Coulthard top in German GP Friday practice

Coulthard top in German GP Friday practice

David Coulthard claimed the top spot in the Friday practice for the German Grand Prix, the McLaren driver making a last minute effort to set a 1:15.523 ahead of Renault's Jarno Trulli. Fernando Alonso in the other Renault was third in what was an...

David Coulthard claimed the top spot in the Friday practice for the German Grand Prix, the McLaren driver making a last minute effort to set a 1:15.523 ahead of Renault's Jarno Trulli. Fernando Alonso in the other Renault was third in what was an active start to the weekend after the early morning private test session.

David Coulthard.
Photo by Elmar Vat.
Dry and fine weather greeted the practice and the times at the top rapidly turned over as drivers put in some early activity. Michael Schumacher set a 1:18.186 initially, the Ferrari followed by the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya just one hundredth behind.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was third, a tenth and a half behind Schumacher then there was a gap of over seven tenths to BAR's Jenson Button. Teammate Jacques Villeneuve and the second Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello rounded off the early top six.

Barrichello was next to the top, a 1:18.165, two hundredths ahead of Schumacher. Button displaced the German from second fastest by setting exactly the same time as Barrichello, something not seen very often. Jos, Verstappen, Ralph Firman, Cristiano da Matta and Ralf Schumacher made up the rest of the top ten.

Button continued his charge to go fastest, 1:18.149, just over a hundredth quicker than Barrichello, then was immediately usurped by Mark Webber. The Jaguar man clocked 1:17.229, nearly a second faster than Button. Villeneuve moved up to second, closing the gap to Webber to seven tenths.

Next up was Trulli, who was fastest in private testing earlier this morning, the Italian setting a best of 1:15.617. Ralf followed behind him, over a second off the pace. Further down the order, Coulthard was eleventh, Verstappen improved to thirteenth and Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was at the back of the seventeen drivers to have set a timed lap with twenty minutes gone.

Jordan's Giancarlo Fisichella clocked fifth fastest on his first timed lap and Minardi's new signing Nicolas Kiesa a creditable sixteenth, 3.7 seconds off the pace, ahead of both Saubers and da Matta. Justin Wilson was doing well in his new Jaguar seat, sixth quickest and half a second behind teammate Webber in third.

Da Matta improved to fourteenth, Nick Heidfeld moved his Sauber up to tenth and Button to third, one and a half seconds behind leader Trulli. Montoya, who appeared to have been having a nap, shot up to second, closing the gap to the Renault to seven tenths. Teammate Ralf followed into third.

Michael, Coulthard, Villeneuve, Barrichello and Wilson were all improving their times in the top ten and swapping places regularly. Da Matta climbed to fourth ahead of that pack, just over a second off the pace, with Villeneuve following into fifth. The Canadian was displaced by Webber almost immediately and he in turn by Button.

Alonso was the last man to set a time, with forty-five minutes gone. The young Spaniard pottered about on a couple of installation laps, then charged up to second quickest, just three tenths behind Trulli, on his first flying lap.

Da Matta improved to third, then Montoya to second and Michael to eighth. In the final minutes Coulthard finally dislodged Trulli from the top with a 1:15.523, nine hundredths faster. Wilson moved back into the top ten, Alonso to third, Button to sixth and Webber to fourth.

An active first session with the top six separated by half a second. Ferrari stayed low key, as it seems to do on Friday mornings and McLaren was also anonymous until Coulthard's final attempt. Williams was consistent in the top ten while Renault looked strong.

Wilson did a fine job in his first real test in the Jaguar and although Kiesa ended at the bottom, he was only a couple of tenths behind Verstappen. Final top eight classification: Coulthard, Trulli Alonso, Webber, Montoya, da Matta, Button, R. Schumacher.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Nicolas Kiesa , Justin Wilson , Fernando Alonso , Ralph Firman , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan