Practice 3: Rubens edges Montoya

With just 0.17s covering the Ferraris and Williams-BMWs after the final session of free practice in Austria, this afternoon's pole position battle looks set to be a tight one. Rubens Barrichello, always quicker here relative to Michael Schumacher than anywhere else, set the fastest time, just 0.06s clear of Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams

Practice 3: Rubens edges Montoya

Although nobody can be sure of fuel loads and qualifying strategies, if we assume that the teams finished the session in something like the trim in which they intend to qualify, then Williams appear to be in the pole fight.

The world champion had a lurid spin at Turn 1 and ended up 0.09s slower than his Ferrari team-mate but a similar amount clear of brother Ralf in the second Williams.

The McLarens, meanwhile, were slower, suggesting perhaps that as at Imola, Ferrari and Williams could be contemplating three stops in the race and McLaren two. Kimi Raikkonen was seventh fastest, 0.62s from the ultimate pace, while David Coulthard languished down in 15th. Despite that, the Scot was still within a second of Ferrari, illustrating just how typically tight things are at the short A1-Ring. Too much of a trade-off of strategy versus grid position could prove costly.

Jarno Trulli's Renault was fastest non Ferrari/Williams, with Jacques Villeneuve sixth for BAR-Honda. Mark Webber put the first Jaguar eighth, with Fernando Alonso's Renault and Giancarlo Fischella's Jordan completing the top 10.

Justin Wilson had a straight-on moment at Turn 1, locking up and thumping into the tyre barrier without any damage to himself.

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Saturday Second Free Practice - Austrian GP

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