Monte Carlo, Thursday, May 13, 1999 -- After two sessions of free practice for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, British American Racing stood eighth and ninth today, the team's best result in free practice this season. Mika Salo, filling in...
Monte Carlo, Thursday, May 13, 1999 -- After two sessions of free practice for this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, British American Racing stood eighth and ninth today, the team's best result in free practice this season.
Mika Salo, filling in for the injured Ricardo Zonta, was eighth on the day with a best lap of one minute, 23.793 seconds. Team-mate Jacques Villeneuve was an eyelash behind with a time of 1:23.862 negotiated over the twisty and bumpy 3.328 km track in the streets of the world's wealthiest principality.
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was fastest on the day with a time of 1:22.718 seconds. Mika Hakkinen of McLaren-Mercedes and Oliver Panis of Prost-Peugeot were second and third respectively with times of 1:22.854 and 1:23.318.
Unlike other events on the 16-race FIA Formula One calendar, the two 60-minute free practice sessions run on Thursday at Monaco, because the track reverts to civilian use for market day on Friday. The F1 circus will be idle Friday, and resume with regular qualifying on Saturday prior to Sunday's race.
Sunday's race is the fourth event on the 1999 calendar, and will be followed in two weeks by the Spanish Grand Grix.
Mika Salo -- 8th 1:23.793 "I had no problems with the car today and every run just got better and better. We made big strides to improving reliability during the test in Nogaro last week. My run was trouble-free, which is good as this circuit leaves no room for mistakes. I did find that the new surface on the straights meant they were smoother and I could go faster as it is not so bumpy. I am planning to push 100 percent during qualifying on Saturday."
Jacques Villeneuve -- 9th 1:23.862 "So far this has been our best free practice this season and compared to what I normally achieve at Monaco, this is a positive result. We did some good testing last week in the narrow circuit of Nogaro so the whole team is very hopeful for this weekend. We are still working on the same line of set-ups from qualifying in Imola and from testing in Nogaro and it seems to be the way to go. On this circuit, we need to improve our speed a little bit as we are about a second behind the leaders, but if we can manage that, we should do quite well."
Craig Pollock, Managing Director, British American Racing "Both drivers did a very good job considering it was the first time at this race for British American Racing. Finishing opening day with all four cars intact on such a challenging circuit is extremely important. It is very encouraging to see both Jacques and Mika up there in the top 10. It's proof, once again, that the team is heading in the right direction."