Rubens Barrichello rediscovered some his old Monaco form to take top spot in the pre-race warm-up session.

The Brazilian ended the half-hour a tenth clear of Ferrari team-mate Michael Schumacher, as the Italian team once again proved that its car is well suited to the twists and turns of the Principality. Both drivers had to allow for a trip across the 'infield' at the Nouvelle Chicane, with Barrichello even taking to the escape road before rejoining through a gap in the barriers.

With two minutes of the session to run, however, it looked as though Ralf Schumacher would take top spot, the Williams driver having lapped three-tenths faster than anyone else to that point. He had to settle for an eventual third place, however, as both Ferraris improved in the dying seconds.

The session was actually truncated before it had run its full thirty minute length, as Pedro de la Rosa smote the wall at Tabac, breaking the rear wing and suspension off his Arrows and necessitating a red flag. Once the car and an uninjured de la Rosa had been removed, however, there were few prepared to rejoin for the remaining few seconds, and the session was officially declared.

The McLarens had been among the pace-setters throughout, but had to settle for fourth [David Coulthard] and sixth places, separated by Jarno Trulli's Jordan. Coulthard took a longer time than team-mate Mika Hakkinen to put in a representative lap, however, having been forced to crawl around the entire circuit on tick-over early in the session.

Jenson Button, Giancarlo Fisichella, Eddie Irvine and Alex Wurz rounded out the top ten, while there were sufficient incidents in the half hour to keep the marshals on their toes. Aside from de la Rosa's accident, Johnny Herbert also left his Jaguar to be craned away from the second part of the Swimming Pool, while Jos Verstappen's Arrows ground to a halt at the top of Beau Rivage shortly after putting the Dutchman at the top of the times.

Michael Schumacher may only have been second in the session, but each time he has been demoted from top spot this weekend, he has bounced back to reclaim it straightaway. Barrichello being fastest in warm-up may yet prove to be the ideal team-mate's contribution.

Race morning warm-up - Monaco Grand Prix.

1. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 22.251secs
2. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 22.307secs
3. Ralf Schumacher Germany Williams-BMW 1min 22.471secs
4. David Coulthard Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1min 22.745secs
5. Jarno Trulli Italy Jordan-Mugen 1min 23.034secs
6. Mika Hakkinen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1min 23.111secs
7. Jenson Button Britain Williams-BMW 1min 23.499secs
8. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Benetton-Playlife 1min 23.600secs
9. Eddie Irvine Britain Jaguar-Cosworth 1min 23.628secs
10. Alex Wurz Austria Benetton-Playlife 1min 24.091secs
11. Heinz-Harald Frentzen Germany Jordan-Mugen 1min 24.115secs
12. Jean Alesi France Prost-Peugeot 1min 24.158secs
13. Johnny Herbert Britain Jaguar-Cosworth 1min 24.380secs
14. Pedro Diniz Brazil Sauber-Petronas 1min 24.413secs
15. Mika Salo Finland Sauber-Petronas 1min 24.455secs
16. Marc Gene Spain Minardi-Fondmetal 1min 24.887secs
17. Jos Verstappen Holland Arrows-Supertec 1min 24.931secs
18. Jacques Villeneuve Canada BAR-Honda 1min 25.090ecs
19. Pedro de la Rosa Spain Arrows-Supertec 1min 25.135secs
20. Ricardo Zonta Brazil BAR-Honda 1min 25.397secs
21. Nick Heidfeld Germany Prost-Peugeot 1min 25.515secs
22. Gaston Mazzacane Argentina Minardi-Fondmetal 1min 26.028secs


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