Atlas F1 News Service

Slow Start for Sauber Drivers

Friday June 29th, 2001

Nick Heidfeld in action, todayThe French Grand Prix did not start the way the Sauber team had planned as both their drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld ended today's practice session two seconds off the pace of David Coulthard, who topped the timesheets with his McLaren.

Rookie Raikkonen, who had already tested at the Magny Cours circuit before the Grand Prix, again was able to finish ahead of his teammate despite going off the track and damaging his Petronas-powered C20 in the afternoon session. The 21-year old Finn, competing in his tenth Grand Prix, was 14th quickest.

"My car felt okay today, but unfortunately this afternoon I got into some oversteer going into the first corner and slid into the gravel bed," said Raikkonen. "The car went a long way and lost its front wing, so I wasn't able to get it back to the pits."

Heidfeld, winner of the F3000 race at Magny Cours in 1999, admitted he was unhappy with his fifteenth place on Friday, but the German was confident of being able to improve his car on Saturday.

"We managed to do a lot of laps today which was important for us, and I was able to do several long runs while making comparisons between Bridgestone's two types of tyre," Heidfeld commented.

"We have a lot of data now to analyse. I'm not that happy with my position but we can definitely improve in qualifying tomorrow when everyone runs with low fuel."

Published at 12:48:40 GMT

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