Free practice 3: Schuey shows the way

Michael Schumacher only did seven laps in the third free practice session at Suzuka, but one of those was 1m32.978s, easily the quickest seen at the track this weekend. The Ferrari star was backed up as ever by team-mate Rubens Barrichello, while 'best of the rest' Ralf Schumacher was over a second behind his brother

Free practice 3: Schuey shows the way

Whether it was intentional or not, the teams certainly put forward a strong case for changes to be made to the practice format in F1 next year, as literally nothing happened for the first 15 minutes of Saturday's first session, leaving the fans in the grandstands and those who had stayed up to watch their digitals TVs with just empty tarmac to stare at.

Eventually Alex Yoong's Minardi emerged from the pitlane to break the silence. He was soon followed by the BARs of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis - both are short of track time following their problems on Friday.

Villeneuve set the early pace, lapping 1.5s faster than he managed the previous day. He was deposed at the top by Eddie Irvine, and the Jaguar driver's 1m35.533s was also considerably quicker than his Friday time as the team began the honing process of its qualifying set-up.

Friday's star, Kimi Raikkonen assumed his place at the head of the times, but his initial effort fell a few tenths short of his best from yesterday and he was soon usurped by Rubens Barrichello.

Michael Schumacher missed almost the whole of the Friday's second session, but it seemed to matter not when he became the first man into the 1m33s, with 15 of the 45 minutes remaining. Only Barrichello joined him by ducking under the 1m34s barrier, while Ralf Schumacher came closest to claim third spot.

David Coulthard was fifth, fractionally ahead of Raikkonen; Juan Pablo Montoya was sixth. Jarno Trulli did a good job to set the seventh best time for Renault. Eddie Irvine again went well for Jaguar in eighth, Giancarlo Fisichella was ninth, and Felipe Massa out-paced Nick Heidfeld to snatch 10th.

The session ended with a cloud of smoke engulfing the back straight after Takuma Sato's Honda engine went bang, but fortunately for the local hero the spare car is set up for him this weekend.

Jenson Button was 13th, but Allan McNish was off the pace in 18th, ahead of just the Minardis. The pace of Schumacher at the front will be a concern for the team and Alex Yoong, as the Malaysian was only two tenths inside the 107 percent limit.

shares
comments
EJ says Bernie is serious

Previous article

EJ says Bernie is serious

Next article

Saturday First Free Practice - Japanese GP

Saturday First Free Practice - Japanese GP
Load comments
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021