Free Practice 2: Trulli causes a stir

Eddie Jordan had arrived in Asia saying the Malaysian Grand Prix would be the acid test of whether the team's Honda-powered EJ11 was truly capable of taking on the McLaren/Ferrari axis. Jarno Trulli's fastest time in the second of Friday's free practice sessions appears to have gone some way to supplying an answer

Free Practice 2: Trulli causes a stir

Trulli had finished the first session tucked behind the Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher, but finished the second hour just 0.073s ahead of Schumacher, with Barrichello a mere two thousandths of a second further back.

"I had a good day," said Trulli. "It was my first totally trouble free session in a long time and I just hope I have a similar day tomorrow and not a repeat of Melbourne [where he qualified seventh after being second quickest on Friday].

"I am confident that every time I step into the car I can push to 100 percent. I am also satisfied because we don't appear to be too far from McLaren and Ferrari, which is good progress," he added.

On a track surface that had slicked up since the morning session, Schumacher had a pair of grassy moments which aborted his two potentially fastest laps, while Mika Hakkinen spun on a theoretical flyer, but the top times still remain nearly 1.5s away from last year's pole mark.

Air temperatures reached 34 degrees C in the early afternoon, with track temperatures soaring to nearly 50 degrees, but Michelin fared well in its first ultra-high heat head-to-head with Bridgestone: Eddie Irvine's Jaguar finished fifth overall, only 0.220s off David Coulthard's fourth-placed McLaren-Mercedes and 0.341s ahead of Hakkinen's.

Trulli's team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen started his session with a pit lane altercation with Peter Sauber, who was still fuming over comments the German had made regarding the performance of his cars in Australia, and ended it with seventh overall.

In his own website, Frentzen had questioned why the Saubers were so good at accelarating out of slow corners - and why they misfired as they did it... Shrugging and verbalising ensued, but the Swiss was gently pulled away by team boss Eddie Jordan.

Eighth-placed Luciano Burti made it two Jaguars in the top 10, with Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW putting three Michelin-shod cars in it. They were split by Olivier Panis, best of the BAR-Hondas in ninth.

Jacques Villeneuve was 11th for BAR, with Nick Heidfeld best of the Saubers in 12th.

Benetton improved slightly, taking 13th with Giancarlo Fisichella and 17th with Jenson Button, while Arrows managed to get its cars out on track for the bulk of the session and took 15th and 18th with Jos Verstappen and Enrique Bernoldi respectively.

Juan Pablo Montoya looks like he'll be putting in an intensive evening on the PlayStation after still failing to set a representative lap time. The Colombian ventured out onto the circuit four times, but in each case bar one, he returned to the pits without tripping the beams. On his one complete lap, the Williams set a time of 2m13.188s - over 34s off the pace.

Reality struck for Minardi in the second session, with Tarso Marques blowing an engine and the duo sitting 20th and 21st on the time sheets.

Tomorrow (Saturday) sees two more 45-minute free practice sessions before the all-important sigle hour of qualifying in the afternoon.

Click here for the practice session 2 results.

shares
comments
Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Malaysia

Previous article

Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Malaysia

Next article

Free Practice 3: DC pips Ferrari as pace hots up

Free Practice 3: DC pips Ferrari as pace hots up
Load comments
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021