After a wet morning practice from rain last night, todays first qualifying session in Monza was dry, but the track was a bit green. Qualifying started quietly with Olivier Panis again taking the early lead and staying there until the Ferrari and...
After a wet morning practice from rain last night, todays first qualifying session in Monza was dry, but the track was a bit green. Qualifying started quietly with Olivier Panis again taking the early lead and staying there until the Ferrari and Williams cars appeared. The new Mugen Honda engine in Johnny Herbert's car seems to have brought the car forward in leaps and bounds. He was second behind Panis for a long time.
Barrichello took an early trip across the kerbs in the first chicane and damaged the push rod and the front suspension after just one flying lap. He limped back to the pits and came back out for a couple of laps about 8 minutes from the end of the session to end up in 13th. Irvine did reasonably well and ended up 8th.
There were a lot of spinners in the first chicane including Alesi, Dalmas, Blundell and Brabham.
The main excitement came when both Williams and Ferraris came out onto the circuit at the same time. Alesi took the provisional pole from Panis with Berger second. The crowd were ecstatic, and Hill was in third. Then Hill managed to get ahead of Berger into second, and Coulthard was fourth. Later, on his second set of flying laps Hill took provisional pole from Alesi, but Alesi reclaimed it on his final set of lying laps, going .041 ahead, and knocking another few hundreths off on each of this two subsequent laps.
It looked like ending up with Alesi, Hill, Berger, Coulthard and Herbert in an amazing 5th, but on their final laps, Coulthard moved up to 3rd and Hakkinen up from something like 15th to 5th.
The two Benetton's were virtually forgotten, with Verstrappen in 15th and Lehto in 17th. The only other thing of note is that Martini didn't appear at all in this session, but no word as to why.
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