David Coulthard redressed the balance on day three of Formula 1 testing at Monza by setting the fastest time at the Italian track, after McLaren test driver Alex Wurz set the pace yesterday (Wednesday)
Mika Hakkinen took up the baton from Wurz and joined Coulthard to share the McLaren workload, but the Finn had to settle for third place after being demoted by fellow countryman and rising star Kimi Raikkonen.
The 21-year-old took over from Sauber team mate Nick Heidfeld for the third day and was always going to struggle to beat the German's time as muggy conditions and rising temperatures meant for slower running. Nevertheless, Raikkonen was able to hustle his C20 round just 0.22s shy of Coulthard's time.
"It's good to be back in the car again at Monza," said Raikkonen. "I like the high-speed circuits. We worked through our programme today and learned more about setting the car up, both for Hockenheim and for the race here in September."
The McLaren duo concentrated on tyre development ahead of next week's British Grand Prix and blistered Bridgestone rubber caused a few worried faces, until a new construction was used in the afternoon.
"The handling felt the same, but I think it may have been a bit quicker with the new construction," said Coulthard. "If it's quicker, then it must be good."
Jarno Trulli took over from Heinz-Harald Frentzen at Jordan and proceeded to go fourth fastest, but brought the morning session to a stop after coming to a halt out on the circuit with a mechanical problem.
Andre Lotterer continued to impress standing in for Eddie Irvine at Jaguar and finished the day fifth despite beaching his R2 in the gravel at the Variante della Roggia chicane.
The young German, who is competing in British Formula 3 this year with the Jaguar Junior team, was exactly a second quicker than the Big Cat's race driver Pedro de la Rosa who wound up eighth and last.
The excitement of the day came from Jordan test driver Ricardo Zonta, who went off into the barrier on the approach to the fast Ascari chicane destroying the left front suspension and side pod of his EJ11.
Darren Manning also managed bring proceedings to a halt with an off on the approach to the Curva Parabolica. The BAR test driver was unhurt and finished the day seventh.
David Coulthard, McLaren-Mercedes B, 1m24.05s, 78 laps Kimi Raikkonen, Sauber-Petronas B, 1m24.27s, 79 laps Mika Hakkinen, McLaren-Mercedes B, 1m24.61s, 62 laps Jarno Trulli, Jordan-Honda B, 1m24.87s, 52 laps Andre Lotterer, Jaguar M, 1m25.06s, 55 laps Ricardo Zonta, Jordan-Honda B, 1m25.49s, 43 laps Darren Manning, BAR-Honda B, 1m25.54s, 78 laps Pedro de la Rosa, Jaguar M, 1m26.06s, 47 laps
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