European GP Friday Qualifying report

News items: Mercedes announced yesterday that they will leave Sauber at the end of this season. Schumacher is quoted in the British press as having said: "Senna would have been driving rings around me, which tells you what I think of Hill as a...

News items: Mercedes announced yesterday that they will leave Sauber at the end of this season.

Schumacher is quoted in the British press as having said: "Senna would have been driving rings around me, which tells you what I think of Hill as a driver".

Qualifying Report: It was a dry day in Jerez for Friday's qualifying session. Michael Schumacher had been fastest in the morning, but the earlier leader of the qualifying session was Rubens Barrichello, ahead of Frentzen and Nigel Mansell. With 5 minutes gone, Frentzen takes provisional pole with a 1.24.184. Irvine moves into second place .783 slower than Frentzen and Mansell moved ahead of Barrichello, back into 3rd place.

Katayama was in 6th when he had a massive engine blow-up. Despite the fact that he was less than a third of the way around the track, it looked for a while like he was going to try to limp back to the pits. He left a large, long trail of oil on the track, before deciding to give up and pull off. As a result of all this all everyone went back to the pits and the session was red-flagged while the marshalls had a look at the damage. The didn't do anything with it, however, and after about 10 minutes, during which time Katayamas car was brought back to the pits, the green flag appeared again. At this point we were 12 minutes into the session and the positions were as follows:

1. Frentzen 1.24.184 2. Irvine +.783 3. Mansell +1.008 4. Barrichello +1.142 5. Panis +1.940 6. Katayama +2.120 7. Schiatarella +6.873 8. Bernard 9. Gachot Neither Bernard nor Gachot had completed a flying lap - just an in-out lap.

It was a full 10 minutes after the green flag appeared before the first cars ventured out onto the track again, everyone seeming reluctant to be the person to clean the oil off the racing line. Alboretto was the first out, followed by Hill a few seconds later. This was Hill's first time out this afternoon. Blundell then ventured out too.

On his first flying lap, Hill nearly lost it at the first corner, braking too late, and losing a bit of time. At the first split he was +.418 off Frentzen's time, and +1.043 off it at the second, finishing the lap +1.098 off, which put him into 4th place. On the second flying lap he was 4 tenths off Frentzen's time at the 2nd intermediate, and +.558 at the end, which put him second ahead of Irvine. He then backed off for a lap, before going for another fast one, on which he was -.171 ahead of Frentzen's time at the first intermediate, but +.241 off it at the second, and +.103 off at the end of the lap, leaving hime with an improved time, but no improvement in position. He then went back to the pits, with 6 laps completed and 30 minutes left in the session.

As Hill came back into the pits, Zanardi, DeCesaris (who was 11th this morning), Brundle, Bernard and Alesi all came out in rapid succession. On Alesi's first flying lap he nearly lost it coming into the first corner - same place as Hill, and doing the same thing. The car was all over the place, and his 1st and 2nd intermediate times were +.865 and +1.650 respectively. He seemed to back off about half way around the lap, and finished at +1.828 off the pace which put him into 6th.

At this point the standings were as follows: Frentzen, Hill, Irvine, Mansell, Barrichello, Alesi, Brundle, Panis, Katayama, DeCesaris, Fittipaldi, Herbert, Martini, Blundell, Morbidelli

Hakkinen then came out for the first time. At the first intermediate he was +.015 off the pace, but he was really pushing, and got the cvar partially off the track, collecting a lot of dust and finished the lap +1.634 off the pace, to take 6th place. Both Benettons appeared out for the first time at this point, and Verstappen lost the rear of his car and had a heavy impact into a tyre wall before he completed a flying lap. This was the end of his session, and he ended up as one of the potential non-qualifiers.

On Schumacher's first flying lap he was +.222 off at the second intermediate, and +.023 off Frentzen's time at the end of the lap, which gave him provisional 2nd place. Mansell then improved his time, but is now down in 5th place on the provisional grid, having been demoted also by Barrichello.

Schumacher's next lap was taken at a slow pace, and he picked up some dust that had been laid on the track by someone else going off. On his 3rd flying lap he was -.112 faster at the first intermediate, but +.312 slower at the second, and +.347 off the pole time at the end. During this lap his car seemed to have very little grip in some of the corners. He then returned to the pits as Fittipaldi was out, in 15th place, and Irvine came back out. Martini was also on the track at this point.

Irvine moved up to 4th place, and then Barrichello beat him again, to move up to 4th with +.376 and +.683 at the two split points and a time +.516 off Frentzen's at the end.

Hill came out again now and was -.180 quicker at the first intermediate, -.003 at the second, and -.047 quicker at the end of the lap, to finally take provisional pole from Frentzen, with only 6 and a half minutes left in the session. Hill then backed off for the next lap. Mansell was also out at this stage, but hit traffic on his last flying lap, although it was only Berger and Schumacher, who both pulled over to let him by. Still, he was +.881 at the second intermediate, and +.834 at the end of the lap, to leave him in 6th place behind the two Jordans.

Frentzen now appeared back on the track, having been sitting back relaxing, watching the monitor for the 56 minutes since he set his previous fastest time.

Schumacher was +.523 off Hill's time on his first flying lap of this set, having been let past by Mansell, who was on his way back to the pits. Hill was also on his way back to the pits when one of the Minardis was beside him, and for no apparent reason pulled across into the side of Hill, bumping tires, and forcing Hill briefly off the track.

Schumacher then did a slow lap, and on what would be his final lap was going all out when he hit a bit of traffic (a Lotus) and ended up only +.077 off Hills time, which left him in provisional third.

The final standings were: Hill, Frnetzen, Schumacher, Barrichello, Irvine, Mansell, Berger, Alesi, Hakkinen, Panis, DeCesaris, Martini, Brundle, Blundell, Morbidelli, Fittipaldi, Herbert, Katayama, Alboretto, Zanardi, Comas, Bernard, Brabham, Noda, Schiaterella, Gachot. Provisional non-qualifiers: Belmondo, Verstappen.

-- Christine.

If it makes goo on the windscreen, we'll call it a bug. -- Larry Wall

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Nigel Mansell
Teams Mercedes , Sauber , Benetton , Minardi , Jordan