Friday Practice Session 1: Schuey quickest

Michael Schumacher thrilled his adoring home crowd by setting the pace in the first Friday free practice session at Hockenheim

Friday Practice Session 1: Schuey quickest

The Ferrari driver shrugged off yet more criticism of his driving tactics to set the pace by nearly 0.6s.

However, for most of the session the battle between Ferrari and McLaren had been much closer, with both Rubens Barrichello and McLaren's David Coulthard also topping the times during the hour.

In the end it was Mika Hakkinen who moved in to second in the final minutes, ahead of Barrichello and Coulthard.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen took the 'best of the rest' spot for Jordan, but his team-mate Jarno Trulli ground to a halt on his first flying lap with a mechanical problem. He was forced to park at the Ostkurve, a lengthy forest trek away from the pit lane.

The BARs maintained their recent run of good form to end the session sixth and seventh, Ricardo Zonta narrowly quicker than Jacques Villeneuve.

With the forecast rain staying away, there were few incidents during the session, although Coulthard, Eddie Irvine and Mika Salo all explored the escape road at the first chicane. Salo's Sauber only just missed the back of Nick Heidfeld's Prost as he put two wheels on the grass under braking and slithered off the road.

The most entertaining moment came after the chequered flag had fallen, as Jenson Button contrived to crash in the pit lane entry on his way back to the Williams garage. He wiped the front wing off his car after spinning into the inside barrier.

The rain started to fall shortly after the end of the session, which could make things tricky when practice resumes in an hour.

For full first session practice times, click here.

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Schumacher blasts back over driving tactics

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