Monza, September 10, 1999 - Jacques Villeneuve turned around a frustrating morning session with a crisp driving performance in the afternoon and sits seventh after today's free practice for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix. When the Canadian finally...
Monza, September 10, 1999 - Jacques Villeneuve turned around a frustrating morning session with a crisp driving performance in the afternoon and sits seventh after today's free practice for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
When the Canadian finally left the pits half way through the afternoon session, he was immediately on the pace, and reported good handling. Villeneuve managed to set his time of one minute, 25.307 seconds after only 22 laps of the 3.585 mile/5.770 km circuit, following a curtailed morning session which saw him stranded in mid-circuit with clutch failure. That time was just under three seconds faster than his best morning run of 1:28.038.
It was another story for Ricardo Zonta (1:26.181) who was in 19th position after struggling with the brakes and handling of his car, unable to find a comfortable set-up. In spite of their relative positions, the two British American Racing drivers are separated by just under a second, so close were the current lap times.
Ralf Schumacher (Williams) turned in the day's best time of 1:24.507, with team-mate Alex Zanardi (1:24.823) in third, sandwiched around Prost's Jarno Trulli (1:24.692). Current World Champion Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) was sixth on the day with a time of 1:25.103, set in the morning session. A major surprise for the tifosi who turned out in huge numbers on what is considered a home track for Ferrari: Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo could do no better than 16th and 17th place respectively, with times of 1:25.897 and 1:25.931, both set in the morning session.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - 1:25.307 - 7th "Today was a bit of a waste as I only got half the available track time to practice. Luckily I have good engineers so we were starting from good base settings using the work we've done at other similar circuits. I did a good quick lap right at the end of the afternoon, so in spite of the lack of work today we are looking OK, but with more time to work on the settings we could have been much quicker."
RICARDO ZONTA - 1:26.181 - 19th "This morning the rear of the car was very nervous under braking, and also under acceleration on the exits to the corners, plus the brakes were overheating, so it was difficult to start with. This afternoon we made some changes which probably went a little too far the other way, because that gave me too much understeer. I think for Saturday we will go back a little on this afternoon's settings, and then I am sure I will be able to move closer to Jacques."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Chairman & CEO, British American Racing "It was a fantastic turnaround from this morning for both the team and Jacques. He had only an hour's track time and yet was able to post a fairly good opening time. Too bad for Ricardo who hasn't yet found a good set-up, but once he does he should be able to move up closer to Jacques. We are all hoping for a trouble-free Saturday."