Barcelona day 3: Ralf hits form

Despite a poor start to the season, in qualifying terms at least, Ralf Schumacher showed what he's capable of over a flying lap by topping the third day of testing at Barcelona today (Thursday) for Williams-BMW

Barcelona day 3: Ralf hits form

The German lapped in 1m15.352s, almost seven tenths of a second clear of Australian Grand Prix winner David Coulthard (McLaren). Olivier Panis was third fastest for Toyota, but his best effort was over a second shy of DC's time.

Coulthard lost time when his team was forced to make an engine change. He told autosport.com: "We had a bit of a hydraulic problem [which required a new engine], so we didn't get as much running as we had hoped. We got lots of tyre data for the forthcoming races, but it's hard to tell for Brazil because the circuit characteristics are so different."

Coulthard celebrated his 32nd birthday today, and when asked if he felt wiser, as well as older, he quipped: "That I don't know. When I was young I didn't think I'd make it to 30! When you're in F1 you forget about birthdays."

Rubens Barrichello was fourth quickest in the new Ferrari F2003-GA, half a second clear of team-mate Michael Schumacher in a 2002 car. Malaysian Grand Prix winner Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) was sixth, despite stopping with an electrical problem this afternoon, ahead of Jenson Button (BAR), Marc Gene (Williams), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR).



1 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m15.352s 59
2 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes M 1m16.076s 65
3 Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m17.172s 102
4 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari B 1m17.350s 86
5 Michael Schumacher Ferrari* B 1m17.804s 98
6 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m18.166s 100
7 Jenson Button BAR-Honda B 1m18.268s 64
8 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m18.620s 84
9 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber B 1m18.754s 111
10 Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda B 1m19.244s 18

B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin
* denotes 2002 car

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