Motor racing: Villeneuve has rocket for Rosset

IT HAS its detractors and it is, in essence, a nonsensical track for Formula One racing cars, but the old streets invigorated the show here yesterday and Jacques Villeneuve, the world champion, predicted more of the same in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

Not that the circuit can take credit, or blame, for catching out Villeneuve at the end of practice. The Canadian had no doubt the responsibility was entirely Ricardo Rosset's.

The climax of the day which saw Mika Hakkinen take his familiar place at the top and Michael Schumacher smash into the barrier exiting Casino Square, came when Villeneuve and Rosset collided negotiating a right-hander and the former leapt from his Williams to admonish the Brazilian.

Changed into his civvies and revealing his blue-tinged white hair, the Canadian had no inclination to moderate his opinions. "He has no right to be in Formula One," Villeneuve said. "I went over to him and pointed to his mirrors. From the first race of the season he's not been looking in his mirrors. He's always being overtaken so he should be used to looking in his mirrors by now.

"Every time I'm behind him I wonder what he's going to do. He is a liability. But I suppose it's good that some drivers are paying to be in Formula One," he added with heavy sarcasm.

Rosset, who contributed $5m (pounds 3.08m) to Tyrrell's budget this season, has been roundly criticised for his lack of pace and awareness. He missed the cut in qualifying at Barcelona, a fortnight ago. He insisted, however, this crash was not his fault: "I didn't see him. I was concentrating on my lap. That was not an overtaking point. Two cars cannot go through there.

"He shouted at me a bit but I don't know what he said. He shouldn't have been overtaking there anyway."

Ironically, the man who took on Rosset - a decision which caused Ken Tyrrell to walk out in disgust - is Villeneuve's former manager, Craig Pollock. As Rosset gave his version of events, Pollock could not contain a revealing grin. "I think if Jacques sees me he'll punch me on the nose," he said. Rosset was later warned by the stewards as to his future conduct.

Villeneuve was ninth and Rosset 18th. Hakkinen, the championship leader, registered the fastest time yesterday, although his team-mate and closest rival, David Coulthard, was beaten to second place by Giancarlo Fisichella, driving a Benetton-Mecachrome.

Schumacher was placed fifth, but his stunning driving in the Ferrari raised hopes that he might present a genuine threat to McLaren on Sunday. Adrian Newey, McLaren's technical director, said: "Schumacher is always the major worry."

The German said he was unperturbed by the accident which broke the front left wheel of his car. He said: "I was trying too hard and lost it. But although we are behind the McLarens, the gap is not too big."

Damon Hill was a meagre 17th after another troubled day in the Jordan- Mugen and he had time to stand and admire the work of Schumacher. "He has fantastic car control and he's always on the case," Hill said.

Eddie Irvine in the other Ferrari, was sixth, and Johnny Herbert, in a Sauber, seventh. Flavio Briatore, former team principal at Benetton, is to take charge of the Mecachrome engine development from next year.

LEADING PRACTICE TIMES (Monaco Grand Prix): 1 M Hakkinen (Fin) McLaren- Mercedes 1min 21.937sec; 2 G Fisichella (It) Benetton-Mecachrome 1:22.205; 3 D Coulthard (GB) McLaren-Mercedes; 1:22.757 4 H H Frentzen (Ger) Williams- Renault 1:23.656; 5 M Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:23.685; 6 E Irvine (GB) Ferrari 1:23.765; 7 J Herbert (GB) Sauber-Petronas 1:23.914; 8 A Wurz (Aut) Benetton-Mecachrome 1:23.946; 9 J Villeneuve (Can) Williams-Renault 1:24.081; 10 J Trulli (It) Prost-Peugeot 1:24.191 11 P Diniz (Bra) Arrows- Yamaha 1:24.735; 12 J Alesi Sauber-Petronas 1:24.901; 13 O Panis Prost- Peugeot 1:25.119; 14 M Salo (Fin) Arrows-Yamaha 1:25.400; 15 J Magnussen (Den) Stewart-Ford 1:25.836; 16 R Barrichello (Bra) Stewart-Ford 1:25.863; 17 D Hill (GB) Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:25.947; 18 R Rosset (Bra) Tyrrell- Ford 1:26.625; 19 T Takagi (Japan) Tyrrell-Ford 1:26.761; 20 R Schumacher (Ger) Jordan-Mugen-Honda 1:27.160; 21 E Tuero (Arg) Minardi-Ford1:27.844; 22 S Nakano (Japan) Minardi-Ford 1:28.652.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on Scotland's oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Sport
footballBayern Munich vs Manchester City match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week