Sunday October 8th, 2000
World championship leader Michael Schumacher was fastest for Ferrari in Sunday morning's warm-up for the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old German, who needs to win or score two more points than rival and defending champion Mika Hakkinen of Finland to clinch his third world title and Ferrari's first drivers' crown for 21 years, took control from the start.
On an overcast and cool morning, with rain threatening, the drivers were requested to run with their rear lights on as Schumacher began his domination of the half-hour session.
Schumacher clocked a best time of one minute and 38.005 seconds to outpace Hakkinen, who must win or finish ahead of Schumacher to keep his hopes of a third successive world title alive, by 0.5 seconds.
Hakkinen, in his McLaren, was second-fastest in 1:38.526 with Brazilian Rubens Barrichello third for Ferrari ahead of Briton David Coulthard in the second McLaren.
Briton Jenson Button was fifth fastest in a Williams with Italian Jarno Trulli sixth for Jordan.
Schumacher's performance, and the weather conditions which many observers have predicted will lead to rain, boosted expectations of the 1994 and 1995 world champion taking his third title.
The German starts on pole position and if he wins he will be the first driver to take the drivers' title for Ferrari since South African Jody Scheckter in 1979.
Pos Driver Team Times
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari 1:38.005 215.401 km/h
2. Hakkinen McLaren Mercedes 1:38.526 + 0.521
3. Barrichello Ferrari 1:38.758 + 0.753
4. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes 1:38.820 + 0.815
5. Button Williams BMW 1:39.620 + 1.615
6. Trulli Jordan Mugen-Honda 1:39.626 + 1.621
7. R.Schumacher Williams BMW 1:39.844 + 1.839
8. Villeneuve BAR Honda 1:39.957 + 1.952
9. Salo Sauber Petronas 1:40.053 + 2.048
10. Diniz Sauber Petronas 1:40.089 + 2.084
11. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth 1:40.171 + 2.166
12. Fisichella Benetton Playlife 1:40.201 + 2.196
13. Verstappen Arrows Supertec 1:40.264 + 2.259
14. Herbert Jaguar Cosworth 1:40.330 + 2.325
15. Alesi Prost Peugeot 1:40.332 + 2.327
16. Zonta BAR Honda 1:40.341 + 2.336
17. Wurz Benetton Playlife 1:40.646 + 2.641
18. de la Rosa Arrows Supertec 1:40.651 + 2.646
19. Frentzen Jordan Mugen-Honda 1:40.835 + 2.830
20. Heidfeld Prost Peugeot 1:41.231 + 3.226
21. Gene Minardi Fondmetal 1:41.272 + 3.267
22. Mazzacane Minardi Fondmetal 1:42.110 + 4.105
All timing unofficial