Raikkonen Fastest in Practice 3 - Italy

Kimi Raikkonen continued McLaren's dominant form ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix when he secured top spot in the first Saturday practice session as World Champion Michael Schumacher fought back to claim second

Raikkonen Fastest in Practice 3 - Italy

Raikkonen claimed the fastest time with a late run in the 45-minute session and his lap of 1:22.415 was good enough to put him 0.135 seconds ahead of closest challenger Schumacher's Ferrari.

But it was a surprise encouraging performance from World Champion Schumacher, who crashed out of practice and damaged his car in the tyre barriers on Friday, and it left the Tifosi fans hoping for an improved performance this weekend.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished third fastest with a time of 1:22.676 but the top three runners all limited their laps and completed just five each while the Renault's Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella completed nine each.

The Renault duo had sat at the top for most of the session after their chief rivals McLaren chose to limit their running but they were knocked down to fourth and fifth for Alonso and Fisichella respectively.

Mark Webber finished sixth for Williams, who seem to be enjoying a resurgence this weekend, but test driver Antonio Pizzonia, who was drafted in to replace the injured Nick Heidfeld, could only manage 13th fastest time.

Pizzonia struggled after being brought in at the last minute when the team decided German Heidfeld was suffering too much from headaches as a repercussion of his testing crash in Monza last week.

Takuma Sato and Jenson Button claimed the seventh and eighth fastest times for BAR-Honda while Ralf Schumacher finished ninth for Toyota and Rubens Barrichello claimed the final spot in the top ten for Ferrari.

There was limited running in the early part of the session, which began in temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius with the early morning sun working to build the heat early in the day.

Few laps were run by any cars until late on, when the Renault pair moved to the ascendancy with Fisichella claiming the top spot and Alonso sitting in second with five minutes left to run.

Pos  Driver         Team                  Time                  Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:22.415                5
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:22.550  +    0.135    5
 3.  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:22.676  +    0.261    5
 4.  Alonso        Renault           (M)  1:22.867  +    0.452    9
 5.  Fisichella    Renault           (M)  1:22.900  +    0.485    9
 6.  Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:23.162  +    0.747    4
 7.  Sato          BAR-Honda         (M)  1:23.257  +    0.842   10
 8.  Button        BAR-Honda         (M)  1:23.875  +    1.460    5
 9.  R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  1:23.898  +    1.483    9
10.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:23.942  +    1.527    7
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:24.019  +    1.604    8
12.  Trulli        Toyota            (M)  1:24.129  +    1.714    5
13.  Pizzonia      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:24.367  +    1.952    7
14.  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:24.390  +    1.975    7
15.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:24.447  +    2.032    6
16.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:24.668  +    2.253    6
17.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  1:25.041  +    2.626    5
18.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:25.172  +    2.757   11
19.  Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:25.722  +    3.307    8
20.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:26.197  +    3.782    5

All timing unofficial
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