Practice 2: Ferrari strikes back

After playing second fiddle to Williams-BMW and Juan Pablo Montoya in qualifying yesterday (Friday), Ferrari struck back in the first practice session on Saturday morning. Michael Schumacher led the way by over half a second from team-mate Rubens Barrichello

Practice 2: Ferrari strikes back

Schumacher was the pacesetter for much of the session, whittling his time down to 1m21.623s, which was 0.523s quicker than Barrichello's best effort.

Early in the session, Schumacher found himself in a head-to-head with title rival Juan Pablo Montoya of Williams-BMW. The Colombian blew past the Ferrari on the start/finish straight, and scrabbled around the first corner ahead of it whilst Michael outbraked himself slightly and was forced to bump over a mixture of 'sleeping policemen' and kerbs. A snapshot of things to come?

Montoya was only fifth quickest, although he aborted a lap which looked quicker than his 1m22.685s best. David Coulthard took up the mantle of the best of the rest for McLaren-Mercedes, recording a 1m22.552, a tenth clear of the impressive Jenson Button (BAR-Honda).

Ralf Schumacher's replacement at Williams, Marc Gene, was a solid sixth fastest, just a few hundredths slower than Montoya. He outpaced title challenger Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) and Hungarian GP winner Fernando Alonso (Renault).

The second Renault of Jarno Trulli was next up, from BAR's Jacques Villeneuve and Cristiano da Matta (Toyota). Heinz-Harald Frentzen was 12th for Sauber, despite a spin, ahead of Justin Wilson (Jaguar), Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) and Mark Webber (Jaguar).

Giancarlo Fisichella was 16th for Jordan, while Nicolas Kiesa put a troubled Friday behind him to outpace Minardi team-mate Jos Verstappen for 17th. Zsolt Baumgartner was 19th, while Olivier Panis suffered technical problems with his Toyota and only managed four laps, the best of which was in the 1m34s bracket.

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