Friday March 2nd, 2001
Michael Schumacher's spectacular crash in Friday's free practice for the Australian Grand Prix was caused by the yellow flags from a Nick Heidfeld crash, the Sauber driver has said.
German Heidfeld left the circuit at turn six and ended in the gravel trap just minutes before Schumacher followed him off at the same corner.
"I went off because the brake pedal went solid and nothing happened for a moment, then the brakes worked again but I was already running out of road," said Heidfeld.
With the Sauber in the gravel, the yellow flags were waved but Schumacher did not see them until late and flew off the circuit.
It gave Heidfeld a fright. "Next time I think I'll get out of the car quicker," said Heidfeld. "I'd just spoken to the team on the radio, climbed out and reattached the steering wheel, and I turned round to see Michael's accident."
Second Sauber man Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, had a less eventful session on his Formula One debut, and is already beginning to sound like a seasoned professional after his first timed session.
"The circuit is not too difficult to learn and my only real problem was that I persistently had too much understeer in the final sector," said the Finn.
"We'll be working on that for tomorrow, but today was a good start to my Formula One career."