Second practice: Schumacher still in charge

Michael Schumacher stayed on top after the second practice session in Melbourne this morning

Second practice: Schumacher still in charge

None of the top drivers improved on their earlier performances, Schumacher remaining 0.5s quicker than David Coulthard, despite some spectacularly committed driving by the German during the session.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third for Jordan despite spinning off on his final lap, ahead of Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello and the impressive Ralf Schumacher, who improved to fifth in the Williams-BMW.

Mika Hakkinen finally made it onto the track with just six minutes remaining after the McLaren mechanics rectified the engine fault that prevented the Finn from completing a lap in the first session.

Even when he did get out of the pits, Hakkinen's frustration continued as Gaston Mazzacane dumped his Minardi in the gravel at turn nine, bringing out the yellow flags.

By the time the car was removed from the edge of the circuit Hakkinen had time for just one flying lap, which was then spoilt by a grassy excursion.

The Arrows team again suggested that it could be this season's surprise package, Pedro de la Rosa and Jos Verstappen moving up to seventh and eighth positions.

Johnny Herbert's frustrations continued, his Jaguar pulling into the pits in a cloud of engine smoke. He was still faster than team-mate Eddie Irvine.

Ricardo Zonta also hit trouble, spinning twice in the space of a minute, while Giancarlo Fisichella had a brief off.

Mika Salo and Marc Gene were the other drivers to improve on their earlier performances, moving up to 11th and 14th respectively.

Combined practice times from Melbourne:

















































































































1


Michael Schumacher


Ferrari


1m30.439s


2


David Coulthard


McLaren-Mercedes


1m30.958s


3


Heinz-Harald Frentzen


Jordan-Mugen Honda


1m31.020s


4


Rubens Barrichello


Ferrari


1m31.366s


5


Ralf Schumacher


Williams-BMW


1m31.602s


6


Jarno Trulli


Jordan-Mugen Honda


1m31.692s


7


Pedro de la Rosa


Arrows-Supertec


1m31.898s


8


Jos Verstappen


Arrows-Supertec


1m32.073s


9


Jacques Villeneuve


BAR-Honda


1m32.113s


10


Johnny Herbert


Jaguar


1m32.131s


11


Mika Salo


Sauber-Petronas


1m32.360s


12


Eddie Irvine


Jaguar


1m32.345s


13


Giancarlo Fisichella


Benetton-Playlife


1m32.382s


14


Marc Gene


Minardi-Fondmetal


1m32.441s


15


Alex Wurz


Benetton-Playlife


1m32.654s


16


Pedro Diniz


Sauber-Petronas


1m32.921s


17


Gaston Mazzacane


Minardi-Fondmetal


1m33.039s


18


Mika Hakkinen


McLaren-Mercedes


1m33.074s


19


Jean Alesi


Sauber-Petronas


1m33.287s


20


Ricardo Zonta


BAR-Honda


1m33.695s


21


Jenson Button


Williams-BMW


1m33.791s


22


Nick Heidfeld


Prost-Peugeot


1m33.826s


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