Practice 1: Rubens on top

Rubens Barrichello took advantage of a dry track to set the fastest lap in Friday's first free practice session at Magny-Cours as teams prepare for this weekend's French Grand Prix. Team-mate Michael Schumacher was second quickest to make it a Ferrari one-two

Either Ferrari knew something that other teams didn't, or it was just lucky, but Barrichello and Schumacher were two of the first drivers to hit the track and were immediately on the pace in the first 10 minutes of the session before the heavens opened.

As such no other driver was able to come close to the Ferrari duo with Barrichello the fastest with a 1m15.487s and Schumacher second quickest with a 1m15.713s.

Half-way through the session Formula 1 saw yet another high-speed crash as Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of the FW26 heading into the Imola chicane (Click HERE for separate story). The incident brought out the yellow flags and his crumpled car was removed from the track and the Colombian taken back to the pits.

A dry line began to appear on some parts of the track in the final 15 minutes of the session giving drivers the opportunity to notch up the laps testing the tyres and developing set-ups for the weekend ahead.

Marc Gene, who replaces the injured Ralf Schumacher this weekend, was third quickest in the second Williams ahead of the Jordan trio of test driver Timo Glock and race drivers Giorgio Pantano and Nick Heidfeld, who rounded out the top six.

BAR's Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were 12th and 16th respectively while Renault's Jarno Trulli was 18th setting the slowest time of the morning.

Eight drivers did not even set a time during the session. Along with Montoya, the two Saubers of Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa failed to set a time as did Renault's Fernando Alonso and Jaguar's Mark Webber. Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard, who are driving the new MP4-19B on its race debut this weekend, were only able to carry out installation laps during the short dry period at the start of the session and chose to remain in the garage following the downpour.

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