San Marino Grand Prix, Imola Free practice, April 13, 2001 The Ferraris of world championship leader Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello dominated the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix, fourth round of this year's Formula 1 world ...
San Marino Grand Prix, Imola
Free practice, April 13, 2001
The Ferraris of world championship leader Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello dominated the opening day of the San Marino Grand Prix, fourth round of this year's Formula 1 world championship. Brazilian Barrichello was fastest in the first part of the two-hour session, when the track was wet, but Schumacher - who is chasing his third consecutive win at this event - had the edge once the track dried.
It was an encouraging day for Michelin, which has very little previous experience at the Italian track. Ralf Schumacher (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was third and Eddie Irvine (Jaguar) was seventh. Irvine's team-mate Luciano Burti, an F1 rookie, also acclimatised well. He set 10th fastest time, just ahead of Brazilian GP winner David Coulthard's McLaren.
Juan Pablo Montoya didn't fare quite so well in the second Williams. He failed to complete a flying lap when the track was dry, because of an engine problem, and was only 22nd fastest. The Colombian has previously competed at Imola, however, when he was competing in the FIA F3000 Championship. It is the first time he has raced in F1 at a track he knows.
Jean Alesi (Prost-Acer, 14th), Giancarlo Fisichella (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport, 15th), Gaston Mazzacane (Prost-Acer, 16th), Jenson Button (Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport, 17th), Fernando Alonso (European Minardi, 18th) and Tarso Marques (European Minardi, 20th) completed the Michelin runners.
Fisichella survived a spin when the track was still wet, while Alonso missed vital track time in the morning because his car stopped out on the track.
MICHELIN'S RACE :
Pierre Dupasquier (Motorsport Director) :
"With the first practice session of the weekend starting in the wet and finishing in the dry, conditions were certainly changeable. In the first part of the session our tyres worked just as they have in the past, which is to say very effectively in such circumstances. Eddie Irvine proved as much by holding third place for a long time. On the other hand, however, the changes we have made to our intermediate tyres didn't appear to suit the conditions as the track dried at the end of the morning. The tyres were a little bit too stiff, and we lacked grip."
"In the dry, we were very happy to find ourselves in a position similar to that we achieved during the previous flyaway races. The technical modifications we tried during last week's tests have borne fruit and the progress we have made this weekend confirms as much. It seems as though we are pretty competitive. That's important, because we weren't sure whether we would be able to repeat our form of the opening races when we reached this first grand prix of the season in Europe."