Coulthard quickest again


BARCELONA, Spain, AP

David Coulthard of McLaren Mercedes, the only driver on the podium in the first four races, has his mind on doing it again. Coulthard, tied for the season points lead with Ferrari’s defending champion Michael Schumacher (26 each), clocked the quickest time in Friday’s first of two free practice sessions for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix. With all of the drivers complaining of low grip on the course, Coulthard clocked 1 minute 20.388 seconds on the 4.728 kilometer circuit (2.938 miles). Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello was next in 100.823 followed by Michael Schumacher of Ferrari (100.992). Ralf Schumacher of Williams-BMW was next (101.259) with fifth for Mika Hakkinen of McLaren (101.265), sixth for Olivier Panis (101.815) of BAR, with Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams seventh (102.020). Jordan’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen plowed into a tire wall in the session and was unhurt. BAR’ Jacques Villeneuve also faced misfortune when he appeared to blow an engine in the pit lane. Ralf Schumacher, who announced Thursday that he’s getting married with his girlfriend, Cora Brinkmann, expecting a baby in November, is trying to repeat his first career win two weeks ago in Imola, Italy. “I was happy for the team and the result itself, but this is the next race and the pressure is on us again to prove we’re competitive,” he said. Ralf Schumacher forgets last victory Ralf Schumacher’s first career victory is 12 days old and neatly tucked away. “I was happy for the team and the result itself, but this is the next race and the pressure is on us again to prove we’re competitive,” said Schumacher, who won his first GP in 70 tries at Imola, Italy, with his Williams BMW showing its ready to challenge Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes. “Michael told me that the first one (victory) is the most difficult and the other ones are easier and there are a lot more to come.” Schumacher has reason to be upbeat. He’s in fourth place in the season standings with 12 points, close behind his brother at Ferrari and co leader David Coulthard of McLaren, each with 26. Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello has 14. Two-time series champion Mika Hakkinen is downright downbeat. Without a point in the first four races, the Finn all but admitted Thursday he nearly out of the series title chase.