Coulthard tops Friday Austrian GP practice

David Coulthard put McLaren at the top of the time sheet in the Friday practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, the Scot setting a best of 1:08.836. Only the first four managed to break the one minute eight seconds barrier; last year's pole time was...

David Coulthard put McLaren at the top of the time sheet in the Friday practice for the Austrian Grand Prix, the Scot setting a best of 1:08.836. Only the first four managed to break the one minute eight seconds barrier; last year's pole time was 1:08.082 set by Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello.

Kimi Raikkonen set the first time of the morning for McLaren, followed by the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya. Jaguar looked good early on, Mark Webber claiming the top time and Antonio Pizzonia in the first six. Renault also was on the pace, Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso second and third.

Giancarlo Fisichella, who was fastest in the morning test session, was in the top six and Jordan team-mate Ralph Firman in the top ten. Michael Schumacher took the fastest time in the first twenty minutes, 1:09.873 for the Ferrari driver.

The Williams' were both in the top ten, although down the order, and the McLarens were outside by the first half-hour. Toyota and Minardi were the back markers. Heinz-Harald Frentzen put his Sauber into a creditable seventh but team-mate Nick Heidfeld was a lowly fifteenth.

Jacques Villeneuve made his way into the top ten and Rubens Barrichello removed Michael from the fastest slot, only to be demoted by Montoya. Kimi Raikkonen also moved into the first ten, as did Jenson Button, the BARs suddenly getting into gear.

Villeneuve outdid himself by setting the fastest time, 1:09.429, with 15 minutes to go and Button up into third. Michael reclaimed the top spot from Villeneuve and Fernando Alonso was hot on his heels, just a tenth behind in second. Jarno Trulli displaced Michael with a 1:08.944, the Renaults having their quick moments.

In the final five minutes it was McLaren's turn to come back, David Coulthard shaving a tenth off Trulli's time. Both Jaguars were back in the top ten while Jordan joined Minardi and Toyota at the bottom. Heidfeld improved ahead of Frentzen, the young German setting the eighth quickest time.

A mixed session with a less than usual outcome: Michael was resigned to fourth fastest while Barrichello wasn't even in the top ten. Jaguar and Renault were on the pace and BAR did some good times. Toyota was disappointing after its performance in Spain, just ahead of the Minardis, while Sauber seemed improved. Final top eight classification: Coulthard, Trulli, Pizzonia, M. Schumacher, Webber, Alonso, Button, Heidfeld.

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