Atlas F1 News Service

McLaren Prove Top Form Despite Newey's Absence

Friday March 30th, 2001

David Coulthard, todayDavid Coulthard provided McLaren technical director Adrian Newey with a boost as he topped the times in Friday's free practice to end the Ferrari dominance.

Newey chose to miss the Sao Paulo race to concentrate on development work at the team's Woking factory and Coulthard handed him some positive news by going more than one second quicker than his rivals.

"I am pleasantly surprised with the progress made with the car since the last race," Coulthard admitted.

"I don't know whether it's enough but I believe we will be closer to our main competitors this weekend."

Finn Mika Hakkinen, who was fifth quickest, agreed with his team-mate's praise of the MP4-16, but was cautious about making predictions for qualifying on Saturday.

"I'm comfortable with the performance of the car," said Hakkinen. "We have made progress, but it's too soon to speculate on how much until tomorrow.

"We were running on good fuel levels and didn't use many tyres, so all in all two pretty good practice sessions."

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