Free practice 4: Coulthard puts in a late flier

David Coulthard showed that he is fully committed to getting pole position for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix by setting the fastest time in the final free practice session before this afternoon's (Saturday's) qualifying

Free practice 4: Coulthard puts in a late flier

With just a minute to go it looked like Michael Schumacher would hold on to the top spot from the morning's first free practice as the Ferrari ace spent much of the second session at the head of the time sheets, but Coulthard had other ideas and put his McLaren fastest with a flying lap in the dying seconds.

The top four slots remained a battle between Formula 1's Big Guns Ferrari and McLaren and despite being hindered by Minardi traffic Rubens Barrichello managed to find a clear lap towards the end of the session to go third fastest, demoting Mika Hakkinen to fourth.

With the top four trading fastest sector times throughout the session and both Williams drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher close behind in fifth and sixth, grabbing pole for Sunday's race promises to be no walk in the park.

Despite traction control concerns voiced yesterday by BMW Motorsport chief Gehard Berger, the Williams-BMW squad continues to be a major threat. Despite an errant deer running out of the Spielberg forests in front of Montoya, the Colombian's best effort was only 0.193s behind Hakkinen.

Ralf Schumacher was also charging and was clearly keen to get ahead of his rookie team mate as the German spun at the tight Remus curve after completing one of his flying laps.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen continued to snap at the heels of the top teams by putting his Jordan-Honda into seventh spot, closely followed by team mate Jarno Trulli who finished eighth with a replacement V10 fitted in his EJ11 after a blow up in the first session.

Despite a controlled spin at the final A1 Kurve, Nick Heidfeld managed to move into ninth spot ahead of the British American Racing duo of Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve in 10th and 11th.

Jos Verstappen provided the excitement of the session when his Arrows A22 suffered a mechanical failure in the 100mph-Lauda Kurve, sending the Dutchman flying across the gravel trap and into the tyre barrier. The car is expected to be repaired in time for qualifying.

For practice session 4 results, click here.

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