Friday April 7th, 2000
Schumacher Thrills Home Fans
After a damp start to the first free practice session for Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix, the cool, grey skies gave way to warm sunshine - and on a dry track, Michael Schumacher took the fastest time of the session, much to the evident delight of the Italian 'tifosi'.
Schumacher lapped just under 1sec off last year's pole and was happy with his Ferrari's balance. The car features a revised rear wing, and the team has a special qualifying engine for Saturday.
Rubens Barrichello worked on a different set-up programme, but was not so happy with his car's handling, unable to better 10th fastest.
Coulthard in Quicker McLaren
David Coulthard set the faster of the two McLaren times, the Scot happy with his car's performance. Mika Hakkinen was also happy, but had to make do with fourth fastest time after his final flying lap was spoiled by a slower car.
Good and Bad News for Jaguar
Eddie Irvine was happy with his Jaguar's handling after setting the third quickest time. However, Johnny Herbert spent half the session in the pit-lane garage after another engine failure.
Routine Session for Jordan
Both Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli had a trouble-free session, in which Frentzen was fifth quickest. Trulli had a more cautious start at his home race to set the 16th time of the morning.
Jacques Villeneuve only ran three laps for the BAR team, because both the engine and gearbox developed malfunctions at the start of the session. The team set about changing both for the second session. Ricardo Zonta was complaining that his chassis was too stiff.
Despite a wild spin and a second trip through a gravel trap, Jean Alesi was delighted with the engine in his Prost. "This is the best engine yet I have had from Peugeot," he said, after trying variable-length injection trumpets for the first time. He was complaining of too much oversteer from the chassis. Nick Heidfeld had little to say: he was stopped after two laps with an engine problem
Ralf Schumacher, in sixth place with his Williams-BMW, was a lot happier with the car's handling on a smoother track after its problems in Brazil. Jenson Button was learning the circuit and how to ride the kerbs for a quick lap...
Benetton had no problems, Fisichella seventh and Wurz 13th. The team has been working on engine management mapping.
Pedro Diniz was well up in eighth place, happy with his Sauber. Team-mate Mika Salo was dissatisfied with the traction on his car, in 15th place.