Chaos reigned in the first session when a red flag was shown on the screens. This situation was radioed through to the drivers on track, and Christian Klien suffered as a result along with other teams. The red flag was shown in error as there was no incident on the circuit and after a few seconds, the clock started again.
As Martin Brundle said, “It threw a banana skin out there” and many teams were left feeling confused and annoyed. The second session was delayed while the race directors tried to resolve the issue, and Jacqques Villeneuve’s time was allowed. However, Klien was left in the drop-zone, much to the disbelief of team boss Christian Horner.
The second session provided no timing errors, and instead gave us some fantastic lap times that continued to tumble. Two big names that failed to make the top ten were Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian was held up by Villeneuve’s BMW Sauber and Renault suggested it was as much as seven tenths. At the annoyance of the situation and the prospect of starting his second race in a row outside the top ten, Fisichella stormed into the BMW garage to have his say.
The final session saw Alonso and Schumacher battling it out for pole in an genuinely pleasing qualifying session.