Practice 1: Trulli tops; leading lights spar

Jarno Trulli again set the pace for Renault at Indianapolis today (Friday) in free practice, but all eyes were on world championship protagonists Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya who had their first on-track confrontation of the weekend

Practice 1: Trulli tops; leading lights spar

Pacesetter Trulli lapped in 1m11.153s, two-tenths quicker than Ralf Schumacher (Williams-BMW) and Olivier Panis (Toyota). The Ferraris of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher were next up, and latter was involved in a small sparring match with fellow title challenger Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams-BMW).

Montoya blotted his copybook early on by running on to the grass at Turn 1 on his first flying lap, but it was towards the end of the session, which started dry but was soaked by a rain shower halfway through, when he and Schumacher were on track together.

Montoya ran wide through Turn 4, but kept Schumacher behind him. Despite the spray, they lapped nose-to-tail until Juan Pablo slowed exiting Turn 12, at which point Schumacher accelerated past but then dived into the pits as well, ahead of JPM. The first mental blow of the weekend has been struck....

Fernando Alonso (Renault) was sixth fastest, ahead of an impressive Mark Webber (Jaguar). Montoya was only eighth fastest, seven-tenths off the pace, but ahead of the McLaren-Mercedes duo of Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard respectively.

Cristiano da Matta (Toyota) was 11th, ahead of BAR's Jenson Button and Jaguar's Justin Wilson. Jacques Villeneuve was next up from Giancarlo Fisichella's Jordan, the latter stopping the session for some time as his car's Ford engine blew on the exit of Turn 12 and spewed oil all through the banked Turn 13.

Ralph Firman was 16th in the other Jordan, and seemingly suffering no ill-effects from his Hungary shunt, although his car broke down towards the end of the session. Nicolas Kiesa was an impressive 17th, ahead of the Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, while his Minardi team-mate Jos Verstappen rounded out the field.

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