Saturday April 22nd, 2000
Hakkinen Heads Rivals to Qualifying
Again in drenched track conditions, Mika Hakkinen came out on top of the Saturday morning timesheet for McLaren. The Finn expressed himself delighted with his car's wet set-up handling, but surprised that he did not go quicker as the track became less wet. David Coulthard was third fastest, he too having a trouble-free session and happy with his McLaren's wet-weather performance.
Schumacher Still Hakkinen's Main Rival
Despite a spin into the grass, which compelled Michael Schumacher to resort to his pit-lane rev-limiter to find enough traction to re-start, the World Championship points leader got going again to set the second fastest time in the wet. He worked on many small adjustments throughout the session in order to get the set-up to his liking for the changing conditions. Team-mate Rubens Barrichello was also running well in the wet, fourth fastest, but complaining of too much understeer - as he had at Imola.
Ralf Well up for Williams
Ralf Schumacher was well up for the Williams-BMW team, taking the fifth fastest time despite complaining of too much oversteer. Team-mate Jenson Button's free practice ended abruptly when he spun off at Priory corner. He was trying to get his car out of the gravel trap when it was struck by Eddie Irvine's Jaguar, which went off a few seconds later. Neither was hurt.
Impressive Showing by Fisichella
Despite losing much of the session with an engine change after his Benetton developed an oil leak, Giancarlo Fisichella set the sixth fastest time in just 18 laps. Alexander Wurz could not come to terms with the handling of his car and was unable to better 17th place in 33 laps.
Frentzen Happier in the Wet
Quickest when the track was at its wettest, Heinz-Harald Frentzen ended up seventh fastest for Jordan as the rain relented a little. "We have a good wet set-up," he said. "The wetter the better, as far as I am concerned..." Jarno Trulli was ninth quickest, the Italian having a wild and wet ride across the grass at one stage, but with no damage to the other Jordan.
Pedro Diniz damaged the front suspension of his Sauber after he spun off and buried the nose into the tyre barriers.
Eddie Irvine will have no spare car this afternoon. His collision with Button's parked car punched a hole in the monocoque which the team will be unable to replace before tomorrow's race.
BAR continued to use its updated Honda engine today. Steel front lower wishbones have replaced the combination carbon/steel units which failed in testing here last week.
Jean Alesi had a bad morning. He had to walk back in the rain after the engine failed in his Prost...