Hakkinen edges ahead in practice

Mika Hakkinen stole Michael Schumacher's thunder in Saturday morning practice at Imola, pipping the Ferrari hero by 0.1s

Hakkinen edges ahead in practice

The top three were stunningly evenly matched, with Hakkinen repeatedly edging closer to Schumacher's time before sneaking ahead. The German's attempt to retaliate was spoilt by a sideways moment at the Variante Alta.

David Coulthard could also have beaten Schumacher, but after setting the fastest time in the first sector he had to back off for yellows at the Acque Minerale and abandon the lap. A grassy moment at the final corner ruined an earlier effort.

Jarno Trulli improved to fourth in the Jordan, 0.2s quicker than team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

The Saubers look good for qualifying, Mika Salo was only marginally slower than Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari, ending up seventh overall. His team mate Pedro Diniz was a promising tenth after making a mistake in the final sector on his quickest lap.

Jacques Villeneuve was eighth for BAR, despite a wild spin on the exit of Rivazza early in the session and then a terminal visit to the Acque Minerale gravel trap.

Eddie Irvine improved to ninth, 0.2s quicker than Jaguar team mate Johnny Herbert.

Williams' poor morning continued. Ralf Schumacher stopped on course after a handful of laps and was only 12th quickest, seven places ahead of Jenson Button, who only managed ten minutes of running all morning thanks to hydraulic problems.

Also in the wars were Jos Verstappen, who had a couple of heart-stopping grassy moments en route to 15th in his Arrows, and Minardi's Marc Gene, who heavily damaged the right hand side of his car after running wide and slamming into the tyre wall at Piratella.

Times from Saturday morning practice:

















































































































1


Mika Hakkinen


McLaren


1m24.973s


2


Michael Schumacher


Ferrari


1m25.085s


3


David Coulthard


McLaren


1m25.090s


4


Jarno Trulli


Jordan


1m25.852s


5


Heinz-Harald Frentzen


Jordan


1m26.097s


6


Rubens Barrichello


Ferrari


1m26.357s


7


Mika Salo


Sauber


1m26.428s


8


Jacques Villeneuve


BAR


1m26.551s


9


Eddie Irvine


Jaguar


1m26.566s


10


Pedro Diniz


Sauber


1m26.634s


11


Johnny Herbert


Jaguar


1m26.729s


12


Ralf Schumacher


Williams


1m26.807s


13


Alex Wurz


Benetton


1m26.855s


14


Giancarlo Fisichella


Benetton


1m26.964s


15


Jos Verstappen


Arrows


1m27.188s


16


Jean Alesi


Prost


1m27.195s


17


Pedro de la Rosa


Arrows


1m27.312s


18


Nick Heidfeld


Prost


1m27.453s


19


Jenson Button


Williams


1m27.464s


20


Ricardo Zonta


BAR


1m27.791s


21


Marc Gene


Minardi


1m28.155s


22


Gaston Mazzacane


Minardi


1m28.276s

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