Free practice one: Coulthard on top

The top three in the Formula 1 World Championship let the rest of the field do track-cleaning duties for the opening 50 minutes of the first free practice session at Spa, but still banged in the top three times when they finally condescended to appear

Free practice one: Coulthard on top

With just 10 minutes of the session to run, the stalemate was broken when the McLarens of David Coulthard and points-leader Mika Hakkinen finally took to the circuit, with Michael Schumacher's Ferrari quickly following.

Coulthard, the winner of last year's Belgian Grand Prix, was quickest, setting a 1m53.398s lap that bettered Schumacher's best effort by 0.828s. Hakkinen finished third quickest, with a 1m54.655s, but the session was little more than a shakedown for the second hour of free practice that starts at 1200 BST.

Jordan's Jarno Trulli finished best of the rest with a 1m54.666s lap that pushed Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari down to fifth (1m54.714s).

The first 20 minutes had been a private test session for Minardi, but as the major players began to trickle out and the thick layer of Ardennes dust was progressively diffusered away from the racing line, the times began to drop. Jenson Button's Williams topped the timesheets at the 30 minute mark with a 1m55.270s, but he was quickly knocked down the order first by Trulli, then by Jacques Villeneuve's BAR. Barrichello went top with 10 minutes remaining, but after that it was all about the big three.

Weather conditions are perfect at Spa, with warm sunshine and a light breeze. Temperatures are set to rise for the second session, but expect the times to tumble as McLaren and Ferrari begin to put in some serious lapping.

For full free practice session one results click here.

shares
comments
McNish ready for Toyota challenge
Previous article

McNish ready for Toyota challenge

Next article

Unser and Andretti to race at USGP

Unser and Andretti to race at USGP
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Plus

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022