Prac 1: Davidson top in China

BAR-Honda's Anthony Davidson has set the pace in the first free practice session for this weekend's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix. Ralf Schumacher was second quickest in his return for Williams-BMW while team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya was third. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was a lowly 15th

Prac 1: Davidson top in China

The first visit to the Shanghai International Circuit guaranteed a busy session as drivers collected as much data as possible for the next few days. As such, the spectators were treated to unusual track action this morning as for once the Friday drivers weren't the only ones to be clocking up the miles.

It was a positive session for Sauber's Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella, fourth and ninth respectively, although it will be of some concern that Michelin were quick on the 'green' track - where Bridgestone has traditionally excelled - this early in the weekend.

Ryan Briscoe was fifth in the Toyota ahead of BAR's Jenson Button and Monza winner Rubens Barrichello. Renault's Fernando Alonso rounded out the top eight.

Schumacher Sr had to settle for an uncharacteristic 15th spot, despite setting the quickest time on his first flying lap in the Ferrari. Had he not come to a halt at the end of the pitlane in the last five minutes of the session he would have been further up the order undoubtedly, his engineers have plenty of time to sort his car out for the second session later this morning, though.



Not only was this a session to learn the new circuit, it was a chance for some drivers absent from the cockpit to get used to driving an F1 car again. While it didn't seem to take Ralf too long, it wasn't quite so easy for F1 returnee Jacques Villeneuve, who has not driven an F1 machine since the United States Grand Prix in 2003. The French-Canadian has replaced Renault's Jarno Trulli for the final three races of the season as the team aims to wrestle second place in the championship from rivals BAR. He finished the session ahead of Schumacher in 14th, spinning the R24 in the process; team boss Flavio Briatore will certainly be asking for more in the next session.

New circuit or not, McLaren's David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen resumed their normal Friday positions in the pits leaving the garage only for installation laps in a bid to preserve their Mercedes power units. The duo came out for their full laps in the last 10 minutes of the session setting the 11th and 18th times respectively.

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Friday First Free Practice - Chinese GP
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