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|1999 Canadian GP News|
Following the closer than expected pace of the Ferrari's in Spain to the McLaren's, it will be hard to predict which team will be dominant. In Spain although the pace was close, the Ferrari's used the softer compound tyres while McLaren used the harder compound. This usually indicates a few fractions of a second difference per lap but Ferrari where already claiming that Spain was their worst circuit and that they will not perform.
Testing occurred at 3 venues, at Silverstone where McLaren, Jordan, Benetton, Stewart, Arrows and BAR tested, David Coulthard was dominant, he set the fastest time in 2 of the 3 days and was more than 1 second faster than anyone. All other teams were close. At Monza where Williams, Sauber and Prost tested, Ralf Schumacher was dominant on 2 of the 3 days in sharp contrast to Alex Zanardi who was slowest on 2 of the 3 day. At Fiorano, Eddie Irvine tested on the Ferrari private track where Irvine set the fastest time this year at the circuit.
Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher are both favourites, both didn't test last week and left the testing duties to the their team-mate's most probably to adjust to the time difference in Canada. Both are favourites and depending on the qualifying and race strategy, one of them will be the winner.
David Coulthard could surprise everyone by winning here, he secured Pole position here and retired due to car failure while leading, he was also unlucky not to win the 97' race so this year could be the year he wins but it will have to be ahead of Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher.
Eddie Irvine could also perform well and with all the rumours about his future, he will be certainly wanting to prove how good he is. He also seems to be more confident after several good results this year. A podium finish is very possible.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen will do well in the Jordan and if the Jordan does prove reliable, expect a podium finish from Frentzen.
Rubens Barrichello's pace was surprisingly slow in Spain and I would expect Stewart to bounce back. A strong result is very possible, that is if the Stewart is reliable enough.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz are both good but the car is not fast but very reliable. They will qualify beyond the top 10 and will struggle with the Benetton. I don't expect either to finish in the points unless a lot of the top runners retire.
Jacques Villeneuve, driving on his home circuit will need to finish in the BAR, the impressive performance of Villeneuve in Spain clearly shows that if reliability holds, Villeneuve will most probably be able to finish in the points. Jacques will most probably qualify in the top 6 and the highest of the Supertec runners, he has done that in the last 3 races. The other good news for BAR is that Ricardo Zonta is back from injury and will want to show what he can do after a long absence.
Other drivers with a potential to do well are Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, both had good test times last week.
Stay tuned for all the times and results here.
Eddie Irvine clocks the fastest time in today's practice sessions ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ricardo Zonta make the top 6.
It was a very interesting 2 sessions where once again we are surprised to see Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard topping the times with .08 seconds between them. Michael Schumacher was .7 seconds slower than Irvine and Hakkinen had a bad session and only managed 7th almost 1.5 seconds slower than Irvine.
A few surprises in the top 6 with Jean Alesi yet again clocking a very fast time in stark contrast to his team-mate Diniz who was 22nd and last !!. Fisichella clocked a very good time as well and it appears that the Benetton is very sensitive to the type of track as it either performs very well or very bad. The biggest surprise is Ricardo Zonta who not only clocked a faster time than his team-mate Jacques Villeneuve but given that he was out of action for the last 4 races with an injury and only managed to test a few laps last week, this is a very impressive showing and Zonta certainly is determined to get back into the action.
The Jordan's and Stewart's continue their backward slide as Frentzen manages 8th while Hill 14th. Barrichello was 10th while Herbert 16th. Worst of all was Williams who appear to be struggling at this circuit with Ralf Schumacher in 12th and Alex Zanardi way back in 18th slower than Luca Badoer in a Minardi !!
One very interesting point is that the field is closer than anytime before this season with just over 1.5 seconds separating 3rd place Michael Schumacher (1.21.276) and 15th place Olivier Panis (1.22.892).
And out of the entire field, only Eddie Irvine managed a time faster than his own time last year in Canada, David Coulthard was slightly slower, Michael Schumacher was over 1 second slower and Hakkinen was more than 2 seconds slower than last year !!
Surely qualifying will produce some different results but the order might not change significantly.
Michael Schumacher grabs his first pole position of the season just ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Eddie Irvine. David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz-Harald Frentzen make the top 6.
The qualifying session was dominated by Ferrari for most of the time but Hakkinen as usual improved his time to split the Ferrari's and almost grab pole. He was 0.029 seconds slower than Michael's time.
It was a return to top form by Stewart's Rubens Barrichello and Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen as they secured 5th and 6th positions. Both far better than their team-mate's, Herbert in 10th and Hill back in 14th. Good results also from Fisichella who managed 7th (team-mate Wurz in 10th), Alesi in 8th (team-mate Diniz in 18th) and Trulli in 9th (team-mate Panis in 15th). It was a bad qualifying session for the BAR team who looked very impressive yesterday with Villeneuve in 16th place and Zonta in 17th position.
Alex Zanardi has for the first time outqualified his team-mate Ralf Schumacher at Williams but this was mainly due to Ralf's accident on his first fast lap and in his spare car he collides with Zonta !!. Ralf only then manages 2 flying laps and clocks a time 0.005 seconds slower than Alex Zanardi.
So for the first time this season, Michael Schumacher grabs pole position in A Ferrari that is fitted with a new engine that is claimed to be 15kgs lighter. Ferrari have not confirmed if this engine will be used in the race.
A quick comparison with last year's time shows most drivers clocked times around 1 second slower. However, Eddie Irvine and Ruben Barrichello are the only two who were actually faster. Irvine was almost 0.2 seconds faster while Barrichello was 0.02 seconds faster. Barrichello's car is certainly an much improved car than last year's, but why would Irvine's time be quicker while Michael Schumacher's time 0.8 seconds slower. Irvine trying harder this year perhaps ?
The weather was sunny and very hot and is expected to stay that way for the race tomorrow, it should he a very interesting race !!
Mika Hakkinen wins the Canadian GP ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella and Eddie Irvine. Ralf Schumacher, Johnny Herbert and Pedro Diniz make the top 6.
It was the first race in Formula 1 history that the race finishes under a safety car and it also had one of the most safety car occurrences (4 safety car conditions).
The race started with Michael Schumacher in the lead
followed by Hakkinen then Irvine and Fisichella. Coulthard lost a place and Frentzen
6th. At the first corner, Trulli slides on the grass and slides into Jean Alesi and Rubens
Barrichello. All three retire (Barrichello retires later on) and the safety car comes in
to clear the debris.
On lap 15, Damon Hill hits the wall and on lap 30 Michael Schumacher slams into the wall while in the lead. This gave Hakkinen the lead (he was around 3 seconds behind) and on lap 35 Villeneuve slams into the wall and retires limping. This causes another safety car condition to clear Villeneuve's car and when the race resumed, Coulthard attempted to pass Irvine, they touch and both drop back to the end of the field. Irvine's car appears be fine but Coulthard pits for a general check and returns to the track but with a lot of time to make up.
Following all these incidents, the race order was Hakkinen, Frentzen, Fisichella, R Schumacher, Herbert and Diniz but Irvine made a huge effort to get back in the points and drove on the edge passing Diniz, Herbert and Ralf Schumacher to grab 4th place. Just a few laps from the end, Frentzen suffering brake problems lost it and slammed into the tyre barrier, he couldn't get out of his car and the safety car came in and remained until the race finished. Frentzen appeared to be fine with possible bruises to his leg.
This result has given Hakkinen the lead in the World Championship with a 4 point advantage over Michael Schumacher as we head to the French GP in 2 weeks time.