Atlas F1 News Service

Friday First Free Practice - Japanese GP

Friday October 6th, 2000

Schumacher quickest, Barrichello goes off

Michael Schumacher's bid for the 2000 title in Japan started well with the quickest time of the first session, only a second off last year's pole. The German only made a couple of small adjustments to his Ferrari after starting with the set-up he had established during his Mugello test last week. He was quite happy with his car, which was running a new front wing, revised from the one tried in Belgium. Rubens Barrichello took the fourth fastest time; the Brazilian's session cut short on his quick lap when he spun under braking for the hairpin and ended up stuck in a gravel trap. Other than his minor off, he too was happy with the way his session had gone.

McLaren filling in Ferrari sandwich

The two McLarens were sandwiched between the two Ferraris, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard having a trouble free session where they carried out routine brake and chassis checks. Hakkinen was four-tenths of a second slower than Schumacher, but said later that the yellow flag for Barrichello's incident had spoiled his quick lap. Coulthard was a further 7/10ths of a second outside his teammate's time, but had not tried for a quick lap.

Ralf best of the rest

Ralf Schumacher was happy with his fifth fastest time after working through his planned program in nine laps and then stopping early to save his Williams-BMW's tyres and make adjustments to the rear end of his car which he found a bit too soft causing the car to bottom out at some points. Jenson Button was learning the track running 17 laps for the session, impressed with what he found and happy with his car but for a bit too much understeer in the slow corners. Even so, he was an impressive 12th fastest.

Fisichella takes a walk

Giancarlo Fisichella's lap of the track on foot on Thursday for the first time seemed to have helped his lap times, the Italian sixth fastest this morning despite understeer problems at the hairpin. Teammate Wurz was back at the end of the field when an engine problem on his first lap saw the team start an engine change half way into the session.

In brief...

Frentzen, seventh quickest for Jordan was happier at the end of the session after eliminating too much understeer. Trulli was back in ninth spot complaining about his car bottoming too much. Irvine was complaining that his Jaguar was badly balanced in the fast second sector. Herbert also complained of the rear end being too 'loose' for his liking. Villeneuve had a spin which left his BAR's radiators full of grass. Alesi was happier with his Prost on this quick circuit. He was 11th quickest, showing Heidfeld the right lines for the first couple of laps out of the pits as the young German learned his way around to set 15th fastest time. Mazzacane stopped on the track when his Minardi's engine cut out with an electrical problem. Diniz (17th) and Salo (19th) both complained of a lack of grip and understeer from their Saubers.

Pos  Driver         Team                 Times                 
 1.  M.Schumacher   Ferrari              1:38.474  214.375 km/h
 2.  Hakkinen       McLaren Mercedes     1:38.893   +  0.419
 3.  Coulthard      McLaren Mercedes     1:39.669   +  1.195
 4.  Barrichello    Ferrari              1:40.000   +  1.526
 5.  R.Schumacher   Williams BMW         1:40.429   +  1.955
 6.  Fisichella     Benetton Playlife    1:40.699   +  2.225
 7.  Frentzen       Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:40.756   +  2.282
 8.  Irvine         Jaguar Cosworth      1:41.054   +  2.580
 9.  Trulli         Jordan Mugen-Honda   1:41.426   +  2.952
10.  Villeneuve     BAR Honda            1:41.481   +  3.007
11.  Alesi          Prost Peugeot        1:41.651   +  3.177
12.  Button         Williams BMW         1:41.730   +  3.256
13.  Herbert        Jaguar Cosworth      1:41.929   +  3.455
14.  Verstappen     Arrows Supertec      1:41.972   +  3.498
15.  Heidfeld       Prost Peugeot        1:42.024   +  3.550
16.  Zonta          BAR Honda            1:42.036   +  3.562
17.  Diniz          Sauber Petronas      1:42.086   +  3.612
18.  de la Rosa     Arrows Supertec      1:42.141   +  3.667
19.  Salo           Sauber Petronas      1:42.844   +  4.370
20.  Gene           Minardi Fondmetal    1:43.836   +  5.362
21.  Mazzacane      Minardi Fondmetal    1:45.238   +  6.764
22.  Wurz           Benetton Playlife    1:51.492   + 13.018

All timing unofficial

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