Thursday First Free Practice - Monaco GP

Thursday May 13th, 1999

Ferrari set the pace in Monaco

Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher set the pace for the Scuderia Ferrari team in Monaco on Thursday morning, the opening free practice session for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix. Irvine ended up almost 0.6sec quicker than teammate Schumacher who lost a lot of time at the beginning of the session when he slid wide and damaged a front right suspension pick-up point after brushing the barriers. "The car felt pretty good right out of the box. I only made small adjustments throughout the session, but the car got quicker all the time mainly as the dust came off the track," explained Irvine.

Schumacher was also happy with his car despite his early incident, both Ferraris running a new rear wing and other aerodynamic modifications for this high-downforce track. They were also equipped with a new steering wheel with bigger digital display showing more parameters.

Hill third fastest for Jordan

Damon Hill was well up for the Jordan team setting the third fastest time just behind the Ferraris. ""It's good to have a car that has good mechanical grip here," said Hill. Heinz-Harald Frentzen ended up back in seventh place when he slid straight on at Portier corner because of excessive understeer. He stopped short of the barriers, but because the marshals pushed him backwards allowing him to continue the lap he was kept in the pits for the rest of the session for having received outside assistance.

Barrichello going well for Stewart-Ford

Rubens Barrichello put his Stewart for in te top six places again when he took the fourth fastest time for the Stewart team. Johnny Herbert was back in eighth place, both drivers complaining of a lack of grip from the "green" track which was the usual complaint of most of the drivers on the first day of practice around Monaco's street circuit."I cannot believe how much my car is under-steering here," said Herbert.

Zanardi going well in Monaco

Alex Zanardi and the Williams-Supertec were at home around the Monaco track, the Italian driver setting an impressive fifth fastest time. However, his teammate Ralf Schumacher was at the bottom end of the time sheets this morning after the German parked his Williams at Mirabeau when the engine blew coming out of Casino.

Sauber complain of understeer

Although Jean Alesi managed the sixth fastest time of the session he was unhappy with his car's understeer problem this morning, his teammate Pedro Diniz similarly unhappy back in 12th place.

In brief....

The McLaren drivers were well down in 11th and 14th places this morning, both of them deciding to use the session trying different set-ups and tyres instead of going for a quick time. "It's a question of when you go about your homework at this track. Either the first session or later in the weekend," said a team spokesman.

The Prost drivers both complained of understeer, Trulli taking tenth fastest despite a long stop to repair a damaged half shaft. Panis did not better 16th spot.

Both Benettons were running new front and rear wings and suspension for this race, Fisichella taking ninth fastest time , while Wurz was 13th after being delayed by gearbox trouble.

The BAR team could not better 15th and 18th position this morning, both Mika Salo (15th) and Jacques Villeneuve complaining of poor traction at this track.

Pos  Driver        Team                 Time                   
 1.  Irvine        Ferrari              1:24.627   143.231 Kmph
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari              1:25.224   +    0.597  
 3.  Hill          Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:25.400   +    0.773  
 4.  Barrichello   Stewart Ford         1:25.442   +    0.815  
 5.  Zanardi       Williams Supertec    1:25.748   +    1.121  
 6.  Alesi         Sauber Petronas      1:26.093   +    1.466  
 7.  Frentzen      Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:26.336   +    1.709  
 8.  Herbert       Stewart Ford         1:26.379   +    1.752  
 9.  Fisichella    Benetton Playlife    1:26.542   +    1.915  
10.  Trulli        Prost Peugeot        1:26.614   +    1.987  
11.  Hakkinen      Mclaren Mercedes     1:26.711   +    2.084  
12.  Diniz         Sauber Petronas      1:26.900   +    2.273  
13.  Wurz          Benetton Playlife    1:27.028   +    2.401  
14.  Coulthard     Mclaren Mercedes     1:27.244   +    2.617  
15.  Panis         Prost Peugeot        1:27.496   +    2.869  
16.  Takagi        Arrows TWR           1:27.618   +    2.991  
17.  Villeneuve    BAR Supertec         1:28.094   +    3.467  
18.  Salo          BAR Supertec         1:29.136   +    4.509  
19.  Badoer        Minardi Ford         1:29.310   +    4.683  
20.  De La Rosa    Arrows TWR           1:30.596   +    5.969  
21.  Gene          Minardi Ford         1:32.129   +    7.502  
22.  R.Schumacher  Williams Supertec    1:34.265   +    9.638  

Weather: Dry, Sunny
All timing unofficial

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