Friday free practice review - Coulthard again 01 Aug 2003
Just as he did at Silverstone a fortnight ago, David Coulthard gave himself a boost by setting the fastest Friday morning practice time in Hockenheim this morning.
The Scot lapped his McLaren MP4/17D in 1m 15.523s to beat the on-form Renaults of Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso, who were next on 1m 15.617s and 1m 15.797s respectively.
"I have to say the car felt good and I'm pleased with my time," Coulthard said. "It's a good start to the weekend and I hope to be able to build on that this afternoon."
It was a session when everyone struggled for grip in the increasingly intense heat. A lot of drivers slid off the road but were able to continue thanks to the tarmac run-off areas. This was particularly useful in Turn One, which saw most of the action. Jenson Button went off there twice, Mark Webber four times, Jacques Villeneuve twice, and Nick Heidfeld, Michael Schumacher, Giancarlo Fisichella and Juan Pablo Montoya all went off once, all at different times.
Turn 12, going into the stadium section, was also tricky, catching out Ralf Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Jos Verstappen and Webber, while Michael Schumacher also had an off in Turn Six and a spin in Turn Three. Nobody, however, did any serious damage, though some aero aids were a bit battered by the end of the hour.
Despite all his adventures Webber was fourth fastest for Jaguar in 1m 15.799s, with Montoya fifth, the final runner below 1m 16s, on 1m 15.890s.
Toyota was in good shape with Cristiano da Matta sixth best on 1m 16.109s in another 'home' race for the Cologne-based team, but while team mate Olivier Panis was only half a second adrift on 1m 16.602s the difference between them was worth four places.
Button was seventh, on 1m 16.187s, followed by Ralf Schumacher (1m 16.401s) and Jaguar new boy Justin Wilson, who was still learning the best way to set up his R4 on his way to ninth-fastest 1m 16.568s.
Seeing Michael Schumacher down in 11th place on 1m 16.814s was not what many had expected, but Ferrari traditionally focuses on race work on a Friday morning so not too much should be read into that. Team mate Rubens Barrichello was only 16th, on 1m 17.361s.
Villeneuve ended up 12th on 1m 16.945s, just ahead of Fisichella (1m 17.050s) and Raikkonen (1m 17.284s). Ralph Firman was the last man in the 1m 17s with 1m 17.842s for 17th, with Heidfeld only 18th on 1m 18.121s.
In the Minardi camp newcomer Nicolas Kiesa did well to lap within three tenths of a second of team leader Jos Verstappen. The Dutchman recorded 1m 18.791s, the Dane 1m 19.030s.
For the practice times in full click here