Light at the end of the tunnel for McLaren 04 Jul 2004
Updated car adds much-needed hope to 2004 campaign
After a disastrous start to the 2004 season, the McLaren team had great hopes invested into the newly revised MP4-19B that made its debut at Magnys-Cours.
Fortunately for the Woking-based team it was quickly clear that the new car is a vast improvement on the outgoing version. David Coulthard finished second-fastest in the first Saturday practice session in France. And Kimi Raikkonen was top of the time sheets in the second, with a fastest lap of 1:14.513.
Raikkonen made a mistake in qualifying, ending up down in ninth place - but David Coulthard managed to put himself third on the grid, behind Schumacher and Alonso. He suffered from a disappointing start to the race as his launch system did not seem to work as well as those around him and he dropped down to fifth.
But the race pace of the two McLarens was relatively good and they came home in formation, Coulthard sixth and Raikkonen seventh. The results put the Woking team seven points clear of Sauber in fifth place of the Constructors' Championship, although it will be hoping for a further improvement in fortune in the second half of the season.