'McLaren man' Wurz tops times in Malaysia

Outgoing Benetton driver Alexander Wurz topped the time sheets in Saturday's first free practice session for the Malaysian Grand Prix

'McLaren man' Wurz tops times in Malaysia

The Austrian, who was finally confirmed yesterday (Friday) as the McLaren-Mercedes test driver for 2001, stunned the paddock by lapping a tenth of a second quicker than his new team mates Mika Hakkinen in second place and David Coulthard third.

Wurz makes the switch to the Silver Arrows after the worst season of his four year career with Benetton having scored just two points in the last 16 races to sit near the foot of the driver's table. Less than a tenth of a second separates the McLaren trio.

New world champion Michael Schumacher had been second fastest until the final seconds when the McLaren duo hoisted themselves above the leading Ferrari leaving the German to finish the first session fourth.

With the temperature gauge nudging 27 degrees celsius and humidity at 78 per cent, the pace continued to step up in Sepang ahead of the final qualifying session of the season.

Eddie Irvine was fifth fastest and Rubens Barrichello, who is gunning for victory to steal third place in the driver championship from Coulthard, finished in sixth spot.

Johnny Herbert, in his final race for Jaguar was seventh and Ricardo Zonta eighth. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was anchored at the bottom of the table after his Jordan Mugen-Honda ground to a halt in the pit lane after just one lap.

For full practice session 3 results, click here.

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Friday First Free Practice - Malaysian GP

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