Thursday August 23rd, 2001
Despite suffering the second heavy shunt while testing this season, World Champion Michael Schumacher dominated today's session at the Mugello circuit, where five Formula One teams are preparing for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
Schumacher, who was driving for the first time since he clinched the title at the Hungarian Grand Prix last Sunday, completed 87 laps around the Italian track before his Ferrari suffered a mechanical failure near the end of the day and crashed heavily against the tyre barriers.
Despite the accident, the German, who took over from teammate Rubens Barrichello, was nearly a second quicker than Italian Jarno Trulli with the first of the Jordans. Teammate Jean Alesi was third quickest some two tenths behind Trulli, who announced today he will be driving for the Benetton team in 2002. The Silverstone-based team will not test on Friday.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen replaced teammate Nick Heidfeld at the wheel of the Sauber, as the Swiss team continued with the development of their C20. The young driver completed 71 laps to set the fifth quickest time of the day.
"We got through a lot of useful work today, but I was having some problems with the brakes which led to my spin this afternoon," said Raikkonen. "I locked up the rear wheels under braking and went off the road, but there was no damage just a lot of dirt over the car which took a while to clean up.
"I also lost time when the track was closed after Michael Schumacher spun, but overall, it's been a positive day and I'm ready for Spa."
The British American Racing team worked with three drivers today, with Frenchman Olivier Panis joining the session and setting the fastest time of the trio. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve was sixth quickest, while British Formula Three star Takuma Sato finished in seventh place more than a second behind the Canadian driver.
Malaysian Alex Yoong continued working towards acquiring his superlicence in order to make his Grand Prix debut with the Minardi team. The Malaysian had some problems in the morning, but was able to complete a race distance in the afternoon.
"This morning’s session went according to plan in terms of the distance covered and the work done," said team manager Tony Lees. "Alex was not 100 per cent comfortable in the cockpit, which will undoubtedly have affected his lap times.
"He has nonetheless done everything we asked of him this morning and the team remains impressed by Alex’s very mature approach and his informative feedback."
Testing at Mugello will come to an end tomorrow.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:24.893
2. Trulli Jordan-Honda (B) 1:25.686
3. Alesi Jordan-Honda (B) 1:25.872
4. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:26.100
5. Raikkonen Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:26.152
6. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:26.329
7. Sato BAR-Honda (B) 1:27.729
8. Yoong Minardi-European (M) 1:31.318
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 18:16:21 GMT