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Massa quickest in practice 1 - France

Felipe Massa was fastest for Ferrari by a comfortable seven tenths of a second in an uneventful opening practice session for the French Grand Prix.

The McLarens were second and third quickest, with Lewis Hamilton fractionally quicker than teammate Heikki Kovalainen, while Kimi Raikkonen completed the top four in the second Ferrari.

It took almost half an hour before the session got underway in earnest, with Williams' Nico Rosberg finally becoming the first man to set a flying lap after 26 minutes.

Sebastian Vettel (Toro Rosso) then briefly had a turn on top, before the leading contenders all emerged as practice neared the halfway point.

Kovalainen and Massa both led the way for a few minutes, but it was Hamilton who ended up at the head of the timing screens with a 1:16.002, and he remained fastest until Massa re-emerged just after the hour mark.

The Brazilian produced three laps beneath Hamilton's benchmark, eventually ending up on a 1:15.450, while Hamilton went wide at the Adelaide hairpin on his equivalent run and failed to improve.

Massa then shaved a further tenth off his time when he rejoined for a final run, lapping in 1:15.306 to cement his dominant position.

Hamilton remained second, while Kovalainen was fortunate to avoid an accident on his last lap when he ran wide into the Estoril gravel trap at high-speed and came close to hitting the concrete wall as he wrestled the car back under control.

Raikkonen was 0.767 seconds slower than Massa in fourth, ahead of championship leader Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber), who was one second off the pace in fifth place.

Fernando Alonso took sixth place, but stopped on the approach to the 180 corner in the final minutes after suffering what appeared to be a substantial engine failure. The Renault came to a halt in the run-off area with white smoke bellowing from its rear end.

Jarno Trulli escaped a quick spin at the Adelaide hairpin to take seventh for Toyota, with Vettel, Nick Heidfeld (BMW) and Timo Glock (Toyota) completing the top ten.

Pos  Driver        Team                     Time              Laps
 1.  Massa         Ferrari             (B)  1:15.306            22
 2.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:16.002  + 0.696   22
 3.  Kovalainen    McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:16.055  + 0.749   20
 4.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             (B)  1:16.073  + 0.767   21
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber          (B)  1:16.377  + 1.071   19
 6.  Alonso        Renault             (B)  1:16.400  + 1.094   23
 7.  Trulli        Toyota              (B)  1:16.758  + 1.452   32
 8.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:16.838  + 1.532   27
 9.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber          (B)  1:16.870  + 1.564   21
10.  Glock         Toyota              (B)  1:16.886  + 1.580   31
11.  Piquet        Renault             (B)  1:17.063  + 1.757   31
12.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:17.234  + 1.928   21
13.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:17.269  + 1.963   22
14.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:17.394  + 2.088   30
15.  Barrichello   Honda               (B)  1:17.491  + 2.185   25
16.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:17.683  + 2.377   27
17.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:17.696  + 2.390   25
18.  Button        Honda               (B)  1:17.928  + 2.622   21
19.  Fisichella    Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:18.072  + 2.766   27
20.  Sutil         Force India-Ferrari (B)  1:18.673  + 3.367   13

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