Prac 1: Davidson on top

BAR-Honda's Anthony Davidson has topped the times in Friday's first free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps as teams prepare their cars for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix. Michael Schumacher, who could wrap up the drivers' title this weekend, was second quickest ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello.

Prac 1: Davidson on top

While the rain kept its distance during the first session, drivers began their business on a damp circuit with various wet patches blotched around the track. Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya and Antonio Pizzonia were the first to set the pace in the FW26 which, as in Hungary two weeks ago, was sporting the conventional nose design.

Ferrari, BAR, McLaren and Renault opted to stay in the garage with BAR choosing instead to send out test driver Davidson to do all the work. While not making an impression early in the session the Briton, who is chasing a Formula 1 berth next year, soon found himself mixing at the top of the timesheets.

With 25 minutes left of the session the big boys left their garages. Unsurprisingly Ferrari's Schumacher made his way right to the top of the order after his first flying run, bettering his time by 1.5s a lap later; it was to be his quickest time of the session. Barrichello by contrast could only manage the 11th quickest time on his first run.

The Williams duo found themselves bumped down the order after Jaguar's Bjorn Wirdheim put in a great lap to set the fourth quickest time, bettering team-mate Mark Webber, who had been lying third at one stage.

"I was very pleased with both my own performance and that of the car," said Wirdheim. "I love the track and it's a place where you can really feel the difference you can make. We did a lot of good work on tyre choice and set up. I'm really looking forward to continuing with the work this afternoon."

Webber later dropped to seventh behind McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Renault's Fernando Alonso. Jaguar's remaining driver, Christian Klien, rounded out the top eight.

After dominating the session at the start Pizzonia and Montoya ended the hour in ninth and 12th respectively while the BAR race drivers of Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were well off Davidson's pace in 11th and 13th respectively. David Coulthard was 15th in the second McLaren.

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