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Free practice 4: Williams shows its hand

Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya went one-two in the fourth and final free practice session for Sunday's European Grand Prix and showed that Williams-BMW will be the team to beat in Saturday's single hour of qualifying by making mincemeat of every other lap time ever recorded at the Nurburgring

Schumacher posted a 1m15.531s flyer with 25 minutes of the 45-minute session still to run, but blitzed that time with a 1m15.355s hot one in the final minute of the session. Putting it into perspective, and bearing in mind that times should tumble further in qualifying, the current pole record is 1m17.529s.

Ralf's team mate Montoya briefly topped the time sheets just before the German's first flying lap, but was forced to settle for a 1m15.749s best after failing to better the time in his last run.

Michael Schumacher, fastest in the morning's first session, didn't condescend to bring his Ferrari onto the track for the second three-quarters of an hour after a small hydraulic problem and therefore dropped down the order to sixth.

Instead, it was his Ferrari team mate Rubens Barrichello who pushed the Williams duo hardest, taking third with a 1m15.855s lap.

Mika Hakkinen was best of the McLarens in fourth, 0.199s faster than his team mate David Coulthard.

Behind the 'big three', Jordan-Honda was best of the rest, with Jarno Trulli edging out Heinz-Harald Frentzen for seventh after the German was forced to park his car.

Olivier Panis made it three Honda-powered cars in a row, taking ninth in his BAR, with Kimi Raikkonen's Sauber-Petronas completing the top 10.

Further back, Eddie Irvine continued a spin-filled weekend, but still posted the 13th best time, five spots ahead of team mate Pedro de la Rosa's Jaguar.

Jenson Button improved to 20th in his Benetton-Renault, but was still four places behind his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

The single hour of qualifying begins at 12:00 BST (13:00 local time).

For full results from free practice 4, click here.

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