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2000 Italian GP News
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Italian Grand Prix Saturday Practice and Qualifying
Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time this session ahead of a much improved Jenson Button and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello was 4th ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella. Villeneuve was 7th followed by Hakkinen in 8th.
These times start to give a true indication of the pace of the cars as all the teams start to fine tune their setups. Hakkinen still does not appear to have found a good setup as he is over a second off the pace in 8th. There is another practice session to go before the qualifying and an even clearer picture will emerge.
1 second separates the top 7 and 2 seconds separate the top 17. The times are close and will probably get even closer.
Alexander Wurz had yet another unlucky session as he ran into a problem on his first lap out!. Frentzen only managed 18th fastest as he went off at Parabolica and damaged his car while his team-mate Trulli didn't set a timed lap as his car was checked following Frentzen's spin.
Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time again this session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button make the top 6.
Michael Schumacher was the only driver to go under the 1:24 mark. His time is over 0.2 seconds ahead of Hakkinen who seemed to have improved significantly since the 1st session!. The Williams pair are most impressive with Ralf Schumacher in 5th and his team-mate Jenson Button is in 6th. Benetton have mixed fortunes with Fisichella also impressive in 7th but Wurz did not set a single timed lap today after his car suffered problems in both sessions!. Drama for Jordan as well with Trulli just managing to do a couple of laps and settling in 12th while Frentzen did not set a fast time in the second session and is in 19th.
Apart from Benetton and Jordan, most other teams have both cars fairly close to each other on this track. Ferrari (1&3), McLaren (2&4), Williams (5&6), BAR (8&9), Sauber (11&14), Prost (13&15), Arrows (17&18) and Minardi (20&21). Only Jaguar has Irvine in 10th while Herbert is in 16th.
1 second separates the top 9 and 2 seconds separate the top 18. Qualifying will be very close!
Michael Schumacher grabs his 6th pole position of the season giving him the boost he needed to attempt to regain the lead in the drivers championship in tomorrow race. Rubens Barrichello is second just 0.027 seconds behind. Mika Hakkinen is in 3rd while an impressive Jacques Villeneuve managed to get into the top 4 ahead of David Coulthard. Jarno Trulli makes the top 6.
This result was certainly not expected as it was thought that it would be Ferrari that would struggle while McLaren would dominate. It turned out to be almost exactly the opposite with a Ferrari 1 -2 and Mika Hakkinen just under 0.2 seconds behind while Coulthard is half a second off the pace. Ferrari appear to have done a lot of work in the past 2 weeks to improve the car and they have reaped the rewards.
The Williams didn't qualify too well with Ralf Schumacher in 7th and Button in 12th. Frentzen managed to recover from the problems he had earlier and qualified 8th while Fisichella managed 9th ahead of the Arrows pair of de la Rosa and Verstappen.
Both Jaguar and Sauber didn't qualify well while the backend was occupied by the 2 Prosts and the 2 Minardis.
1 second separates the top 7 and 2 seconds separate the top 20!
With both Hakkinen and Villeneuve known to have spectacular starts and with the modified first chicane causing concern by the drivers, the start could be very interesting.