Practice 3: Schu sets pace

After the rain showers of yesterday, Saturday morning's free practice sessions are more important than usual at Magny-Cours for the French Grand Prix. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher set the pace as teams decide which option of tyre to use in Sunday's race

The session was intriguing early on, with a succession of cars going faster. Giancarlo Fisichella's Sauber was the first into the 1m15s bracket, his 1m15.9s beaten by Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) then Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams), Fernando Alonso (Renault) and David Coulthard in the new McLaren MP4-19B.

Enter Schumacher. His first quick lap, 1m15.351s, was enough for the top spot, but that was followed by the 1m14.944s that would top the session overall.

Coulthard remained second fastest, just ahead of Renault's Jarno Trulli, who suffered a brief off at Chateau D'eau mid-way through the session. Team-mate Alonso was fourth fastest ahead of Olivier Panis (Toyota) and Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari).

Juan Pablo Montoya's Williams was seventh fastest, ahead of Mark Webber (Jaguar), Fisichella and BAR's Jenson Button. Williams substitute driver Marc Gene was 13th quickest, while Kimi Raikkonen only managed an installation lap in his new McLaren before sitting out the session.

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