Mika Hakkinen bounced back from his Monaco disappointment to lead the way on day one of the latest Formula One test, finishing ahead of both Ferraris in the process.


The Finn headed McLaren team-mate David Coulthard on the Barcelona timesheets, although results were rendered somewhat meaningless by strong winds which changed direction throughout the day. Hakkinen lapped over a second clear of Coulthard, who found himself hotly pursued by a posse of Supertec-powered machines.


Leading the way for the "second division" brigade was Mika Salo, who turned in an encouraging performance for British American Racing. The Finn, already confirmed to race for BAR at the Spanish venue next weekend, finished with an identical time to Williams' Ralf Schumacher, but further underlined both his and the car's potential.


Schumacher spent much of the day perfecting set-ups for the next grand prix, but put in a late lap to match Salo's time. Just 8/10ths of a second back was the Benetton of Giancarlo Fisichella, building on the team's improved showing in Monaco. The Italian was separated from the two Ferraris of Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher by Jos Verstappen's Honda, making its first appearance at a group test since the death of project leader Harvey Postlethwaite. The Dutchman worked on both engine and chassis development, confirming the HRD team's intent to develop a complete car for next season.


Meanwhile, Irvine and Schumacher concentrated on chassis set-ups for the Barcelona circuit, but were frustrated by a series of session stoppages as they attempted to find the right balance for the F399.


Further back, both Jordans ran in the lower reaches of the top ten, although Heinz-Harald Frentzen slightly damaged his car in an off-track excursion. Stewart, Sauber, Prost and Minardi were also present with two drivers (although Gaston Mazzacane did not run for the latter), while Arrows ran just Pedro de la Rosa in one of the best attended tests of the season.


Leading performances (19 May):


Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 22.65secs

David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1min 23.81secs

Mika Salo BAR-Supertec 1min 23.94secs

Ralf Schumacher Williams-Supertec 1min 23.94secs

Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 1min 24.02secs

Jos Verstappen Honda-Honda 1min 24.25secs

Eddie Irvine Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 24.36secs

Michael Schumacher Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 24.49secs

Rubens Barrichello Stewart-Ford 1min 24.53secs

Heinz-Harald Frentzen Jordan-Mugen 1min 24.57secs

Damon Hill Jordan-Mugen 1min 24.65secs

Alex Zanardi Williams-Supertec 1min 24.68secs

Jean Alesi Sauber-Petronas 1min 24.82secs

Olivier Panis Prost-Peugeot 1min 25.01secs

Jarno Trulli Prost-Peugeot 1min 25.22secs

Pedro Diniz Sauber-Petronas 1min 25.86secs

Johnny Herbert Stewart-Ford 1min 25.89secs

Pedro de la Rosa Arrows-Arrows 1min 26.16secs

Luca Badoer Minardi-Ford 1min 26.25secs

Alex Wurz Benetton-Playlife 1min 26.43secs

Patrick Lemarie BAR-Supertec 1min 26.87secs

 

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