Free practice 2: Coulthard rises to the top

After an inauspicious start to his French Grand Prix, David Coulthard leapt from the bottom of the time sheets after session one to claim fastest time in the second session by 0.221s. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher did not improve his time of 1m16.474s and was pushed into second place

Free practice 2: Coulthard rises to the top

Coulthard could not post a time in the first session after a fuel pump problem limited him to just one out-lap for the whole of the first hour.

"The car was jumping and jerking because of the fuel pump problems," recounted Coulthard. "I kept whacking the back of my head - it's probably the most painful lap I've done of my life."

He bounced back by setting his quickest time on his first flying lap and ended the session having completed only nine laps, compared to Schumacher's 25.

Normal order was restored as the front runners notched up their times after a sparse first session. While the Prosts of Jean Alesi and Nick Heidfeld were at the sharp end after the first session, both Jordans and Rubens Barrichello were propping up the bottom. The Prosts were slowly pushed down the time sheet as the second session drew to an end and Barrichello went fourth fastest while Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished seventh and 10th. Last year's winner was clearly in relaxed mood, as Frenzten did not post a time until halfway through the second session.

A lack of grip at the last tight corner onto the pit straight caught out several drivers. Ralf Schumacher spun his Williams and lit up the rear tyres to put him back on the way to ninth place. There was clearly an overall lack of grip on the track, as both Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta had trips into the gravel. The grip level will no doubt improve as more rubber gets laid down during the course of the weekend.

How representative today's times are and whether the time sheet looks the same this time tomorrow remains to be seen. David Coulthard will certainly hope so...

For full results of practice session 2,
click here.

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