Friday First Free Practice - German GP

Rubens Barrichello led a Ferrari one-two as the drivers got to grips with the new Hockenheim circuit in Friday's opening practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix.

Friday First Free Practice - German GP

Rubens Barrichello led a Ferrari one-two as the drivers got to grips with the new Hockenheim circuit in Friday's opening practice for this weekend's German Grand Prix.

The Brazilian set a time of 1:16.248 as predicted top times of 1:18.2 were almost immediately exceeded on the heavily-modified track.

Newly-crowned World Champion Michael Schumacher, who won his fifth Championship in the last race in France and will equal the record number of victories in a season if he wins here on Sunday, finished just 0.075 seconds behind Barrichello.

All teams arrived relying heavily on their computer predictions for set-up and with a lead of more than 1.2 seconds on closest rival Olivier Panis in the British American Racing Honda, Barrichello and Schumacher proved Ferrari had 'guessed' the best.

Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who nearly won in France five days ago, was fourth for McLaren-Mercedes, with German Nick Heidfeld was fifth for Sauber and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya completing the top six in his Williams-BMW, more than 1.8 seconds off the leaders' pace.

Montoya was the first man to spin on the new circuit, losing control on the first corner of the new section and Schumacher was also another to spin as the drivers explored their limits for the first time on a 'new' track since Malaysia was introduced in 1999.

In cool conditions which barely rose above 20 degrees Celsius, Brazilian Felipe Massa was seventh fastest, with Japan's Takuma Sato eighth, one place ahead of Jordan teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, who has fully recovered from his accident in practice for the French Grand Prix six days ago.

Both Arrows cars completed a full Friday practice session for the first time since they were last in Germany, for the European Grand Prix, three races ago, with both cars completing 20 laps each.

German Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished 10th with Enrique Bernoldi 16th, but the Brazilian parked his car at the side of the track right at the end to pile more concerns on the cash-strapped team as they prepare to return to racing after missing the French Grand Prix.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps 1. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:16.248 215.958 km/h 20 2. M.Schumacher Ferrari (B) 1:16.323 + 0.075 19 3. Panis BAR Honda (B) 1:17.482 + 1.234 31 4. Raikkonen McLaren Mercedes (M) 1:17.564 + 1.316 18 5. Heidfeld Sauber Petronas (B) 1:17.883 + 1.635 25 6. Montoya Williams BMW (M) 1:18.054 + 1.806 20 7. Massa Sauber Petronas (B) 1:18.269 + 2.021 24 8. Sato Jordan Honda (B) 1:18.311 + 2.063 20 9. Fisichella Jordan Honda (B) 1:18.405 + 2.157 13 10. Frentzen Arrows Cosworth (B) 1:18.539 + 2.291 20 11. McNish Toyota (M) 1:18.587 + 2.339 20 12. Villeneuve BAR Honda (B) 1:18.620 + 2.372 22 13. Trulli Renault (M) 1:18.658 + 2.410 22 14. Salo Toyota (M) 1:18.929 + 2.681 21 15. Irvine Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:19.026 + 2.778 19 16. Bernoldi Arrows Cosworth (B) 1:19.139 + 2.891 20 17. Button Renault (M) 1:19.178 + 2.930 21 18. R.Schumacher Williams BMW (M) 1:19.249 + 3.001 17 19. Coulthard McLaren Mercedes (M) 1:19.425 + 3.177 6 20. de la Rosa Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:19.909 + 3.661 9 21. Webber Minardi Asiatech (M) 1:20.045 + 3.797 19 22. Yoong Minardi Asiatech (M) 1:20.164 + 3.916 26 All Timing Unofficial

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