Canadian GP - Practice report

David Coulthard ended Friday practice for the Canadian Grand Prix on top. He shaded Schumacher by a mere tenth of a second, to keep his title bid firmly on track

Canadian GP - Practice report

In the first session, Michael Schumacher bided his time until the end, before topping the times with a 1m21.304s lap.

The points leader had hidden his light under a bushel previously, letting his team mate Rubens Barrichello set the pace.

Coulthard took over early in the second session, despite a spin turn 7/8, at which most incidents occurred - Giancarlo Fisichella managed to spin there twice in the second session.

Mika Hakkinen was visibly on the limit in his attempts to get on anything like level terms with the Ferraris and his team mate. He even left the track on one occasion. A distinct lack of grip didn't help, but the amount the World Champion was pushing no doubt also contributed to a 'banana skin' moment at turn 12/13, when he skated across the grass in the first session. A distant fifth was the result.

Making a more consistent than usual cameo in the top six were both Jaguars - Irvine ahead of team mate Herbert in the first session, while Herbert turned the tables in the afternoon, to record a splendid fourth.

The Arrows Supertec cars also looked impressive: Jos Verstappen was seventh, in the morning, to once again be top Supertec powered car. Pedro de la Rosa had recorded fastest straightline speed on his way to 12th fastest, a not-unusual occurrence for the Arrows cars these days. A performance that suggested effective aerodynamics and a great improvement in Supertec power from the dated powerplant that was the source of so many complaints in the past.

Their performance fell off a little in the afternoon, to be superceded by Trulli's Jordan, Salo's Sauber and Fisichella's Benetton. Home boy Jacques Villeneuve also scraped into the top ten in the glacial BAR 02.

Ralf Schumacher finally ended the 'will-he-won't-he' saga by driving several laps in the first practice session - though he didn't set a proper time, and just ran a few installation tours. Some claim that Williams may yet claim force majeure, and put Junqueira in the car - though this is unlikely.

He finally managed to set a lap in the afternoon - twelve of them in fact. However, Williams personnel claimed that his limited running was down to an oil pressure problem with the car, and not linked to the leg wound.

To see full results from the first practice session at the Canadian GP, click here.

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