Friday March 10th, 2000
Hakkinen-Schumacher back into the fight
At the end of the first practice session of the 2000 season McLaren's Mika Hakkinen and Scuderia Ferrari-Marlboro's Michael Schumacher were back where they left off in 2000 fighting for the top spot.
The honours went to Hakkinen, just a couple of tenths faster than Schumacher who coasted to a stop in the pit lane just before the end of the session when his car suffered an electrical problem. Both drivers were happy with their cars, working on basic set-up improvements for the slippery track surface which should improve dramatically as practice continues.
Rubens Barrichello took the third fastest time for Ferrari, equally happy with his car's initial performance as was Hakkinen's teammate David Coulthard, fourth fastest. "We were working through a development programme and didn't get as many laps as we had hoped," said Ron Dennis.
Villeneuve fifth fastest for BAR
Jacques Villeneuve will be happy if he is fifth fastest on Saturday afternoon, the Canadian making the most of the slippery conditions to get his BAR up into fifth place this morning. The team tested different steering wheels and worked on basic set-up, Ricardo Zonta ending his session after 20 laps when he spun off into a gravel trap , 13th fastest for the session.
Ralf well up for Williams
Ralf Schumacher was well up in sixth spot for Williams after just nine laps on the track, the German happy with his car's initial set-up, but side-lined early when an engine oil leak showed up on the car's undertray which the team investigated. Jenson Button took things easy in his first official F1 showing, careful not to get caught out by the slippery conditions.
Frentzen fiddling around
Heinz Harald Frentzen was seventh fastest, the German spending the session playing with set-ups in a bid to find a better handling."He was doing his usual first session fiddling around, but otherwise he is good shape ," said Mike Gascoyne. Jarno Trulli's run of testing bad luck with Jordan continued this morning. He did only one lap before a gearbox oil leak kept him in the garage for the rest of the session.
Arrows still well up After some promising winter testing times the Arrows team backed up that promise with eighth fastest time for Jos Verstappen, his teammate de la Rosa in 16th place.
Irvine took ninth place for Jaguar despite a punctured rear left tyre at one stage , but team-mate Herbert was sidelined after five laps with a probable engine problem which automatically cuts out the ignition system. Another bad day for Prost. They each did only 7 laps, Alesi when he pulled off with an electrical problem and Heidfeld when he spun into a gravel trap.