Italian GP McLaren Saturday notes

West McLaren Mercedes drivers David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from sixth and seventh positions after setting times of 1:23.148 and 1:23.394 respectively. Mika crashed on his last timed lap at the second...

West McLaren Mercedes drivers David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from sixth and seventh positions after setting times of 1:23.148 and 1:23.394 respectively. Mika crashed on his last timed lap at the second Lesmo corner incurring substantial damage to the front and the left side of his car. His accident caused the session to be stopped for 13 minutes.

Due to the track being wet neither Mika nor David went out in the first practice session this morning. When the second session started 30 minutes later, the circuit surface had dried sufficiently to make running worthwhile. David ended up fifth fastest with a time of 1:23.873 and completed 17 laps whilst Mika was eighth with 1:24.263 and he did 18 laps.

David Coulthard
'We were struggling today but to be honest we were expecting it as Hockenheim had proved that this sort of circuit layout doesn't suit us. I think the car was capable of a slightly better time if the confidence had been there. However its difficult to attack a corner if you don't know whether you are going to have a little bit of oversteer or a little bit of understeer. The overall balance was not too bad but getting the overall grip and the confidence to go fast was another matter. As always I aim to go for victory but it will be difficult. I think we can be better tomorrow but we will have to wait and see if it's enough. However it's not over until the chequered flag.'

Mika Hakkinen
'On my last timed lap I ran wide and the rear tyre went on to the gravel. The car went sideways and I just couldn't recover. I thought that if I lifted it would be worse so I just kept my foot down, but the car snapped before I managed to get it back on the circuit and I went into the barrier. I'm fine but a bit shaken. However I'm going to put it to the back of my mind and continue working. As is obvious from looking at the times all is not well as we are far away from the pole position time. However we will stay positive and work hard to find a solution for tomorrow.'

Ron Dennis
'Monza is a high speed low downforce circuit which in qualifying places greater emphasis on the engine and chassis dynamics. We didn't get it right today but in the race with higher fuel loads we anticipate being more competitive.'

Norbert Haug
'We knew that we would have a difficult qualifying, but we have achieved good results from worse grid positions before.'

Chassis
Coulthard: MP4-16/07
Hakkinen: MP4-16/06
Spare (Coulthard) MP4-16/05
Spare MP4-16/04

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Norbert Haug
Teams Mercedes , McLaren