Irvine surprised by fourth position Massive boost for team as Eddie puts in strong performance Jaguar Racing enjoyed its best day of the 2000 season so far as Eddie Irvine took fourth place after the Thursday practice sessions for the Monaco ...
Irvine surprised by fourth position
Massive boost for team as Eddie puts in strong performance Jaguar Racing enjoyed its best day of the 2000 season so far as Eddie Irvine took fourth place after the Thursday practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix. Of course, it is only Saturday qualifying that really counts, but the performance was genuine - it wasn't achieved by throwing on a new set of tyres - and it gave the team a massive boost.
Eddie has always been quick at Monaco. He's finished on the podium for the past three years and has a better ratio of points per start than any current driver bar four-times winner Michael Schumacher.
After the session Eddie headed back to change on his boat, Anaconda, which is moored just yards from the paddock. For once able to enjoy a few minutes relaxation before the team debriefs and meetings started, he seemed genuinely surprised that he had finished the day so high up the order.
"It was great fun," he admitted. "The car doesn't have a lot of understeer, but it's a little bit loose at the rear as usual. But it's a fun circuit, and you can really get stuck in and play around."
Eddie said that one change to the car in the pits had made it much more driveable. "Initially, the car was incredibly bad. We changed one piece that I thought has been a problem for a while, and immediately it was a big step forward. Then we were able to work on the car properly. It's something we've had on the car all year, except for one race. In testing I've always said I didn't like it, but it was better in one area so we kept it on. We tried it here and it was atrocious. We took it off, and the car was better."
Although today’s times have no bearing on grid position, Monaco is all about gradually upping momentum towards qualifying. If you're not quick on Thursday, or you crash and miss a session, it’s very hard to catch up. Eddie is now well placed to get a good grid position. It won't be easy to get among the McLarens and Ferraris, but Eddie thinks he can get close.
"I think we could make fourth of fifth. We might be able to beat Rubens Barrichello - he’s never been strong here. So hopefully we can get him. But I can't see us getting the other guys. You never know - we might get a real lucky lap or something. But we could also end up 10th."