Hockenheim, July 31, 1999 --British American Racing made up for lost time today - and then lost it again. As a result, Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta will be on the sixth and seventh rows of the starting grid for Sunday's German Grand ...
Hockenheim, July 31, 1999 --British American Racing made up for lost time today - and then lost it again. As a result, Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta will be on the sixth and seventh rows of the starting grid for Sunday's German Grand Prix.
The morning started well with both drivers improving their times by four seconds their Friday bests on the demanding Hockenheimring. Overnight work on the settings resulted in a marked improvement in stability on the straights, and overall handling improvements in the chicanes and stadium section. Zonta, having improved, then hit a clutch problem on the last lap of the first morning session. His mechanics replaced the clutch and got him out again five minutes before the end of the second session, when he improved again by a tenth.
Villeneuve also was looking good, and expected to go quicker in the afternoon qualifying hour. He did, but not as much as hoped for. Traction became a problem on the increasingly heating track, but the Canadian's engine also began to lose power on the straights. Jacques jumped into the spare car for his final run, went out with five minutes to go and managed to post his best time of the weekend, one minute, 44.508 seconds, 12th best on the day.
The staunchly partisan German fans were delighted when countryman Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan) split the McLaren-Mercedes duo of Hakkinen (pole, 1:42.950) and Coulthard (third) to earn a spot on the front row. The two Ferraris took fourth and fifth places, with Michael Schumacher's stand-in Mika Salo ahead of regular Ferrari pilot, Eddie Irvine.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE -- 1: 44.508 -- 12th "We know we're not among the fastest on the track, but today we didn't show our true colours. My race car was losing power, the spare has a very different set-up, but when I came back from the installation lap the officials decided to weigh me even though there was only about 10 minutes to go, so we didn't really have time to make any changes. Ricardo helped me a lot in the straights when I was following him, by giving me a tow, so that was nice of him. We're not good on high speed here, but the race should be exciting because you can overtake more easily than some other circuits. I've always qualified badly here and done better in the race, so why not on Sunday?"
RICARDO ZONTA -- 1: 45.460 -- 18th "I want to say 'thank you' to my mechanics. They worked really hard to help me today and Friday, and I'm sorry that I am not higher up the grid, for them, as well as me. Still, we are in the race Sunday, and a lot can happen."
MALCOLM OASTLER, Technical Director, British American Racing "We are disappointed with our qualifying performance. Jacques did the best he could in the T-car in the short amount of time he had after his race engine lost power and he had to switch. Ricardo could only put in 27 practice laps this weekend, and although he did not have any particular problems this afternoon, he found it difficult to get the right set-up."