De la Rosa Quickest in First Practice

Pedro de la Rosa finished fastest for McLaren in the opening practice session for the San Marino Grand Prix as World Champion Michael Schumacher dropped down the order after setting the early pace for Ferrari

De la Rosa Quickest in First Practice

Spaniard de la Rosa, who raced in Bahrain as a replacement for injured Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya but has been dropped down to the third driver role in favour of Alex Wurz this weekend, set a time of 1:21.060.

He proved he is still on the pace early on in the session then blitzed Schumacher's mid-session effort and proved unbeatable for his chasing rivals as the session came to a close.

Toyota test driver Ricardo Zonta finished second fastest, with a time just 0.114 seconds off the pace, while rejuvenated Briton Jenson Button, in his BAR-Honda, finished third 0.745 seconds off the pace.

Schumacher finished fourth, just more than a second off the lead pace, with Christian Klien, who has been dropped to the third driver role for Red Bull this weekend, fifth fastest a further six tenths slower.

Takuma Sato finished sixth fastest in the second BAR with Kimi Raikkonen seventh for McLaren, German Nick Heidfeld eighth for Williams and Alex Wurz, of McLaren, and Mark Webber, of Williams, completing the top ten.

The session began in temperatures of around 14 degrees Celsius, a massive drop compared to 42-degree heat at the last two races in Malaysia and Bahrain, after overnight thunderstorms washed the track.

With 20 minutes gone only four drivers had completed a full lap and McLaren tester de la Rosa was on top of the pile with a time of 1:24.066, almost two seconds ahead of Toyota tester Ricardo Zonta.

Zonta improved to move within 0.8 seconds of de la Rosa then Michael Schumacher went second in his Ferrari on his first flying lap then stepped up the pace to move 1.208 seconds clear at the top on his third run.

De la Rosa then closed the gap slightly then Barrichello moved up to fourth place in the second Ferrari but his time was more than half a second slower than Schumacher's earlier effort.

Raikkonen then went second with a time just one tenth slower than Schumacher then de la Rosa shot to the top by a massive 1.646 seconds and the German could only manage to halve the deficit.

Pos Driver Team Time  Laps 1. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:21.060 17 2. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:21.174 + 0.114 21 3. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:21.805 + 0.745 6 4. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:22.085 + 1.025 14 5. Klien Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:22.736 + 1.676 20 6. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:22.945 + 1.885 6 7. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:22.962 + 1.902 5 8. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:23.086 + 2.026 8 9. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:23.391 + 2.331 5 10. Webber Williams-BMW (M) 1:23.532 + 2.472 8 11. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:23.797 + 2.737 10 12. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:24.052 + 2.992 22 13. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:24.126 + 3.066 8 14. Massa Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:24.175 + 3.115 13 15. Villeneuve Sauber-Petronas (M) 1:24.255 + 3.195 8 16. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:24.512 + 3.452 18 17. Monteiro Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:25.257 + 4.197 16 18. Doornbos Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:25.555 + 4.495 26 19. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:26.333 + 5.273 4 20. Albers Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:27.353 + 6.293 10 21. Friesacher Minardi-Cosworth (B) 1:27.411 + 6.351 13 22. Fisichella Renault (M) No Time 2 23. Alonso Renault (M) No Time 2 24. Trulli Toyota (M) No Time All timing unofficial 
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