Schumacher and Barrichello take control, while a new wing helps both R2s into the top 10 If Friday Free Practice at San Marino is anything to go by, then the result of the Brazilian GP was just a blip in Ferrari"s charge to another ...
Schumacher and Barrichello take control, while a new wing helps both R2s into the top 10
If Friday Free Practice at San Marino is anything to go by, then the result of the Brazilian GP was just a blip in Ferrari"s charge to another world championship. Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were comfortably the quickest cars at Imola today, ending both sessions in first and second place, with a gap of well over half a second to the chasing pack.
The men in red took it in turn to top the timesheets, with Barrichello ending the damp first session fastest, while the world champion took the honours in the dry afternoon. Times tumbled by over 10 seconds between the two periods of running, and the German"s best time of 1m25.096s was just 0.3s off Mika Hakkinen"s 2000 pole time.
The Finn didn"t enjoy the best of days at Imola, but was third and fourth quickest in the two sessions. The MP4-16 looked a bit of a handful, and the double world champion had a couple of wild moments. Team-mate David Coulthard was in more serious trouble, and took to the gravel in both session, bringing a premature end to his running in the afternoon, which put him back in 11th place.
The "Keep you distance!" Williams drivers had mixed fortunes. Both drivers were off the pace in the wet, taking 14th and 17th positions. However, Ralf Schumacher was a competitive third in the afternoon. In contrast Juan Pablo Montoya missed almost the whole session with a mechanical problem that required an engine change. Once again the BMW-powered cars were comfortably the quickest through the speed traps.
The R2 is working well at Imola
Jaguar Racing had a good day. The team was running with a modified front wing, which together with Michelin"s new tyres seems to have had a positive effect on the balance of the R2. Eddie Irvine was ninth in the wet session, and was fastest at one stage in the dry. But he ended up seventh with a time of 1m26.599s, just over two tenths shy of Hakkinen"s fourth placed McLaren. Luciano Burti took a cautious approach to learning the track in the slippery conditions, but grew in confidence as the day wore on, taking an eventual 10th place.
The BARs were second only to Schumacher"s Williams in terms of top speed and this allowed Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve to set the fifth and eighth best times respectively. Kimi Raikkonen kept up Sauber"s strong start to the season by getting into the top ten in both sessions, easily out-pacing team-mate Nick Heidfeld.
The Jordans of Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen went well in the wet, despite the German performing a quick pirouette as he exited the final corner. However, they dropped back when it dried out, although Trulli was ninth quickest.
Jean Alesi must have received a shock after at the end of the first session when team-mate Gaston Mazzacane finished ahead of him. The French veteran redressed the balance in the afternoon, but despite running in the top 10 for a long while, he had to settle for 14th. Benetton struggled again, with a 17kph deficit to the Williams through the speed traps, it"s not hard to understand why. Arrows had a day to forget, with Jos Verstappen"s car failing on its very first lap both drivers finishing down in 19th and 21st positions.