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The View From England

Well, of course the story everybody's interested in is how Lola & Stewart performed. No? Oh, perhaps they wanted to know about the progress of our favourite Brit driver, Johnny Herbert?

Ah... well if it's not that lot then it can only be our Damon.

Well here it is:

Damon came thirteenth fastest in free practice. That's not too bad, actually. It's got to be the highest anybody's seen an Arrows for a long time. No doubt someone will come along and say that Arrows actually did really well at such and such a GP last year. But truth be told, I don't really care. It's too early in the morning for that sort of research.

Hill actually seemed quite happy about it. And no surprise - on the form the team showed during pre-season testing they'd have probably been lucky to beat Lola out.

That's right - dear old Lola who rushed their car through in just a few weeks now seem to be playing the role that Forti and Pacific used to - only not quite so bad. They're not *that* far off the pace and you can see how a bit of development could help them compete with the mid to back runners. So long as they don't consistenlty prop up the back row of the grid they'll be able to keep the sponsors happy.

Schumacher made a fine job of putting his Ferrari on the front. Heinz Harald Frentzen doing well in coming second ahead of Villeneuve in Fourth.

The real fun starts tomorrow when qualifying starts. We'll see the real positions that the cars are capable of achieving.

Thank God for TV!

Dave Coveney.


Race Day : March 9th 1997

Trouble and Strife in Oz

Our Australian Correspondent, Peter Anderson reports on the media build up to the GP.

We had a real televisual treat last night. Murray Walker giving us a run-through of the track on "The Footy Show" through which a bunch of dogs owned by rugby league stars ran. How very amusing. Murray didn't seem to know the difference and it was all rather amusing.

Over on Channel 7 we had Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset being tucked into bed by some poor cadet journalist who copped a pinch on the bum from Sospiri - "oh, he's the Italian," - straight after they had been racing on a Scalextric track. Vincenzo looked particularly disappointed when he had to go to bed. Of course, the bed was one of those racing-car bases. When she could get sense out of the drivers, they just talked media bollocks about doing well. Methinks they are staring down the barrel of a DNQ and they know it.

Channel 10 continued their good-but-awful Mika Hakkinen interview on Sports Tonight and gave the Melbourne Public Transport dispute a serve. Basically all the tram drivers and bus drivers are on strike. Premier Kennett called it a betrayal, but if you knew anything about Jeff Kennett, he's a fine fellow to be calling people traitors. The bottom line is, this weekend is going to be a bit of a shitfight on Melbourne's streets.

This morning's Daily Telegraph has two-thirds of a page of "news." They dispatched some clown to Schumacher's press conference where Ron Walker shook Schumacher's hand and said what a lovely fellow he is. The journalist took to insulting the Grand Prix circus saying they should all be certified and basically gave Schumacher a bollocking about being arrogant. He said that beside "the tall imposing Walker...sat a short, grey-haired gentleman you might not have noticed even if he had arrived by parachute." Yep, Bernie Ecclestone.

Beside that story was the by-now ubiquitous Schumacher-playing-down-his-chances story.

The Sydney Morning Herald's 'Drive' supplement contained a BIG story about Jackie Stewart's Stewart-Ford team. "Scot to Trot" contained actual fact (gasp!) and apart from saying Rubens Barrichello is a good driver was surprisingly well-informed and written. Wow! I wasn't ready for that.


Forecast for Melbourne Issued at 1159 on Thursday 6 March 1997

Humid and partly cloudy with local showers and thunderstorms. Moderate east to northeasterly wind and fresh afternoon sea breezes.

Max 27

Humid. Thundery. Freshening northerly wind. Min 15 Max 30

Shower or two. Min 15 Max 21

Mainly fine. Min 14 Max 20


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