Webber ahead French GP Friday practice

Webber ahead French GP Friday practice

Jaguar's Mark Webber made a last minute dash to set the best time of the Friday practice session for the French Grand Prix, clocking a 1:26.915. The Australian was over a second faster than second placed Ralf Schumacher and third fastest Fernando...

Jaguar's Mark Webber made a last minute dash to set the best time of the Friday practice session for the French Grand Prix, clocking a 1:26.915. The Australian was over a second faster than second placed Ralf Schumacher and third fastest Fernando Alonso. BAR did not take part in the practice, the cars still impounded from yesterday but they have now been released and the team can compete in this afternoon's qualifying.

Mark Webber.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
In wet conditions, Toyota's Cristiano da Matta was first onto the track at the green light along with the pair of McLarens to put in some installation laps. Antonio Pizzonia set the first time, the Jaguar clocking 1:38.029, but was swiftly overtaken by the McLaren of David Coulthard with 1:31.629. Kimi Raikkonen followed with a 1:31.126.

Ralph Firman was initially third on his first timed effort and the pair of Toyotas, Olivier Panis ahead of Cristiano da Matta, in the top six. Giancarlo Fisichella took second for Jordan and Ralf Schumacher was the first Williams out, followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, their initial times eighth and tenth quickest respectively.

Both Saubers were in the top ten while Webber took the fifth fastest spot then Heinz-Harald Frentzen climbed to third. After twenty minutes Ferrari put in an appearance with Rubens Barrichello, who made tenth quickest.

Frentzen was on a charge, taking the top slot with a 1:30.092 and Montoya moved up to sixth ahead of Ralf, who then promptly outpaced the Colombian to third fastest. Renault's Jarno Trulli moved into second, half a second behind Frentzen and was immediately ousted by Ralf, followed by Webber into third.

Michael Schumacher posted thirteenth on his first run, as Barrichello moved up to fifth, then improved to sixth. Still lapping, Barrichello then put in a 1:29.910 to go fastest, the first into the 1:29 bracket. Michael went three tenths better with 1:29.547

Trulli and Coulthard improved to second and fourth respectively, Raikkonen and Alonso to sixth and seventh. Ralf took third but Montoya was lapping just in the top ten, ahead of Fisichella. Pizzonia moved up to sixth, the times ever changing, but Michael still held on to the top spot.

Toyota and Minardi were down at the back, Jos Verstappen over five seconds off the pace. Trulli overtook Michael with 1:28.296, nearly four tenths up on the Ferrari. In the last ten minutes Panis improved to sixth and Alonso beat teammate Trulli to the top by three hundredths of a second, 1:28.260.

Webber then shot ahead by over a second, 1:26.915, followed by Ralf. It was a very active session, the times and positions changing all the time. Michelin held the fort at the end, seven runners in the top ten, Michael Schumacher being the best Bridgestone shod car with sixth fastest. Final top eight classification: Webber, R. Schumacher, Alonso, Trulli, Pizzonia, M. Schumacher, Coulthard, Panis.

BAR cleared to race

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