Practice 3: Williams dominates

Ralf Schumacher demonstrated that the Williams team's resurgence in form looks set to continue in the French Grand Prix, setting a stunning time in the final practice session to go fastest ahead of team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya

Practice 3: Williams dominates

European GP winner Schumacher lapped in 1m14.966s, a full six-tenths faster than his Colombian team-mate. They will both be out early in this afternoon's final qualifying session, however, and will be hoping that track conditions do not improve for the later runners.

McLaren's David Coulthard produced both his most and least convincing laps of the weekend. A stellar 1m15.600s, which was good enough for P1 for much of the session, was followed by a lap that ended with a spin at the new Lycee complex which could have happened on at least the previous three corners. He ended the session in third position.

Michael Schumacher was a solid yet unspectacular fourth for Ferrari, lapping almost a second slower than his younger brother. His team-mate Rubens Barrichello was even slower, and ended the session down in ninth position.

Schumacher's main title rival Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest in his McLaren, having set the pace early on. He was just a couple of hundredths faster than this morning's pacesetter Fernando Alonso (Renault).

Mark Webber (Jaguar) and Olivier Panis (Toyota) continued their impressive weekends with the seventh and eighth fastest times respectively. Renault's Jarno Trulli rounded out the top 10.

Yesterday's surprise fastest man Jos Verstappen had a scare right at the end of the session when a cloud of smoke was emitted from the left-rear corner of his Minardi. He ended the session 19th fastest, just a few thousandths slower than Jordan's Ralph Firman, who was second fastest in qualifying yesterday. The lack of rain in the air at Magny-Cours means a repeat of their performances yesterday is unlikely.

After BAR's legal problems that curtailed its running on Friday, Jenson Button lost more track time following his engine failure in the opening session today. He had a new motor fitted in time for the final couple of minutes of the session, which means a meagre sum total of 26 laps completed by him thus far before final qualifying. He was still 15th quickest today, with team-mate Jacques Villeneuve just two places ahead of him.

Like BAR, fellow Bridgestone runners Sauber, Jordan and Minardi propped up the times and appear to have a dry weather performance deficit to the Michelin posse.

shares
comments
Saturday Second Free Practice - French GP

Previous article

Saturday Second Free Practice - French GP

Next article

Grapevine: More News from the Paddock - French GP

Grapevine: More News from the Paddock - French GP
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

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