Friday August 31st, 2001
World Champion Michael Schumacher was quickest in Friday's practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa as heavy rain hampered the second session and the German stayed easily on top.
Giancarlo Fisichella demonstrated his ability as he powered to the fourth best time in Friday's free practice as the second session was a wash-out. Most drivers were unable to improve on the times posting in the opening hour as rain fell, but Italian Fisichella surprisingly guided his struggling Benetton to the fourth best time of the day.
It took just 16 minutes for the threatening clouds to finally soak the Spa circuit in rain as the heavens opened and sent all the cars into their garages for the teams to rapidly change to wet set-ups.
Fisichella had already improved on his previously impressive time to end one and a half seconds behind fastest man Schumacher, and it was still a surprising performance from the team, which has lacked engine power throughout the season.
The rain prevented any further improvements in the times, so Schumacher remained top ahead of Jarno Trulli and Rubens Barrichello, with Hakkinen's McLaren behind Fisichella in fifth. Almost as soon as the rain had started, it made way for sunshine as the teams took the chance to test their cars' performance on the wet track.
Jean Alesi was the first man out and Jenson Button was the first man off when he lightly touched the barrier coming out of the bus stop chicane, and then later went off track at Les Combes.
Michael Schumacher made a mistake when he mistimed an overtaking manoeuvre on Pedro de la Rosa's Jaguar, giving the Spaniard a puncture and ripping off his own front wing in the process.
Kimi Raikkonen had a brief spin at Les Combes, and Jarno Trulli spun twice, first at Les Combes and then at the La Source hairpin, before Fernando Alonso's Minardi stopped just after the hairpin. Les Combes continued to provide a challenge and Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya was the next casualty as he lost it on the wet kerbs and spun into the tyre barriers.
David Coulthard did not manage to get out in the session following his big accident in the morning.
Pos Driver Team Times
1. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:48.655 230.867 km/h
2. Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 1:49.404 + 0.749
3. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:49.456 + 0.801
4. Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 1:50.192 + 1.537
5. Hakkinen Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1:50.239 + 1.584
6. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) 1:50.495 + 1.840
7. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:50.801 + 2.146
8. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:51.555 + 2.900
9. Alesi Jordan Honda (B) 1:51.631 + 2.976
10. Button Benetton Renault (M) 1:51.673 + 3.018
11. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:52.071 + 3.416
12. Frentzen Prost Acer (M) 1:52.073 + 3.418
13. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:52.119 + 3.464
14. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 1:52.436 + 3.781
15. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:52.804 + 4.149
16. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:52.829 + 4.174
17. Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:52.955 + 4.300
18. Alonso Minardi European (M) 1:55.021 + 6.366
19. Marques Minardi European (M) 1:55.099 + 6.444
20. Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:55.491 + 6.836
21. Burti Prost Acer (M) 2:11.037 + 0:22.382
22. Coulthard Mclaren Mercedes (B) 12:37.913 +10:49.258
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 12:03:31 GMT