Saturday July 28th, 2001
Ralf Schumacher stormed past elder brother Michael to take the fastest time in Saturday's final practice before qualifying begins this afternoon.
Schumacher Sr had wowed his home fans initially by driving fastest in the first session, however the German fans were given the added excitement of seeing Ralf storm around the Hockenheim circuit ahead of teammate Juan Pablo Montoya.
Michael Schumacher was left to settle for third place as he failed to improve on his time from the first session while McLaren's Mika Hakkinen was fourth, Sauber's Nick Heidfeld fifth and Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello sixth.
Benetton's day got worse in the second session as it was Giancarlo Fisichella's turn to break down on track early into proceedings. The Italian driver was helpless as his car stuttered to a halt just after the Nord Kurve.
David Coulthard also had a session to forget as when pushing hard to catch Michael Schumacher on his 15th timed lap he spun into a gravel trap at turn 12. Coulthard's McLaren beached in the gravel and he was out of the session. As Fisichella got back to the garage his teammate Button, who had stopped early in the first session with a fault on his car, was ready to go out and started to exit his garage. But on two occasions the car stopped after a few yards, much to the frustration of the British driver.
With 20 minutes of the session left Ralf Schumacher then shaved eight-tenths of a second off his brother's best time to top the time-sheet as the Hockenheim crowd were treated to a battle between the German siblings. Nearer the back of the field, Luciano Burti spun his Prost at the entrance of the Jim Clark chicane and moments later Tarso Marques spun his Minardi just after the start line. Both drivers were able to continue.
Jordan's Ricardo Zonta was also forced to wait patiently in his garage as a new engine and gearbox was fitted to his car, which had broken down early in the first session. Zonta eventually got out to complete just five laps in the second session and finished 14th in the times.
Button also got out for the second half of the session and immediately posted a competitive time before finishing the session in 16th place.
Montoya then joined the scrap at the top of the times as he jumped into second place to complete the Williams one-two, while Coulthard worked with marshals and a McLaren team member to push his car from turn 12 all the way around to the pits.
It was a mammoth effort from the British driver, who obviously wanted his car back to the garage as soon as possible to give his mechanics and engineers more chance to get it ready for this afternoon's qualifying.
Coulthard, who finished the session ninth, appears to need a big change in fortune to catch Michael Schumacher's Ferrari and the powerful Williams of Ralf Schumacher and Montoya and keep his title hopes alive with a strong grid position.
Pos Driver Team Times
1. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:39.188 247.711 km/h
2. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:39.469 + 0.281
3. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:39.937 + 0.749
4. Hakkinen Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1:40.069 + 0.881
5. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 1:40.263 + 1.075
6. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:40.436 + 1.248
7. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:40.443 + 1.255
8. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:40.575 + 1.387
9. Coulthard Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1:40.697 + 1.509
10. Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 1:40.894 + 1.706
11. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:40.905 + 1.717
12. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) 1:41.153 + 1.965
13. Alesi Prost Acer (M) 1:41.428 + 2.240
14. Zonta Jordan Honda (B) 1:41.534 + 2.346
15. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:41.683 + 2.495
16. Button Benetton Renault (M) 1:41.771 + 2.583
17. Burti Prost Acer (M) 1:42.136 + 2.948
18. Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:42.223 + 3.035
19. Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:42.580 + 3.392
20. Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 1:43.256 + 4.068
21. Alonso Minardi European (M) 1:43.512 + 4.324
22. Marques Minardi European (M) 1:43.909 + 4.721
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 09:04:56 GMT