McLaren Mercedes' Juan Pablo Montoya led both free practice sessions
June 17 as Formula One teams began preparations for qualifying and the
race at the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor
2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Montoya lapped the 13-turn, 2.605-mile
road circuit in 1 minute, 11.118 seconds, 131.860 mph during the
second session -- the top lap of the day. He also recorded the fastest
lap of the first session, 1:12.027, 130.196.
"It just means that we're doing the right job, but what counts is on
Sunday," Montoya said. "All this work, you just focus on what you're
going to be doing on Sunday. And at the moment, things are looking
pretty good. Both practices I was fastest today. It's encouraging. I
think things are coming together."
Qualifying starts at 2 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The 73-lap race starts at
2 p.m. (EDT) Sunday.
Montoya's teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, recorded the second-quickest lap,
1:11.228, 131.657. 2002 USGP winner Rubens Barrichello was third at
1:11.746, 130.707 in a Scuderia Marlboro Ferrari, and three-time USGP
winner Michael Schumacher was fourth at 1:11.758, 130.684 in a
Ferrari. Williams-BMW driver Nick Heidfeld rounded out the top five at
American Scott Speed, participating as Red Bull Racing's third driver,
recorded the eighth-best lap of the day at 1:12.143, 129.987 and
completed a total of 55 laps.
Speed, who drives full-time in the European GP2 series - the premier
development series for Formula One, became the first American since
1989 to participate in a United States Grand Prix.
"(I am) very happy," said Speed, 22, who is considered the top
American prospect for a Formula One drive. "It was another successful
run in the F1 car. All the experience I get right now is so valuable.
Every lap that I am doing in the car I feel more comfortable and more
"I think that it is all good for me. I am gaining a lot of F1
experience to where when it comes time that I do have to qualify and
race and there's a lot more pressure, I will be able to perform
Drivers struggled for grip throughout the day as several cars slid off
track during both sessions. The most serious incident of the day
occurred early in the second session when Ralf Schumacher's Panasonic
Toyota did 1½ spins in Turn 13 and hit the SAFER Barrier in the
outside of the turn with the rear of the car and left side of the car.
Schumacher was uninjured in the accident.
Toyota: A case of unhappy déjà vu for Ralf Schumacher, after a tyre
problem sent him into the same wall that broke his back at
Indianapolis last year. The German, who walked away, was sent to
hospital for a check up. Moments earlier, Ricardo Zonta had a similar
problem and found the wall at turn five, and - repaired - returned to
the track but, along with Jarno Trulli, was called back in with a
third cut tyre. ''Lightening is not meant to strike twice,'' said
Ralf. ''Thankfully I feel okay.'' Schumacher's engine will not need to
Jordan: ''The track is not very challenging,'' said Tiago Monteiro
(last place), ''and I am not very impressed with it.'' Narain
Karthikeyan was also behind both Minardis, while Robert Doornbos
returned to the 'Friday' role.
Renault: An unspectacular day for the championship leading team.
''Some of the oversteer came from the track,'' said Fernando Alonso
(9th), ''but we still have to get the car right.'' Giancarlo
Fisichella (11th) added: ''Our level of performance did not seem
Williams: ''My lap times don't seem too bad,'' said Nick Heidfeld,
Grove's quickest runner (fifth). Mark Webber drudged around for
thirteenth. ''We know we have some work to do,'' he admitted.
Minardi: ''Despite the new regulations,'' said Paul Stoddart, ''both
our cars exceeded ... any time (set) by a Minardi here last year.''
McLaren: Juan Pablo Montoya was Friday's fastest at Indy, but he
doesn't think much of the Michelin tyre. ''It feels terrible,'' said
the Colombian, ''but at least we're fastest.'' Also quick is Kimi
Raikkonen (2nd), despite an off at turn 11, while third man Pedro de
la Rosa stopped with a throttle problem.
Sauber: Felipe Massa (12th) spun twice, but still managed to outpace
Jacques Villeneuve (17th) by more than half a second. ''The track is
always a bit funny here the first day,'' said the latter, a Canadian.
''The car was very twitchy,'' said 24-year-old Massa.
Ferrari: The red cars, with Rubens Barrichello just in front of
Michael Schumacher, were - after McLaren - second quickest around
Indianapolis. ''We've always gone well here,'' said Jean Todt.
Barrichello said: ''We look much more competitive than recently.''
BAR: ''The pace isn't very good,'' said Jenson Button, who finished
the day with the T-car's gearbox and fifteenth. Takuma Sato is 16th.
Red Bull: David Coulthard, with a new Cosworth engine, had a mixed day
in the 'States -- a spin, a gearbox glitch, and the sixth quickest
time. ''We could be more competitive than in Canada,'' he said.
Probably truer to the real pace is Christian Klien (14th), while local
boy Scott Speed (8th) enjoyed himself. ''It's so great driving in
America,'' he said, ''in a Formula One car.''
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (#10 West McLaren
Mercedes): "The tire tread was pretty bad. I think everybody is
probably complaining about the same thing. It feels terrible, but you
know, it feels terrible and we're fastest. I don't know how everybody
else is, but I am looking pretty strong for the weekend. We'll have to
wait and see." (Is it hard to drive on track?): "Hard to drive on it?
No, it's just not good. You slide around a lot. It's pretty
straightforward. It's just the lack of grip is pretty bad." (Goal for
today): "Like every session, look at the tires, balance the car and
things like that." (About coming to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway):
"It's nice. Every year, I've come so close to winning this race, and
something has always gone wrong. So it would be nice to come here once
and get a pretty quiet weekend and a good result. This year has been a
bit of a struggle. I've been very unlucky. Everything that can go
wrong has been going wrong. If we could come out of here with a nice
party for the guys would be amazing." (Does quick time mean anything
today?): "Today? No, it just means that we're doing the right job, but
what counts is on Sunday. All this work, you just focus on what you're
going to be doing on Sunday. And at the moment, things are looking
pretty good. Both practices I was fastest today. It's encouraging. I
think things are coming together."
KIMI RAIKKONEN (#9 West McLaren Mercedes): (About the session today):
"It's going all right. I had a small problem with the car. The clutch
wasn't working, but otherwise it was all right. It still goes quite
quickly, so that's the main thing. We had a small problem with the
clutch, but we can easily fix it for tomorrow." (Second time you are
using the engine, is that a problem?) "No, it should be OK. The engine
is strong. I don't see any problem." (About both cars being at the top
of the charts today): "Of course, it's good, but it's only the first
day. So we need to wait and see. It looks pretty good for us right
now. But hopefully tomorrow, we'll be right up there." (Does being at
the top of the charts give you an indication of how you'll do here?):
"Definitely. It gives you some kind of idea. But tomorrow is the main
thing, qualifying, then we'll see how it goes."
FERNANDO ALONSO (#5 Mild Seven Renault F1 Team): "It was good.
Obviously, a very slippery track on the first day here at
Indianapolis. I feel confident for tomorrow. We followed the program.
We tested tires, which was the main priority today for Friday. I'm
confident for tomorrow's qualifying."
SCOTT SPEED (#37 Red Bull Racing): "(I am) very happy. It was another
successful run in the F1 car. All the experience I get right now is so
valuable. Every lap that I am doing in the car I feel more comfortable
and more confident." (About how he helps the team): "I think we made a
good decision with tire choice. My job is not too complicated. It is
relatively easy and not too much pressure, so it's great to be here."
(About driving in America): "The coolest thing was seeing the flag out
that said, "Go Speed," or whatever. "Good Luck, Scott" or something, I
don't remember what it said. It reminds me of where I'm at and how far
I've come." (About this being his last day of practice): "I think that
it is all good for me. I am gaining a lot of F1 experience to where
when it comes time that I do have to qualify and race and there's a
lot more pressure I will be able to perform better."
MICHAEL SCHUMACHER (#1 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro): (About being more
relaxed here): "I guess even though there are European races, you can
see for yourself . no doubt America is a nice country for me." (About
the season): "There are occasions which make us competitive, and
others that don't make us competitive. I would say here it looks more
good for us than elsewhere." (About the racing): "I always enjoy when
I can fight for the lead, but I always enjoy other races where I
don't. Generally, I enjoy wherever I am as long as I have touch with
RUBENS BARRICHELLO (#2 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro): (About his luck
here): "First of all, I'm a lucky guy just to be back here and racing
such a race. There are not just Americans but also Brazilians who come
to see the race. For me, it's a good motivation. Secondly, the car
suits the track very well, and it's great to be back." (About coming
from the back in Canada): "I have a feeling that it doesn't matter
when things aren't going right.I work for them and make them come your
way. The most important thing is to be ready whenever the car is
ready. In Canada, the car wasn't ready in qualifying, but I had to be
ready on Sunday morning. The whole season's going to be like that. I
hope we can find even more pace for us to be fighting for something
more toward the end of the season." (About rules, etc.): "It's going
to be a difficult season for everyone. The new rules brought something
really strange to the championship. To make it last, a whole set of
tires, it's a big deal. There'll be times we start on pole and times
we start ninth. We just have to keep smiling and working."
MARK WEBBER (#7 BMW WilliamsF1 Team): "We did a lot of setup work
today. We tried a few different things across cars just to work on
setup. We've got some work to do tonight. We'll go through the tire
comparison. The car is running reliable. We have some more
improvements to do on the balance."
JENSON BUTTON (#3 Lucky Strike BAR Honda): "The good thing is we did
our comparisons for the tires and did our normal program for a Friday.
The pace isn't very good. We're struggling for grip a little bit. We
have a busy night ahead of it. We know where some of it is coming
from. We just need to hope we can get the problems sorted out and get
a bit more back on the pace, and I think we can." (Did Toyota's
problems affect your testing?): "No, because we have a lot of
information from the session, and I'm sure there will be a lot of
discussion with both manufacturers and all the teams (about tire
selection). We don't want that to happen again." (Is tire selection
going to be an issue at Indianapolis?): "It's difficult here because
we can't find a huge difference between the tires at the moment. It's
going to be difficult to make a decision. But, yeah, we'll have a lot
of information this evening from Michelin on the wear of the tires,
and we'll know a little bit more."
TAKUMA SATO (#4 Lucky Strike BAR Honda): "It's great to be back at
Indy, as we have great memories of last year. Today wasn't perfect for
us. We need to do a lot of work for the weekend. It's only the first
day, and we did complete the program for both cars and the tire
comparison. I'm relatively happy, but we need to work on the speed."
JACQUES VILLENEUVE (#11 Sauber Petronas): "It was OK. We concentrated
on the tires, which is always the thing to do on Friday. Both cars
were on different programs. So we can choose what tires to take for
tomorrow. The long runs were good. Definitely we'll take the other
tire for tomorrow."
CHRISTIAN KLIEN (#15 Red Bull Racing): "The car was not as good as I
wished it would be. The car was quite oversteered to drive. No grip at
the moment. We have a lot to do on the setup to get it better. We
tried a new engine, and that's maybe a step forward. It looks quite
promising and a lot better than in Canada."
DAVID COULTHARD (#14 Red Bull Racing): "We appear to have a problem
with selecting sixth gear. I was able to finish my timed lap, but the
car was starting to shutter through the banking, which is never a good
feeling when you're not sure what it is. They are checking out the
gearbox now." (About running off track): "It was an electronic issue.
Basically, the software had a fault, which meant I had none of the
normal electronic assistance to answer the problem. What you saw there
was a pure mechanic car relying on old-school technology like what
they used to have in the 1970s in Formula One. Nowadays, we have all
sorts of exotic toys, electronic-this and what have you." (About
tires): "The precaution instructed all of the Michelin runners to
increase their minimum pressure, because for us that's always an issue
on the banking."
FELIPE MASSA (#12 Sauber Petronas): "It was really OK. It was not too
bad; I mean, I think I had a reasonable lap time. My car, we still
need to improve in the long-run because it was really oversteer. It
was not easy to get the right base for the long runs. So we are
working on that, and I hope tomorrow, even, the track will improve a
bit. So I'm looking forward. I think it was OK. For the first day, I
think it was fine."
TIAGO MONTEIRO (#18 Jordan Grand Prix): "All right. Nothing amazing.
Struggling to find some grip here. The track is not very 'grippy'
generally, so we don't seem to have a perfect setup here. We need to
work on that. We still have a hour and a half tomorrow." (About the
track): "There's nothing interesting in it. I thought the oval was
going to be challenging, but it's easy flat. We have too much
downforce, obviously. I'm really disappointed."
NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN (#19 Jordan Grand Prix): "It was pretty OK. We
tried to get some changes on the car, and we have to see on the data
if it works or not. The track is so slippery off line, and it's my
first time here, so it's kind of hard."
CHRISTIJAN ALBERS (#21 Minardi F1 Team): (About practice): "I think it
was quite OK. Typical venue, tire run. Not really a big problem. Not
really any problem or disasters, so we'll see tomorrow. Tomorrow is a
new day. We'll have to see. It's always difficult here from what I've
noticed from the past, from the team. This is the first time for me
here so at this moment, I think we're OK." (About facility): "I think
it's quite nice. It's something different, of course. The Formula One
cars driving on a banking, so it's quite interesting."
PATRICK FRIESACHER (#20 Minardi F1 Team): "It was not too bad. Just in
the second session, we lost a little bit of time because I had a
problem with the gearbox. The fourth gear was broken. So we changed it
really quickly and got back into the car again and, generally, it was
not to bad. We were in front of the Jordans and two-tenths quicker
than my teammate, who is seeing what I can do and look for it, so it's
OK for tomorrow. We have to go analyze the data and find out exactly
which tires we're going to use tomorrow; soft or hard. But I'm quite
confident. Also the gap between us and the other teams is not so big,
like on other racetracks." (About facility): "It's quite good. One
turn is really quick, and the infield is really slow. It's a good
NICK HEIDFELD (#8 BMW WilliamsF1 Team): "We went quite good today and
finished fifth in the end. In the morning, the lap times were OK
despite me not being happy with the car balance. My feeling on
tomorrow is that we should be in better shape than in Canada. I like
this circuit. I don't know why, but in the past I've always seemed to
be quite quick here, and again today I think was quite good."
POS DRIVER ENTRANT TIRE TIME
1. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:11.118
2. KIMI RAIKKONEN McLaren-Mercedes M 1:11.228
3. RUBENS BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1:11.746
4. MICHAEL SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1:11.758
5. NICK HEIDFELD Williams-BMW M 1:11.825
6. DAVID COULTHARD Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:12.076
7. PEDRO DE LA ROSA McLaren-Mercedes M 1:12.119
8. SCOTT SPEED Red Bull Racing M 1:12.143
9. FERNANDO ALONSO Renault M 1:12.265
10. JARNO TRULLI Toyota M 1:12.344
11. GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Renault M 1:12.384
12. FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas M 1:12.464
13. MARK WEBBER Williams-BMW M 1:12.578
14. CHRISTIAN KLIEN Red Bull-Cosworth M 1:12.664
15. JENSON BUTTON BAR-Honda M 1:12.803
16. TAKUMA SATO BAR-Honda M 1:13.037
17. JACQUES VILLENEUVE Sauber-Petronas M 1:13.079
18. ROBERT DOORNBOS Jordan-Toyota B 1:13.361
19. RICARDO ZONTA Toyota M 1:13.567
20. PATRICK FRIESACHER Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.783
21. CHRISTIJAN ALBERS Minardi-Cosworth B 1:13.963
22. NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.008
23. TIAGO MONTEIRO Jordan-Toyota B 1:14.336
24. RALF SCHUMACHER Toyota M No Time
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