to make it to the end, be it through mechanical failure or self arranged excursions. With barely two minutes into first free practice, a gremlin hi-jacked Eddie Irvine's Jaguar. Irvine was forced to park his car, due to mechanical failure forcing him out of this session. The second session saw Irivine spin off into the gravel after carrying too much speed through a chicane locking the wheels. While Lady Fortune was unkind to Irvine, she smiled down on Tarso Marques who didn't complete any laps in the first session. However, session two saw Marques joining team-mate Fernando Alonso to open the session. The Prost of Luciano Burti was noticed parked at the side of the track marking the end of his second session. Rubens Barrichello however, had other ideas. He thought he'd demonstrate how to keep an F1 car going at the slowest possible speed - going around at only 40 km/h.

While Luciano Burti was experiencing a frustrating second session the Prost of Jean Alesi was going smoothly. Can Prost continue their form and collect more points at Nürburgring this weekend? In the Benetton ranks it was yet another disappointing session with both the cars of Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella popping up towards the lower end of the order.

The Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen were constantly seen in the top ten during first free practice, where in the second session, Heidfeld managed to keep up this appearance with Raikkonen missing tenth spot by one.

The first off-road testing in free practice went to Enrique Bernoldi in the Arrows who lost grip and spun off into the gravel, but managed to keep going, collecting a lot of 'marbles'. Rubens Barrichello followed suit by putting the Ferrari into the gravel before rejoining the track. A while later it was Juan-Pablo Montoya lost the Williams in the start/finish straight and drove himself out of this dangerous position. The second session saw Michael Schumacher adamant to improve his time to beat the McLarens, by taking a short cut through the gravel to rejoin the track. Unfortunately for him, this method didn't pay off. A few minutes later, Heinz-Herald Frentzen in the Jordan slid off the track out of the last corner to put an end to his second free practice session while team-mate Jarno Trulli had an overall pleasing free practice, showing that his team is no pushover.

The first two cars to push lap times below the 1 min 18s were the McLarens of Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard. Häkkinen improved on the fastest lap set by David Coulthard last year. Coulthard responded by toppling the times, being the first to make it to the 1 min 16s. He continued this stint in second free practice by bettering the lap times from the first session. Häkkinen managed to get into the 1 min 16s during the second session and take away the number one spot from Coulthard. The McLaren boys are on a mission, but will the car be reliable enough to repeat this show in qualifying and the race?

For the German engine supplied constructors, it was McLaren who dominated, while the BMW Williams could only muster mid order in the first session. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya restored some BMW pride by slotting the cars into the top six with Ralf consistently showing his brother the rear wing of the Williams in the ranks. Triple World Champion, Michael Schumacher consistently challenged for the first spot, but couldn't quite make it, due to the McLaren dominance and interference by Ralf, while Barrichello kept matching him lap for lap.

In a grand finale, almost at the end, Jacques Villeneuve spun off through the first corner and proceeded to test off track territory. Villeneuve and team-mate Olivier Panis both had productive session, featuring consistently in the higher echelon of the order.

With these performances, we can expect a rather surprising qualifying result tomorrow.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton Formula , Jordan