Atlas F1 News Service, a Reuters report

Friday Second Free Practice - Spanish GP

Friday April 27th, 2001

David Coulthard during today's sessionMcLaren's David Coulthard was fastest in Friday's practice for the Spanish Grand Prix and Eddie Irvine revived the Jaguar roar by lapping second quickest.

The first practice sessions since the end of 1993 to see the legal use of traction control had joint championship leader Coulthard out front with a best of 1:20.107.

That compared with Giancarlo Fisichella's official 1997 race lap record of 1:22.242 and world champion Michael Schumacher's 2000 pole time of 1:20.974. Schumacher, who shares the championship lead with Coulthard after four races, was fifth fastest on Friday behind Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello in third and BAR's Olivier Panis.

Times are likely to fall further in Saturday's official qualifying if it remains dry at a track where McLaren have finished first and second on race day for the past three years.

Briton Irvine responded well to pressure from his new Spanish team mate Pedro de la Rosa. De la Rosa is a local who knows the track well and will be making his Jaguar debut in Sunday's race after replacing Brazilian Luciano Burti. At one point the former Arrows driver was fifth fastest in 1:21.184 but Irvine replied by pulling out a late lap of 1:20.615.

Cleaner Cornering

The return of traction control, which reduces wheelspin and allows for cleaner cornering, did not make spins and skids a thing of the past. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya did both into a gravel trap during the first session and was followed later, and at the same point, by the Jordan of Heinz-Harald Frentzen who went backwards into the tyre wall.

Canadian Jacques Villeneuve's involvement in the first session ended when his BAR belched flames from the rear as he left the pit lane. The former champion parked his car against a wall. Montoya, who led for half the Brazilian Grand Prix but has yet to finish any of his four races in Formula One, had no more luck in the afternoon when he pulled over with a smoking engine.

McLaren's Mika Hakkinen, the two times champion who has won the past three races in Barcelona but has scored just four points so far this season, was sixth fastest. The Finn also went into the gravel in the afternoon.

Brazilian Luciano Burti got closer to his new Prost team mate Jean Alesi than his Argentine predecessor Gaston Mazzacane had, but was still a second adrift of the French veteran. Burti's best time was 1:23.885 while Alesi's, in 15th place, was 1:22.843. Burti was 21st, sandwiched between the two Minardis.

Benetton's Jenson Button had been outpaced by the Minardi of Spaniard Fernando Alonso in the first session as the Renault-powered team complained of very low grip and a lot of understeer. But the 21-year-old Briton made up some ground in the afternoon and was 19th fastest to team mate Fisichella's 18th.

Pos. Driver        Team                    Times              
 1.  Coulthard     McLaren Mercedes   (B)  1:20.107  212.566 km/h
 2.  Irvine        Jaguar Cosworth    (M)  1:20.615    +    0.508
 3.  Barrichello   Ferrari            (B)  1:20.823    +    0.716
 4.  Panis         BAR Honda          (B)  1:20.826    +    0.719
 5.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari            (B)  1:20.880    +    0.773
 6.  Hakkinen      McLaren Mercedes   (B)  1:20.894    +    0.787
 7.  De La Rosa    Jaguar Cosworth    (M)  1:21.184    +    1.077
 8.  R.Schumacher  Williams BMW       (M)  1:21.259    +    1.152
 9.  Villeneuve    BAR Honda          (B)  1:21.401    +    1.294
10.  Trulli        Jordan Honda       (B)  1:21.647    +    1.540
11.  Raikkonen     Sauber Petronas    (B)  1:21.786    +    1.679
12.  Heidfeld      Sauber Petronas    (B)  1:21.808    +    1.701
13.  Montoya       Williams BMW       (M)  1:22.020    +    1.913
14.  Frentzen      Jordan Honda       (B)  1:22.221    +    2.114
15.  Alesi         Prost Acer         (M)  1:22.843    +    2.736
16.  Bernoldi      Arrows Asiatech    (B)  1:22.888    +    2.781
17.  Verstappen    Arrows Asiatech    (B)  1:22.962    +    2.855
18.  Fisichella    Benetton Renault   (M)  1:22.971    +    2.864
19.  Button        Benetton Renault   (M)  1:23.201    +    3.094
20.  Alonso        European Minardi   (M)  1:23.801    +    3.694
21.  Burti         Prost Acer         (M)  1:23.885    +    3.778
22.  Marques       European Minardi   (M)  1:25.540    +    5.433

All timing unofficial

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