Practice 1: Panis flies for Toyota

Olivier Panis and Toyota shook up the Formula 1 establishment today (Friday) with a stunning lap time that was over half a second clear of everyone, including the heavily-tipped Renaults, at the Hungaroring.

Practice 1: Panis flies for Toyota

The Frenchman waited until the final five minutes of the session before setting his blinding lap of 1m21.770s, at a track where the Japanese manufacturer was expected to struggle. Renault's Jarno Trulli was second fastest after sitting out the first half-hour, but was a full 0.694s behind the lead Toyota.

Juan Pablo Montoya led much of the session and ended the first of the championship contenders in third, just 0.002s ahead of Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari, the top Bridgestone runner in a session dominated by Michelin. Cristiano da Matta underlined Toyota's potential with fifth, albeit 0.930s off his flying team-mate.

Mark Webber led the session early on, but slipped to sixth at the finish. Ralf Schumacher struggled through the hour, but improved to seventh at the end, just ahead of David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher could only manage the ninth fastest time, and was over a second behind Panis. Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) were 10th and 11th fastest, adding to the list of those who probably should have done better.

Once again, the heavy dust and dirt coating the Hungaroring's track surface caused a large number of spins and offs during the session. Coulthard was the first to spin, and later lost control and slid over the chicane for good measure.

Others to endure moments included Jenson Button (BAR), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber), Ralph Firman (Jordan) and Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), but the spin of the session belonged to one M Schumacher. The world champion lost control of his car, but a perfect 360 degrees pirouette kept him on the track, although he was very nearly collected by Panis in the process.

The session yielded little joy for those teams running Bridgestone tyres, save for Ferrari. The last eight places in the timesheet were filled by those running the Japanese rubber, with the sole exception of Justin Wilson (Jaguar), who was limited to just five laps of running. The Briton still did better than his Minardi replacement Nicolas Kiesa, who failed to complete a lap following his spectacular engine failure in the earlier private test.

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