Free practice 3: Schumacher back on top

Michael Schumacher took over the mantle of fastest man at the A1-Ring with apparent ease in Saturday's first free practice session for the Austrian Grand Prix, until a late charge from the Williams of Juan Pablo Montoya looked set to upset the form book, but the Colombian ultimately had to settle for second

Free practice 3: Schumacher back on top

The ever-looming threat of the Williams team was further reinforced when, in the dying seconds of the 45-minute session, Montoya leapfrogged from a lowly 15th into the top spot, only for Schumacher to go even faster just seconds later.

The McLaren duo seemed to lose their way as the session came to a close after dominating yesterday. The Mercedes-powered cars were led home by Mika Hakkinen in third while Friday's fastest man David Coulthard ended up fifth behind Rubens Barrichello in the second Ferrari.

Barrichello looked to be the man to beat at the halfway stage as the Brazilian was the first man to make it into the 1m10s bracket, but as first Montoya and then Schumacher found their feet, he dropped down the order. The times slowly tumbled as the session progressed and with temperatures slightly cooler and the cars in full qualifying set-up, Friday's benchmark times were soon beaten.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished sixth fastest ion his Jordan-Honda after struggling with mechanical problems on Friday. The German's team mate Jarno Trulli was looking good early in the session, but a blown engine 20 minutes in brought the Italian's session to an early close.

Honda stable mates Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve were close on Frentzen's heels with the BAR duo finishing eighth and ninth, while Nick Heidfeld continued his good form of yesterday to round out the top 10.

For full practice session 3 results, click here.

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