Mika Hakkinen put the disappointment of his failed start at Magny-Cours behind him to drive the fastest lap on the opening day of the British Grand Prix and lead the practice times with a 1:22.827. His teammate David Coulthard, who is chasing his third consecutive Silverstone win this weekend, was close behind with 1:22.894.
In temperatures much cooler than previous race weekends, and with a shower late in the afternoon session, the Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher were third and fourth. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was fifth for Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda, and Nick Heidfeld completed a top six for Bridgestone in the Red Bull Sauber Petronas. Bridgestone's partner teams have the choice at this race of a tyre that has won grands prix this year and a brand new specification developed for Silverstone.
Adrian Newey, Technical Director, West McLaren Mercedes
"This has been a normal Friday for us with our cars looking strong in practice. However, at previous races we have struggled for the rest of the weekend so we just have to hope that does not happen this time. We have an advantage in that we tested here earlier in the season and we have some knowledge of this track which is not the case with all the circuits we go to, so there are no particular surprises for us here Generally, the tyres offer more grip in cooler conditions."
Tim Holloway, Head of Engineering, Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda
"We are fairly happy with today's performance. We have done literally thousands of kilometres here, with the factory just across the road from the circuit. As we have the choice of a brand new tyre for this race it was important that we did a lot of running today and we feel we have managed to evaluate both specifications well. We are pleased with the consistency of both tyres, we just have to make our decision over which way to go tomorrow. We will monitor closely the weather forecasts for tomorrow and Sunday. We are working on the car all the time but we do need more to help our race performance and we are getting on top of that slowly."
Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport
"Both our harder and softer tyres worked well today in the cooler temperatures, despite their different characteristics so I expect driver preference and race strategies to be the deciding factors in the teams' choice of specification. The harder spec gives more stability through the fast corners but maybe less grip on the slower parts of the track. If the driver prefers that secure feeling in cornering then the harder tyre may be the right choice for him. We will look at wear and degradation data before advising the teams, and of course study the lap times so we can advise which is the quicker tyre over the race distance."