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BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"Formula One's American dream howled into life."
 real 14k

David Coulthard
"They've done a good job here"
 real 14k

Friday, 22 September, 2000, 21:11 GMT 22:11 UK
Coulthard roars back in US practice
David Coulthard
Coulthard came back after helping his car into the pits
David Coulthard recovered from an embarrassing start to top the times in the first day's practice session for Sunday's US Grand Prix.

The Scot was the only one of the 22 drivers not to finish a full lap in the first of two hour-long sessions at Indianapolis on Friday due to an electrical fault in his McLaren.

Coulthard had to help push his car back into the pits and was forced to watch the remainder of the first hour from the pit wall.

But he later clocked a time of one minute 14.561 seconds to outpace team-mate Mika Hakkinen by one-tenth of a second.

Ferrari pair

Michael Schumacher was third fastest, ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen came in fifth for Jordan and fellow German Ralf Schumacher, in a Williams, was sixth.

David Coulthard
McLaren's Coulthard and Mercedes boss Nobert Haug watch practice

It was the first full day's running by Formula One cars on American soil since the last US event at Phoenix in 1991, and just six-tenths of a second split the top six.

The drivers were impressed by the new track, and Schumacher said he was relieved that the banked Turn 13, the first corner of the Indianapolis oval circuit run the opposite way round, was less dangerous than some had feared.

"I did not find it difficult to adapt to this track," the German said. "Going round the turns on the oval is not as exciting as it might look from outside the cockpit because the entry speed is not so high.

"Therefore, it means the element of danger is also reduced compared with what we might have expected. The fact that the track is so flat means that it takes a few laps to find the right turn-in points for the corners."

"This track is challenging because it's flowing," Coulthard added. "Once you get into that infield section, you're not really heavy into the brakes in any one corner, so you have to keep a rhythm. If you miss one corner, then you miss the next two."

Jacques Villeneuve, who won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 before leaving for F1 the next season, was 10th of the 22 drivers.

"It's a very difficult track," said the Canadian, the only F1 driver with any previous experience at Indy, all on the oval. "The infield is very slow, but it's very intricate, so it's difficult to get a good lap.

"There are two very slow corners near the end that shouldn't be there. That's very annoying."

The circuit poses a challenging puzzle for the F1 teams, with its blend of the high-speed banked oval and the tight, twisting infield section.

Schumacher trails Hakkinen by two points in the championship battle with three races remaining.

Leading times in Friday's practice, US Grand Prix, Indianapolis

1 David Coulthard (GB) McLaren 1:14.561
2 Mika Hakkinen (Fin) McLaren 1:14.695
3 Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:14.927
4 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Ferrari 1:15.144
5 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Ger) Jordan 1:15.226
6 Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Williams 1:15.249
7 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Jordan 1:15.646
8 Jenson Button (GB) Williams 1:15.741
9 Marc Gene (Spa) Minardi 1:15.806
10 Jacques Villeneuve (Can) BAR 1:16.147

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See also:

19 Sep 00 |  Motorsport
Coulthard may have 'supporting role'
19 Sep 00 |  Motorsport
Ferrari prepare for tough time
10 Sep 00 |  Motorsport
Schumacher revives title hopes
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