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2000 French GP News
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French Grand Prix Friday Practice Sessions
Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time just 0.213 seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen. Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6.
It is worth noting that neither Rubens Barrichello nor David Coulthard had set a timed lap this session. Both Jordan drivers didn't set a time either. This is mainly due to the 3 day test session last week at the same circuit.
Both Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen have set times that are already faster than the fastest time set on both Friday test sessions last year.
There were no major incidents during the session apart from David Coulthard suffering from a fuel pressure problem on his installation lap and Jos Verstappen having an engine failure.
The session started with de la Rosa, Alesi and Heidfeld going out on their installation lap. Most other drivers follow in the following minutes. David Coulthard goes around the track very slowly certainly with a problem.
Marc Gene is the first to set a timed lap on the 9th minute with a time of 1:23.099. The best time set here last week during testing was 1:15.553 by Mika Hakkinen.
10 minutes into the session and it is Marc Gene ahead of his teammate Gaston Mazzacane. No other driver has set a time !!
A period of inactivity follows with no drivers on the track. Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello and Heinz Harald Frentzen are the only drivers not to go out on the track so far.
20 minutes into the session and it is still Marc Gene ahead of his teammate Gaston Mazzacane. No other driver has set a time !!
Finally Jean Alesi goes out and sets a fastest time of 1:18.758. He is followed by Nick Heidfeld and Jenson Button. Heidfeld goes fastest.
Order after 30 minutes: Nick Heidfeld, Jean Alesi, Jenson Button, Marc Gene and Gaston Mazzacane.
Pedro Diniz is the next driver to set a time while Michael Schumacher goes out on his installation lap. Several drivers follow.
Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time immediately with a time of 1:16.941 more than a second faster than Heidfeld. More significantly, his time is already faster than the fastest time set here on both Friday sessions last year.
Order after 40 minutes: Michael Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Jean Alesi, Pedro de la Rosa and Jenson Button.
Giancarlo Fisichella sets 4th fastest!
More activity now with 15 drivers having set timed laps. No sign of the McLaren's, the Jaguar's, the Jordan's and Barrichello !!
Mika Hakkinen finally goes out 46 minutes into the session and sets the second fastest time while Eddie Irvine goes out and sets the 4th fastest!
Order after 50 minutes: Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Nick Heidfeld, Eddie Irvine, Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella.
With less than 10 minutes to go, David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli have yet to set a timed lap.
Rubens Barrichello finally goes out while his teammate Michael Schumacher improves his fastest time to 1:16.474. Ricardo Zonta goes into the gravel but recovers.
Final Order: Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella. 18 drivers set a timed lap. David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli did not set timed laps. This is mainly due to the fact that the teams have tested here last week.
Despite running the least number of laps among the top 4 today, David Coulthard managed to set the fastest time on the day ahead of Michael Schumacher and teammate Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello was 4th followed by a surprising Mika Salo and Giancarlo Fisichella.
The top 4 are very close as the gap between 1st and 4th is just over half a second. Mika Salo is just over a second behind while the remainder of the top 10 are over 1.5 seconds behind. The top 5 have set times that are faster than the best time set here on Friday of last year.
BAR was most disappointing today with Villeneuve only 18th fastest almost 3 seconds behind Coulthard while his teammate Ricardo Zonta is sandwiched between the Minardi's in 21st place almost 3.5 seconds behind Coulthard. Arrows were also disappointing in 16th and 19th places.
A lot of drivers did not improve on their times set in the morning session. Most of those who improved didn't actually set a time during the morning session. Mika Salo was an exception though!
The Jordan pair did the least number of laps with Frentzen running only 7 laps and Trulli 9. Coulthard only managed 9 laps too and Barrichello 13. The rest of the field did between 20 and 30 laps each.
The session started with Michael Schumacher the first to leave the pits followed by Jean Alesi and Jos Verstappen. David Coulthard who didn't set a time in the morning session goes out as well.
Michael Schumacher sets a time in the 1:17's not enough to better his best time in the morning. Coulthard returns to the pits while Eddie Irvine goes off into the gravel trap but recovers.
Mika Hakkinen couldn't go faster than his best time set in the morning session either.
David Coulthard returns to the track 10 minutes into the session and sets the fastest time on his first flying lap !!
Order after 10 minutes: David Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Nick Heidfeld, Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.
Soon after Coulthard sets the fastest time he suffers engine problems with smoke coming out of the back of his car. He pits.
16 minutes into the session and Rubens Barrichello finally sets a timed lap and goes into 4th position. Only Frentzen and Trulli have not set timed laps!
Order after 20 minutes: David Coulthard, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher.
The Jordan of Jarno Trulli finally emerges on the track and sets the 5th fastest time 25 minutes into the session.
30 minutes to go and it is David Coulthard ahead of Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli.
Mika Salo sets the 5th fastest time and the first driver other than the top 4 to break the 1:18 mark. Ralf Schumacher spins but recovers.
20 minutes to go and the order is David Coulthard ahead of Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Mika Salo and Jarno Trulli.
With 15 minutes remaining in the session, Heinz Harald Frentzen goes out but returns to the pits without setting a time! while Jacques Villeneuve goes off but recovers.
Michael Schumacher returns to the track but seems to be testing race configuration, his time is in the mid 1:17's.
10 minutes to go and the order is David Coulthard ahead of Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Mika Salo and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Jarno Trulli suffers engine problems just as he was leaving the pit lane while his teammate Heinz Harald Frentzen finally sets a timed lap and moves into 10th position.
David Coulthard returns to the track in the final minute but fails to improve.
Final Order: David Coulthard ahead of Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Mika Salo and Giancarlo Fisichella.