Free practice 1: Trulli shines for Renault

Jarno Trulli set a blistering pace in the first free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. Michael Schumacher was second quickest for Ferrari ahead of an on-form David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello. McLaren's title combatant Kimi Raikkonen was sixth fastest having set the pace mid-way through the one-hour session

Free practice 1: Trulli shines for Renault

Trulli set the marker after 15 minutes then watched as Raikkonen eclipsed his time. The Italian then calmly went out again and beat the Finn's best effort by half a second. Just to make sure, Trulli went out on track again with five minutes to go and set a spectacular 1m30.727s lap, the quickest of the weekend so far.

Trulli's team-mate Fernando Alonso also looked well hooked up on his final run, setting the fastest first sector split time, but threw it all away at the Spoon Curve with a bumpy spin into the gravel. The Spaniard thus ended up fifth fastest, but his pace, just as that of Trulli's, must be of some concern to Raikkonen who has to win the race on Sunday with Schumacher not scoring to take the world championship crown.

BMW Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya had a very quiet session. The Colombian, who fell out of the title running after a disappointing performance in the US GP two weeks ago, spent most of the hour in the second half of the timesheets, and it was only in the final flurry of activity that he set a lap of any note. Team-mate Ralf Schumacher dropped from fourth to 11th in the last ten minutes of the session.

Mark Webber's Jaguar was eighth quickest ahead of the Toyotas of Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta. The TF103s looked quick on home soil, with Panis set for third fastest with ten minutes to go, which would have been something for the Cologne-based team to cheer about in own Honda's back yard.

Honda's rising son, Takuma Sato was 12th quickest. The little Japanese driver applied himself with vigour despite only getting the nod to drive the BAR yesterday, replacing Jacques Villeneuve, and did well to stay within a 1.5s of the top slot. It's difficult to judge his pace however because team-mate Jenson Button's engine blew up on the pit straight almost as soon as practice had started.

Heinz-Harald Frenzten and Nick Heidfeld's Saubers were next up ahead of Jaguar's Justin Wilson in 15th. Ralph Firman, in 16th and on a track he adores, was quicker than Jordan team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella, while Button's early time registered him 18th ahead of Jos Verstappen and Nicolas Kiesa in the Minardis.

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Friday Free Practice - Japanese GP
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