Free practice 1: McLaren lead early running

The McLaren-Mercedes team stamped its authority all over the first free practice session for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix with Mika Hakkinen leading home team mate David Coulthard at the top of the time sheets

Free practice 1: McLaren lead early running

Coulthard was the first of the frontrunners to put in a quick lap after everyone had completed their mandatory installation tour of the 2.688-mile A1-Ring circuit at the beginning of the session. The Scot dipped into the 1m12s bracket and there he stayed until Hakkinen upped the stakes with 20 minutes to go.

The Finn has won in Austria twice in the last three years and immediately showed his pace by beating Coulthard's time and then went on to be the only man to set a time below 1m12s with a time of 1m11.751s.

Coulthard was forced to make a late charge to hold onto his second place after first Kimi Raikkonen, who finished fourth fastest, and then Rubens Barrichello put in late laps to move up the order.

While Barrichello settled for third, the Brazilian's Ferrari team mate Michael Schumacher kept a typically low profile and finished sixth. The German did not complete a flying lap until halfway through the session and did only eight laps in total, fewer than anyone else bar Heinz-Harald Frentzen whose Jordan-Honda was suffering from mechanical problems.

Ralf Schumacher was unsurprisingly the highest placed Michelin runner after putting his Williams-BMW in fifth place despite a violent spin at the first gear Remus corner.

Enrique Bernoldi finished an impressive seventh with his Arrows team mate Jos Verstappen just two places behind in ninth. Verstappen had a trip across the gravel as he got to grips with his A22, which seemed a handful in the corners, but set the fastest speed trap time of 188mph.

Olivier Panis continued to give his BAR-Honda team mate Jacques Villeneuve a run for his money by finishing eighth while the 1997 world champ found himself 13th when the chequered flag was waved. Nick Heidfeld continued his run of form for the Sauber team by rounding out the top 10.

Practice Session 1 Results, click here.

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