Thursday May 17th, 2001
With temperatures as high as 33 degrees, McLaren's David Coulthard smashed on Thursday the Valencia circuit record on the third and penultimate day of testing at the Spanish track, where the Scot bettered teammate Mika Hakkinen's record by a massive half a second.
Austrian Grand Prix winner Coulthard, who also topped the timesheets on Wednesday was the busiest man at the Ricardo Tormo circuit today, completing 85 laps to end the session with a time of 1:12.742, nearly 1.5 seconds ahead of German driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen with the Jordan.
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, who saw his running cut short after spinning off the track twice with his BAR, was third quickest, with Jaguar's Eddie Irvine in fourth and fastest of the Michelin runners. Meanwhile, DTM driver Darren Turner continued working with the second McLaren, setting an impressive fifth quickest time.
Sauber's Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix last Sunday, replaced teammate Nick Heidfeld at the wheel of the Swiss team's C20, the young Finn setting the sixth fastest time of the day after 80 laps. Raikkonen continued working on the new electronic differential as well as carrying out an intensive tyre evaluation programme.
"It was good to be back in the car again, and on my second visit to Valencia I'm beginning to feel really comfortable with the track," said Raikkonen. "We did a lot of running today and got through our programme. The car behaved perfectly."
Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi posted the eighth fastest time, while teammate Jos Verstappen, who joined the session today, was slowest. Both Arrows drivers progressed with tyre development for Bridgestone, testing compounds and construction in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. Software work was also carried out on the A22s to further develop the traction control systems.
Juan Pablo Montoya took over from teammate Ralf Schumacher, as the Williams team continued working on improving their traction control system for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix. Montoya was ninth today, while the team's test driver Marc Gene was thirteenth more than a second behind the Colombian.
Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa saw his progress hampered today, as his Jaguar suffered electrical problems during the morning session. However, after setting the eleventh quickest time, de la Rosa admitted he was pleased, and looking forward to drive Irvine's car, which included a new aerodynamic package.
"This morning I did tyre work," de la Rosa said. "I worked on set ups for Monaco and I'm pleased with the way it went. I look forward to trying the new developments tomorrow, when Andre (Lotterer) takes over from me and I take over from Eddie."
The Valencia testing session will conclude on Friday.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:12.742
2. Frentzen Jordan-Honda (B) 1:14.136
3. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:14.225
4. Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:14.239
5. Turner McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:14.636
6. Raikkonen Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:14.721
7. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:14.772
8. Bernoldi Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:14.775
9. Montoya Williams-BMW (M) 1:14.777
10. Trulli Jordan-Honda (B) 1:14.853
11. de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:15.051
12. Alesi Prost-Acer (M) 1:15.090
13. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:15.394
14. Verstappen Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:15.697
All Timing Unofficial