Free practice 3: Schumacher on top as Button flies

Michael Schumacher shot back to the top of the time sheets in Saturday's first free practice session for the Italian Grand Prix in dominant style, with a lap 0.319s faster than British ace Jenson Button who took second spot. David Coulthard was third in his McLaren-Mercedes

Free practice 3: Schumacher on top as Button flies

Schumacher was one of the first men out onto the Monza track and immediately went faster than Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello's quickest time of yesterday. The German stayed at the top for most of the session save for a brief 10 minute spell behind Barrichello.

Ferrari looked to be having it all its own way again with the two scarlet cars firmly ensconced in the top two slots. A late lap from Coulthard however, moved the Scot into second place.

An even later lap by Button then provided the surprise of the morning when the 20-year-old leaped into second place, continuing his flowing form from Belgium two weeks ago. This pushed Coulthartd down to third spot and Barrichello into fourth.

Button's Williams-BMW team mate Ralf Schumacher took fifth while Fisichella gave Benetton a boost by taking sixth after the Enstone-built cars finished the day yesterday in 15th and 18th positions.

Jacques Villeneuve impressed by putting his BAR-Honda as high as fourth midway through the session, but as the frontrunners got up to speed the Canadian was pushed down the order to seventh. Mika Hakkinen followed in eighth spot with a time 0.8s behind championship rival and fastest man Schumacher.

Mika Salo continued to occupy his position around the foot of the top 10 in ninth and Pedro de la Rosa's Arrows took 10th place.


For full practice session 3 results, click here.

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