French GP Friday Free Practice

Friday 26 June 1998 Friday free practice, 11.00-12.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: warm and overcast _________________________________________________________________ Coulthard pips Hakkinen for...

Friday 26 June 1998 Friday free practice, 11.00-12.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: warm and overcast _________________________________________________________________ Coulthard pips Hakkinen for fastest time David Coulthard just edged out his McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Mika Hakkinen for fastest time in the first free practice session here this morning, neither driver having any technical problems whatsoever during their time on the circuit although Hakkinen locked up his inside rear brake on a couple of occasions as he battled to post a quicker lap than the Scot. Ferraris third and fourth Eddie Irvine just beat Michael Schumacher for third fastest time, although both Ferrari F300 drivers were concentrating on different programmes during the session. Irvine was working on brake development while Schumacher was trying a modified aerodynamic package including a modified version of the front wing used at Montreal, a new undertray and revised waisting to the side pods ahead of the rear wheels. Fisichella fifth for Benetton Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton Playlife wound up fifth fastest, the Italian driver working on chassis set-up for much of the session and improving his time at the end running on the same set of tyres. Alexander Wurz wound up eighth fastest in the other B198 troubled by an electrical problem. Williams try new tyres The Williams team ran its FW20s in the same longer wheelbase form as they used in Montreal and spent much of the session trying the latest spec Goodyear tyres which were not available for the most recent Magny-Cours test. Heinz-Harald Frentzen, now totally recovered from his testing accident here, set sixth fastest time while Jacques Villeneuve could not get a clear run in traffic towards the end and had to settle for 12th. Jordans seventh and 11th The Jordan Mugen Hondas of Ralf Schumacher and Damon Hill spent the session working on set-up, Ralf setting seventh fastest time and reporting he felt quite happy with the car, although the track conditions seemed slow and he used a lot of wing. Damon said "it is all a little too early to draw any firm conclusions" and he has not yet tried the latest Goodyear tyres available. Mixed fortunes at Sauber The Sauber-Petronas C17s of Jean Alesi and Johnny Herbert wound up ninth and 13th, the Frenchman complaining that his engine lacked power and the aerodynamic balance of the car was too biased towards the front end. Herbert was disappointed to find that the understeer, which he thought had been eliminated during testing, had now returned. Briefly: Rubens Barrichello was still trying to sort out the handling balance on his Stewart-Ford while new recruit Jos Verstappen came into the pits after his installation lap with an oil system blockageMika Salo said his Arrows felt quite well balanced, if a little soft, while Pedro Diniz grappled with excessive oversteer and spun offboth Tyrrell drivers complained of too much understeer and lost time modifying the rear wing flaps. _________________________________________________________________ Friday 26 June 1998 Friday free practice, 13.00 to 14.00 WEATHER CONDITIONS: warm, hazy sunshine _________________________________________________________________ Hakkinen goes ahead Mika Hakkinen finished today's free practice session with fastest time 0.082sec ahead of Eddie Irvine's Ferrari F300. Both Hakkinen and his team-mate David Coulthard, who wound up third fastest, continued to concentrate on getting the best out of their race set-ups. Coulthard admitted that he had a slight brake problem which was later resolved and both McLaren drivers had spins during the afternoon as they sought out the limit of adhesion. Irvine second for Ferrari Eddie Irvine was well satisfied with second fastest time using the standard set-up for the Ferrari F300, although like many Goodyear runners, the team remained cagey about identifying its specific tyre choice. Michael Schumacher did a back to back between the old and latest chassis set-ups, ending the day with fifth fastest time after not switching to a new set of tyres in the closing stages of the session. Mixed emotions at Williams Heinz-Harald Frentzen was well satisfied with his fourth fastest time in the Williams-Mecachrome, reporting that the balance of the car was very promising. Unfortunately Jacques Villeneuve ran wide out and got onto the dirt coming out of the second corner on his first flying lap and spun into the gravel, dropping back to 17th place and losing valuable car set-up time as he did so. Both Jordans make top ten Ralf Schumacher was satisfied with the performance of his Jordan 198, completing 26 laps on a single set of the latest specification Goodyears. He set sixth fastest time, three places ahead of Damon Hill who carried out some back-to-back testing between the two available Goodyear tyre choices and also had a quick spin. Benettons closely matched The Benetton-Playlifes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz finished the day seventh and eighth fastest. The Italian driver improved the set-up, but admitted that it was not yet perfect, and also had a brief off-track excursion. For his part, Wurz spent the second part of the session catching up on time lost this morning when he suffered electrical problems. Herbert tenth for Sauber Johnny Herbert set tenth fastest time in the Sauber-Petronas, now satisfied that the car's handling was back to the level the team had achieved during last week's test, while Jean Alesi wound up 12th, still complaining that his car lacked power. Briefly Jarno Trulli wound up 11th in the Prost-Peugeot, the team planning to use its latest EV4 Peugeot V10 for qualifying tomorrowRicardo Rosset's Tyrrell challenged for a top ten position before catching fire in the pit lane.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Jos Verstappen , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Alexander Wurz , Mika Salo , Ricardo Rosset , Damon Hill , Pedro Diniz
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Jordan