Williams drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher secured a one-two at Spa as World Champion Michael Schumacher ended 19th in the timesheets in Saturday's delayed practice session.
Montoya and Schumacher topped the times after the first session had been lost because of low cloud cover, while Schumacher sat in his car in the garage for much of the session, completing just seven laps in the 45 minutes. McLaren pair Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were next on the list, as Rubens Barrichello's time was beaten by his rivals at the end of the session to drop him to fifth.
Giancarlo Fisichella impressed once again in the Benetton as he drove to the sixth fastest time, with Eddie Irvine, Jacques Villeneuve and his teammate Jenson Button following behind. After a two-hour wait, the cars were finally allowed out on the track as the organisers decided to run one single practice session of forty-five minutes, with no practice starts at the end.
That, they decided, would be an appropriate compromise to allow qualifying to start at the usual time and avoid delaying any television coverage. The decision not to cancel the sessions entirely came as great relief to McLaren's David Coulthard, who had lost his entire day's practice on Friday because of a crash.
He was able to get in some essential experience on the circuit and develop his car's set-up, and showed that he was suffering little from the lack of track time as he ended the session fourth. There were plenty of minor incidents as drivers lost grip in the slippery conditions and Pedro de la Rosa was the first to slide off at the bus stop chicane with a third of the session gone.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen then had an off-track excursion when he lost control of his Prost at Les Combes, and both Eddie Irvine and Mika Hakkinen had problems coping with the bus stop as they got the entry wrong. Jenson Button had an off at Les Combes with half an hour gone, and Fernando Alonso followed suit one minute later and Marques also lost it late in the session.
Pos Driver Team Times 1. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:47.494 233.360 km/h 2. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:47.768 + 0.274 3. Hakkinen Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1:48.465 + 0.971 4. Coulthard Mclaren Mercedes (B) 1:48.698 + 1.204 5. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:49.071 + 1.577 6. Fisichella Benetton Renault (M) 1:49.511 + 2.017 7. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:49.857 + 2.363 8. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:49.953 + 2.459 9. Button Benetton Renault (M) 1:50.130 + 2.636 10. Alesi Jordan Honda (B) 1:50.485 + 2.991 11. Trulli Jordan Honda (B) 1:50.494 + 3.000 12. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:50.501 + 3.007 13. Frentzen Prost Acer (M) 1:50.765 + 3.271 14. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:52.267 + 4.773 15. Burti Prost Acer (M) 1:52.740 + 5.246 16. Bernoldi Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:52.906 + 5.412 17. Alonso Minardi European (M) 1:53.546 + 6.052 18. Marques Minardi European (M) 1:53.861 + 6.367 19. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:57.257 + 9.763 20. Verstappen Arrows Asiatech (B) 1:57.477 + 9.983 21. Raikkonen Sauber Petronas (B) 1:58.547 + 0:11.053 22. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 2:55.816 + 1:08.322 All Timing Unofficial