By Erica Southey â€“ Motorsport.com In the first session it was Kimi Raikkonen and Ricardo Zonta who came out first to test the waters. In the second session Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jean Alesi came out first to make their mark...
By Erica Southey – Motorsport.com
In the first session it was Kimi Raikkonen and Ricardo Zonta who came out first to test the waters. In the second session Jacques Villeneuve, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jean Alesi came out first to make their mark on the track. Alesi had a good lap that put him in the top ten overall.
Early in the first session it was the Jaguars of Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa who dominated the number one slot even outdoing Michael Schumacher who could only manage second. A good show was Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques in the Minardis who outdid teams like BAR and Prost early in the session. Toward the end of the session, Giancarlo Fisichella did a great lap that put his Benetton up in tenth position, while teammate Jensen Button could only manage 17th at the time. Button however came up trumps in the second session by going from 18th to 12th.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher had a good first session, constantly staying in the top ten while Irvine again claimed the number one slot in his flying Cat. It didn’t last long, because de la Rosa displaced Irvine for a few seconds before falling prey to Rubens Barrichello in the red Ferrari. The Jaguars continued their good stint in the second session while the Saubers were unusually low down the order. It was Montoya who kept a good pace constantly staying in the top three for most of the session. While the first session belonged to Rubens Barrichello, the second session went to Eddie Irvine who had a brilliant Friday session overall.
What appeared to be a low key first session soon got rectified by Button in the Benetton who provided some entertainment by missing a breaking marker, going off and rejoining the track a few meters later. Zonta went wide almost taking the same route as Button on what was a promising lap. Zonta an ex BAR driver did better than both Olivier Panis and Villeneuve with teammate Jarno Trulli two places ahead of him. Ralf Schumacher’s second session came to a sudden end when he carried too much speed through Sudkurve and had a minor skirmish with the tyre wall. Barrichello had his own bit of excitement to offer in the form of a stationary Ferrari in the pitlane waiting to be pulled back to the garage by the men in red. Marques spun off and teammate Alonso had no other choice but to go off to avoid his teammate. Mika Häkkinen kicked up some dust when he tried to see if he could use both track and grass at the same time to better his lap time.
It appeared that David Coulthard and Häkkinen forgot that they had a first free practice session, because both McLaren drivers waited for almost half the session to put in an appearance. The only driver who was yet to put in an appearance was Jos Verstappen in the Arrows who had just 15 minutes left before the end of the session. Verstappen didn’t take part in the first session, but did come out for the second session. Were there serious problems with his car?
It was an interesting Friday practice, especially the way the Jaguars and Benettons performed. Could this mean that Benetton is back on track and that the Jaguars are going to cause some upsets tomorrow in qualifying? Join us tomorrow at Hockenheim for the answer.