San Marino Friday practice report

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com The drivers were greeted by a wet track in the first free practice, while in the second free practice the weather cleared and the track dried with each lap leaving a dry racing line. The first free practice ...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com

The drivers were greeted by a wet track in the first free practice, while in the second free practice the weather cleared and the track dried with each lap leaving a dry racing line.

The first free practice spelt disaster for Jos Verstappen in his Arrows when he stopped due to mechanical failure on his first run. Fernando Alonso in his Minardi was struck by the same fate and this left both drivers unable to complete a good part of the session.

Ralf Schumacher and Luciano Burti had a short off-track excursion, but were both fortunate to return to the track with their cars in one piece, I guess much to the relief of their respective pitcrew and team bosses.

Michael Schumacher was out to prove his critics wrong, that he still is the 'Regen Meister' by flying around the wet track in expert fashion, bettering the time with each practice run. Coulthard took up the challenge and improved in the first sector while Schumacher bettered his own fastest time while Coulthard lost it in a corner and spun off. Barrichello however was on a good run and set the fastest time for the first session.

It was Juan-Pablo Montoya's turn to be struck by mechanical failure when his BMW Willilams lost power and he returned back to the Williams pit garage.

The three way battle between Michael and Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello made the other on-track appearances fade into the background. They exchanged positions on the chart quicker than what they can change their visors.

It appeared that Coulthard didn't find his off-track excursion in first free practice very exciting because he sped through Acque Minerali continued straight off the track at high speed and stopped just in time to miss the barriers. Was he imagining himself in his Mercedes road car with the comfort of dual airbags and too late realized he wasn't?

Jacques Villeneuve cannot be a happy man after being out qualified by his team-mate in both sessions while Juan Pablo Montoya had to watch the second session not as a driver, but as a spectator.

The drivers will reflect on this day's sessions and think of where they can improve while their mechanics will work till early hours to have the cars in top condition before the qualifying session.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Mercedes , Williams , Minardi