Ferrari on top after morning practice

Michael Schumacher was still in charge after the second Saturday morning practice session for the European Grand Prix, despite his rivals slicing into the 0.6s advantage he held after the first session

Ferrari on top after morning practice

The German's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello made the biggest gains. After struggling to find a usable set-up during all the previous sessions, the Brazilian rocketed up to second, just over 0.2s behind Schumacher.

Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard were third and fourth for McLaren but the latter missed much of the session after an odd incident at turn three. His McLaren slid off the track and bounced over the gravel, but managed to rejoin the tarmac and appeared to be undamaged. However, Coulthard then stopped on the edge of the track and had to be pushed into an escape road by the marshals.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Jordan was fifth, the German pushing hard throughout the session.

Both Benettons made progress, Giancarlo Fisichella moving up to sixth while Alex Wurz finally got some laps in after his earlier problems, ending the session 16th.

Jacques Villeneuve was seventh despite being forced off the road in a minor territorial dispute with Eddie Irvine's Jaguar.

There were relatively few incidents, although Marc Gene provided entertainment with a spectacular spin at the first corner in his Minardi. Ralf Schumacher overshot the Veedol chicane in his Williams and had to take to the grass but his team-mate Jenson Button failed to even take to the track, confined to the pit lane while the team worked to repair his damaged chassis after his earlier shunt.

Arrows' Jos Verstappen has had a miserable day so far, only managing 11 laps after having to stop on circuit with mechanical problems in both sessions.

His team-mate Pedro de la Rosa has looked quick however, and should be battling with the BARs, Williams' and Giancarlo Fisichella's Benetton for a place in the bottom half of the top ten.

At the front of the field it appears to be Ferrari with the upper hand at present, but the McLarens are close behind and Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen is quietly confident of springing a surprise.

Times from morning practice:

1 M Schumacher Ferrari 1m18.527s
2 R Barrichello Ferrari 1m18.754s
3 M Hakkinen McLaren 1m18.761s
4 D Coulthard McLaren 1m18.907s
5 H-H Frentzen Jordan 1m19.011s
6 G Fisichella Benetton 1m19.038s
7 J Villeneuve BAR 1m19.225s
8 R Schumacher Williams 1m19.302s
9 P de la Rosa Arrows 1m19.333s
10 J Trulli Jordan 1m19.409s
11 R Zonta BAR 1m19.667s
12 J Herbert Jaguar 1m19.745s
13 J Button Williams 1m19.756s
14 N Heidfeld Prost 1m19.833s
15 J Alesi Prost 1m19.894s
16 A Wurz Benetton 1m19.902s
17 E Irvine Jaguar 1m19.914s
18 M Salo Sauber 1m19.991s
19 M Gene Minardi 1m20.262s
20 P Diniz Sauber 1m20.283s
21 J Verstappen Arrows 1m20.382s
22 G Mazzacane Minardi 1m21.197s

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Schumacher dominates practice

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