Schumacher takes over French GP final practice

Ferrari regained the upper hand in the third practice session for the French Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher topping the times early on Saturday morning. Rubens Barrichello was second fastest and they only needed seven laps apiece to keep the ...

Ferrari regained the upper hand in the third practice session for the French Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher topping the times early on Saturday morning. Rubens Barrichello was second fastest and they only needed seven laps apiece to keep the McLarens at bay.

While McLaren continued the form they showed yesterday, Sauber's Felipe Massa picked up the pace to go fifth quickest. The young Brazilian was followed by the Williams duo and Jenson Button, Nick Hedifeld and Olivier Panis rounded off the top ten.

Jaguar's Eddie Irvine was twelfth, he and Panis out-performing team mates Pedro de la Rosa and Jacques Villeneuve who were eighteenth and fifteenth. Jordan put in another solid, if unremarkable, session and Arrows failed to show despite Tom Walkinshaw saying yesterday that they would definitely be on track.

The second practice saw some improvements from Renault with Button and Jarno Trulli in the top six but half way through Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella had a huge crash and the session was red flagged. Running wide over the kerb at Estoril, the Italian lost a front wing and hit the tyre wall at high speed. Fisichella was out of the car and walking but was taken to the medical centre to be checked over, then airlifted to hospital.

It took some time for the tyre wall to be rebuilt before the session could re-start. Arrows finally managed to take to the track in the last ten minutes but it seemed it was only for a shakedown rather than timed laps.

McLaren improved, with Kimi Raikkonen second fastest, David Coulthard third and the Jaguar's picked up into the top eleven. Michael still held the fastest time and Minardi's Alex Yoong was over four seconds off the pace, which does not look good for his qualifying session. Final top six classification: M. Schumacher, Raikkonen, Coulthard, Barrichello, Button, Montoya.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Kimi Raikkonen , Alex Yoong , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan