Thursday First Free Practice - Monaco GP
Thursday June 1st, 2000
World championship leader Michael Schumacher topped the times at the end of Thursday morning's first hour of free practice for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old German, driving a Ferrari, clocked a best time of one minute and 23.039 seconds to outpace his nearest rival, defending world champion Finn Mika Hakkinen, in a McLaren, by three-tenths of a second.
On a dry, warm and sunny day in the Mediterranean principality, the most noteworthy early performance came from 20-year-old Briton Jenson Button in a Williams.
Making his first appearance at the winding, technical and demanding street circuit, Button wound up eighth-fastest and could have done even better if he had not been slowed on his best lap by Frenchman Jean Alesi, in a Prost, suffering a gearbox problem.
Alesi, one of the most experienced men in the sport, pulled up in the swimming pool complex without suffering anything like the spectacular damage that Gaston Mazzacane did in his Minardi when he spun into the barriers and lost his front right wheel.
Briton David Coulthard was third fastest in the second McLaren ahead of Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in a Benetton.