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Practice 1: Montoya quickest

Juan Pablo Montoya kicked off his challenge for victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix in perfect style as he set the pace in opening practice at the Interlagos track on Friday morning. Pre-race favourites Ferrari have so far struggled to find pace in the final race of the season

Montoya moved to the top of the timesheets in the final minute of the session as the Michelin-shod teams appeared to be in better shape for the weekend than their rival Bridgestone runners. Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was the quickest runner on the Japanese rubber, setting the ninth quickest time, while Michael Schumacher was an uncharacteristic 11th.

Michelin's strong pace was proved with Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe setting an impressive second fastest time in his Toyota, just 0.067 seconds slower than Montoya's best lap of one minute 12.547 seconds.

Ralf Schumacher added to Williams' strong start to the weekend with the third quickest time, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Anthony Davidson, David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli.

The pace of the Ferraris was a mystery, as the world championship winning cars have traditionally been ultra quick in first practice sessions before losing their edge over the rest of the weekend as the increased rubber on the track surface played into the hands of the Michelin runners.

Schumacher himself had a far from straightforward session, with an on-track mix-up with Jarno Trulli causing him to abort one of his quick laps and then his rear light came loose at one point and forced him into the pits.

Jacques Villeneuve's trouble return to F1 continued as he could only set the 17th quickest time - two seconds slower than Montoya's best and four tenths of Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso who was 10th fastest.

The first session on the dusty Interlagos track was fairly incident free. Christian Klien had a spin in his Jaguar at the first corner, while Toyota's Ricardo Zonta spun at Turn 4 as he prepared for his home grand prix.

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