David Coulthard is on track to claim another place on the podium after leading the first practice sessions of the Spanish Grand Prix with a best time of 1:20.107. The West McLaren Mercedes driver has finished all four races this season in the top...
David Coulthard is on track to claim another place on the podium after leading the first practice sessions of the Spanish Grand Prix with a best time of 1:20.107. The West McLaren Mercedes driver has finished all four races this season in the top three and is aiming to build on his joint lead in the drivers' championship. With Bridgestone, his team has a perfect three-year record at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona: Mika Hakkinen has won the race every year since 1998 and Coulthard has finished second. Hakkinen's best time of the day - 1:20.894 - left him 6th fastest. Michael Schumacher, who shares the championship lead with Coulthard, posted a 1:20.880, two places behind his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello who was 3rd. Eddie Irvine was the surprise 2nd fastest driver with a 1:20.615 in his Jaguar. Olivier Panis was 4th for BAR Honda with a 1:20.826.
Adrian Newey - Technical Director - West McLaren Mercedes
"This is an abrasive track so tyre wear could be an issue but until we talk to the Bridgestone engineers we do not know which will be right choice of specification for qualifying tomorrow. We tried both the softer and harder compounds today and, for sure, this is a hard circuit on tyres. It is always difficult to judge where we are in comparison with the other teams on Friday with the usual problem of different fuel loads but I expect Williams and Ferrari to be competitive tomorrow. People are obviously still learning about traction control - we still have a bit of work to do but we are reasonably happy with it."
Malcolm Oastler - Technical Director - Lucky Strike BAR Honda
"Things did not go perfectly at the beginning but we managed to get our act together by the second session. We tried both specifications of tyres on both cars and ended up fairly decisive over which one to go with. Because traction control was not introduced until this race we have had five months to play with it, it has just been a case of getting it ready for Barcelona and for our latest set-up. We have not had a great year to date but that is a question of persevering, fixing the problems and carrying on. Hopefully then the results will come."
Hisao Suganuma - Technical Manager - Bridgestone Motorsport
"Most teams tried both the softer and harder compounds today. The softer gives better grip but the harder was pretty competitive too. We selected the tyre specifications for this race based on all the data we have collected over many tests at this track and things look encouraging. When the track is 'green' like today the wear rate is quite high but as the weekend progresses it will reduce. Traction control seems to help the level of degradation, which is what we expected. From today's data we will advise the teams which specification will suit best their strategies. In theory, this is a two-stop race but our harder compound is capable of one-stop."