Qualifying in Hockenheim was something of a lottery, and while Jaguar Racing didn't win the jackpot, the team earned a pretty good consolation prize. After languishing near the end of the order in Saturday morning's practice session, Johnny...
Qualifying in Hockenheim was something of a lottery, and while Jaguar Racing didn't win the jackpot, the team earned a pretty good consolation prize. After languishing near the end of the order in Saturday morning's practice session, Johnny Herbert and Eddie Irvine earned eighth and 10th places.
Both men did their laps right at the start of the session, when the entire field went out and the majority of the drivers did their best laps. Three men managed to find little windows of opportunity later on - Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jos Verstappen - but when Johnny and Eddie tried to emulate them, they just missed out. Still, nobody else was able to improve, and their times held good. Eighth marked Johnny's best result of the season to date, his previous best having been 11th.
"It's good to have a change of luck," smiled Johnny. "Even this morning I had problems with water pressure which cost me some preparation time, but the rain arrived at the right time for us during qualifying. Our strategy was the same as everyone else's at the start - go out early, get a lap in the bank, and see what the weather was going to do. It paid off so I'm pleased with the position and looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Eddie Irvine looked a little deflated afterwards, frustrated that his attempts to improve didn't work. But he was well aware that it might have been worse.
"To have two cars in the top 10, we can't complain too much," said Eddie. "It was quite tricky, but I was on a good lap until I caught Marc Gene into the second chicane. I was right behind him into the third chicane, but luckily enough he went straight on - but then he pulled straight in front of me. So I was very slow in the middle section. But like I said, I can't complain."
Twice Eddie went out again, and twice he was just too late - it began to rain again before he completed his quick lap.
"We were just a minute and a half too late. Otherwise I would have improved, as I was half a second up. But everyone's sitting there thinking if only, if only, but we wouldn't have been eighth and tenth in the dry."
Eddie won this race last year, and while a repeat looks a little unlikely on paper, he should at least be a points contender. "Normally in the race you finish where you start, or a little bit better. I'm reasonably optimistic for tomorrow now."