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2000 Spanish GP News
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Spanish Grand Prix Saturday Practice and Qualifying
David Coulthard sets the fastest time in the first practice session for today ahead of team-mate Mika Hakkinen and Ralf Schumacher. Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6.
The session started with all cars going out on their installation laps. Gaston Mazzacane was the first to set a timed lap followed by Nick Heidfeld and Jean Alesi. 15 minutes into the session and Michael Schumacher goes fastest with a 1:22.230 just 0.5 seconds faster than the Arrows duo of Verstappen and de la Rosa. With 30 minutes into the session, all drivers have set a timed lap, the top 6 were David Coulthard, Michael and Ralf Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Giancarlo Fisichella and Heinz Harald Frentzen. Hakkinen was 9th and Barrichello was 12th.
With less than 5 minutes to go, David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen on fresh tyres set times under the 1:22 mark for today, they were quickly followed by Ralf Schumacher. Several other drivers go out in the dying minutes of the session but do not improve.
There were no major incidents during this session apart from a suspension problem on Johnny Herbert's car.
Several drivers failed to improve on their times set yesterday including both Ferrari's, both Jaguar's and Jarno Trulli. Another interesting point was that Pedro de la Rosa and Jos Verstappen who are team-mates at Arrows have set identical times of 1:22.711. Tom Walkinshaw's comments about wanting his drivers to push each other must be working !!
Michael Schumacher recaptures top spot during this session ahead of David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello. Mika Hakkinen, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli make the top 6.
With just 5 minutes into the session and Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time almost 0.2 seconds faster than that set by Coulthard during the first session. The following 10 minutes saw both Jarno Trulli and Heinz Harald Frentzen improve and so did Rubens Barrichello who sets the 3rd fastest time 15 minutes into the session. Several drivers go out in the following 15 minutes but appear to be testing old tyres and heavy fuel loads.
The final 15 minutes of the session became a bit more exciting with several drivers out, however very few managed to set faster times including the Jaguar pair of Irvine and Herbert and Jenson Button.
Several drivers do not improve on their time set during the first session including both McLaren's, Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve.
Less than 1 second separates the top 6 and less than 2 seconds separate the top 19 !, qualifying will be interesting.
Michael Schumacher grabs his first pole position of the year just ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. David Coulthard was 4th ahead of an impressive Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve.
Jean Alesi was the first to go out only 1 minute into the session and sets a time of 1:23.516. Soon after, Heinz Harald Frentzen goes surprisingly early and grabs provisional pole with a time of 1:22.475. With 12 minutes into the session and Jacques Villeneuve takes provisional pole with a time of 1:22.322. 2 minutes later Ralf Schumacher takes first only to be displaced a minute later by Rubens Barrichello with a time of 1:21.770 which was 0.05 seconds faster than Ralf Schumacher. With 15 minutes into the session, it was Rubens Barrichello from Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.
18 minutes into the session and Mika Hakkinen grabs provisional pole with a time of 1:21.367, 0.4 seconds faster than Barrichello. Michael Schumacher attempts to better Hakkinen's time but only manages 2nd with a time of 1:21.438. Meanwhile David Coulthard experiences a fuel pressure problem with his car and the mechanics work hard to fix the problem.
30 minutes into the session and it is Mika Hakkinen from Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Heinz Harald Frentzen round up the top 6.
A few minutes later, David Coulthard sets 3rd fastest time on his first real run after his car was fixed. With 20 minutes to go, Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time and grabs provisional pole with a time of 1:20.974, moments later Nick Heidfeld suffers a blown engine and Rubens Barrichello moves into 3rd position, 0.44 seconds behind Michael Schumacher.
With 15 minutes to go, both Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard improve their times but not their positions remaining 2nd and 4th respectively. With less than 5 minutes left, Jacques Villeneuve improves to 6th.
In the final minute, all the drivers with laps remaining go out but none manage to gain position although Mika Hakkinen managed to get closer to Michael. In the end he was 0.078 seconds slower.
So the top 6 were Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve.
Several drivers set times that were slower that those set during practice including Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.
The biggest gap between team-mates was that between Jacques Villeneuve in 6th and Ricardo Zonta in 17th with a gap of 0.9 seconds. Next is Ralf Schumacher in 5ht and Jenson Button in 11th with a gap of 0.78. Close behind is Marc Gene in 21st and Gaston Mazzacane in 22nd with a gap of 0.771 seconds.
This is the first time this season that Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR powered Honda has managed to outqualify both Jordan's which are powered by Mugen Honda units.
1 second separates the top 6 and 2 seconds separates the top 18 !. The start and pit stops will be crucial at Spain.
Pedro de la Rosa was stripped of his 9th place due to a fuel infringement. Arrows have appealed and he will start from 9th place under appeal. The appeal will be heard after the race.