Free practice 2: Coulthard rules the roost

David Coulthard heads into the second day of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend on top of the pile after a last gasp effort saw the Scot leap to the top of the time sheets in the second free practice session, ahead of McLaren team mate Mika Hakkinen

Free practice 2: Coulthard rules the roost

Coulthard looked to have been usurped by the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello after the Brazilian set the second fastest time with just minutes to go, demoting the Scot down to third place. But Coulthard proceeded to leapfrog both Barrichello and Hakkinen, who had been top for almost the entire session, with a lap of 1m11.245s after the chequered flag had been waved.

Barrichello finished third, two places ahead of Ferrari team mate Michael Schumacher, who has never finished higher than third at the A1-Ring. The German wound up fifth despite both Ferraris running in tandem late in the session - Barrichello improved his time, but Schumacher did not.

Ralf Schumacher continued to take the fight to Formula 1's 'Big Two' by putting his Williams-BMW in fourth place. The Grove-based team's powerful Munich-built V10 is expected to be a definite advantage this weekend on a track where much of the lap is at full throttle.

Nick Heidfeld finished sixth for the ever-improving Sauber team while the Swiss outfit's second young star Kimi Raikkonen had to settle for eighth.

Heinz-Harald Frenzten was able to move up the time sheets after being thwarted by mechanical problems during the first session. The Jordan ace was the highest-placed Honda driver in seventh with Olivier Panis next up from the rival British American Racing squad in ninth, just ahead of team mate Jacques Villeneuve in 10th.

After two top 10 times for the Arrows team in the day's first free practice, Jos Verstappen and Enrique Bernoldi had torrid times during the second session dropping to 14th and 16th respectively. Both drivers spun with Verstappen heading into the gravel on the final A1-Kurve and Bernoldi disappearing in a cloud of dust as he attempted to return to the pits.

Jenson Button had a similarly fraught session and found himself a disappointing last after his Benetton B201 was engulfed in a cloud of smoke with just five minutes gone after his Renault engine dramatically expired.

"There was loads of smoke," said Button, "I definitely saw that and that's the end of our session. I don't think there's going to be a huge difference [in performance] this weekend. We just have to hang in there..."

Practice Session 2 Results, click here.


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