F1 testing: Panis quickest at Mugello

Formula 1 testing continued today at Mugello with McLaren-Mercedes test driver Oilivier Panis topping the times from championship contender Michael Schumacher

F1 testing: Panis quickest at Mugello

The teams tested long into the evening and finally finished running at 1910 local time. Panis completed a mammoth 108 laps and set a fastest time of 1m24.80s. Schumacher was 1.59s behind the Frenchman and carried out development work on a harder compound Bridgestone tyre to be used at the US Grand Prix in ten days time.

The Sauber team was also present, but up-and-coming Finn Kimi Raikkonen did the only running for the Swiss outfit. Pedro Diniz decided to rest his bruised arm which the Brazilian hurt during his clash with Eddie Irvine at the start of the Italian Grand Prix last weekend.

Other teams testing today were Williams-BMW and Benetton at the Estoril track in Portugal. Formula 3000 driver Mark Weber was at the helm of the sole Benetton B200. The Australian set a time 0.551s faster than the Williams of F3000 champion Bruno Junqueira who used the day to work on the engine mapping of the BMW V10.

Benetton technical director Pat Symonds was impressed with Webber's performance: "I'd heard he was good," said Symonds, "but frankly I'm amazed."

Mugello times

O Panis McLaren-Mercedes 1m24.80s 108
M Schumacher Ferrari 1m26.41s 87
K Raikkonen Sauber-Petronas 1m27.13s 40

Estoril Times

M Webber Benetton-Supertec 1m21.704s 30
B Junqueira Williams-BMW 1m22.255s 62

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