Free practice 4: Raikkonen pips Schuey

Kimi Raikkonen joined Michael Schumacher in the 1m44s in final free practice for the Belgian GP to set up a potentially thrilling qualifying session at Spa. Raikkonen beat Schumacher's best from the third session by just less than a tenth of a second, while team-mate David Coulthard backed up his efforts in third

Free practice 4: Raikkonen pips Schuey

Rubens Barrichello improved his time but slipped to fourth, while the Williams drivers also closed in, leaving less than a second between the top six. A similar amount of time covered positions seventh through to 17th.

Despite a flurry of on-track activity, the session was 10 minutes old before anybody improved their time. Olivier Panis broke the mould, lapping three tenths faster to leapfrog Allan McNish into seventh and 'best of the rest' position.

Ralf Schumacher was the first of the big hitters to make an impact on the timesheets as he split the McLarens in fourth. Team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya did even better, lowering Michael Schumacher's best time through the first sector and improving on his own personal best elsewhere to snatch second spot.

There was a big improvement for Jaguar's Eddie Irvine, who strung together three strong sectors to put himself in the top 10. Pedro de la Rosa followed Irvine's lead and supplanted the Ulsterman in eighth place midway through the session.

Giancarlo Fisichella split the Jags to go ninth. This became 10th when Mika Salo pulled a cracking lap of 1m46.324s to slot into fourth, although his position was short-lived as Kimi Raikkonen improved by nearly two seconds to move to the head of the times with a 1m44.8s.

As Michael Schumacher went out to respond he set a new best through the first sector but lost the rear of the Ferrari in the first part of Stavelot and spun through 360 degrees. David Coulthard also set a new best through the first split, but could not maintain the pace through the whole lap and took third from Montoya.

Both Renault drivers were briefly in the top 10 until Jacques Villeneuve found some pace and improved from 18th to 10th. But seventh ultimately went to Salo, who was followed by Panis and in form de la Rosa, with Jenson Button rounding out the top 10.

Ralf Schumacher had a brief spin when pushing to make up the 100th of a second he needed to move ahead of Montoya. Anthony Davidson also had a brief off at Stavelot. Although the Englishman managed 12 laps of running he failed to improve his time and dropped to the foot of the sheets as team-mate Mark Webber had a trouble-free session and took two seconds off his previous best.

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