Coulthard fastest in British GP first practice

Coulthard fastest in British GP first practice

David Coulthard topped the times in the first practice session for the British Grand Prix, the McLaren man posting a 1:20.039 in front of his home crowd. Renault's Fernando Alonso held the top spot for most of the session until Coulthard made a...

David Coulthard topped the times in the first practice session for the British Grand Prix, the McLaren man posting a 1:20.039 in front of his home crowd. Renault's Fernando Alonso held the top spot for most of the session until Coulthard made a last minute dash, followed by Jaguar's Mark Webber into second.

David Coulthard.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.
The weather was dry but ominously cloudy and the track was low on grip due to the recent rain. It was a slow start, with only a few drivers venturing out in the first ten minutes. Olivier Panis was first to the top of the times, the Toyota setting a 1:21.435 ahead of Rubens Barrichello. Jarno Trulli was the first Renault out, going third quickest, with the Schumacher brothers, Ralf ahead, behind him.

Trulli's teammate Alonso shot to the top of the times when he appeared, a 1:20.625 for the Spaniard, eight tenths faster than Panis. The pair of McLarens, Jenson Button and Juan Pablo Montoya made up the rest of the top ten with fifteen minutes gone.

Cristiano da Matta replaced Raikkonen in tenth and the Finn retaliated to take fifth from Ralf. Webber joined the top ten, putting the Jaguar ninth and was immediately ousted by the Jordan of Ralph Firman. By half way through only Antonio Pizzonia and Justin Wilson had yet to show.

Pizzonia popped it into fourteenth when he appeared; Coulthard geared up to second, Ralf to third and Michael to seventh. The top five were less than a second apart, the top ten 1.5 and Wilson at the bottom 3.5 adrift. Barrichello replaced Coulthard in second, just three hundredths shy of Alonso but there was no shifting the Spaniard from the top spot.

Panis improved to third and Trulli to fourth, more action going on in the last twenty minutes. Michael moved up one place to sixth while the Saubers circulated at the bottom of the times, just ahead of the Minardis. Button and Pizzonia squabbled over thirteenth until Jenson suddenly jumped up to fifth with the fastest first sector time of the session.

Da Matta climbed to seventh and Heinz-Harald Frentzen moved ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld to sixteenth, the pair having a fairly dismal morning. Michael seemed resolutely stuck to sixth fastest and Montoya improved slightly to eighth. Panis bettered his time marginally but stayed third and Fisichella made an effort for twelfth, only to be replaced by Jacques Villeneuve.

Barrichello stopped on track in the first sector with a blown engine, while Alonso consolidated his top time by a couple of tenths. Pizzonia climbed to fifth, just four tenths off the pace and Trulli had a minor spin. Coulthard finally dislodged Alonso in the dying minutes, the Scot's time a 1:20.039, almost half a second up, and Webber into second, three tenths behind. A fairly sedate session overall. Final top eight classification: Coulthard, Webber, Alonso, Barrichello, Panis, Trulli, Button, Pizzonia.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Sauber , McLaren , Minardi , Jordan