Schumacher dominates practice

Michael Schumacher was nearly 0.6s clear of the field after a blistering performance in the first Saturday morning practice session for the European Grand Prix

Schumacher dominates practice

The home hero headed the pack for most of the session but the margins were close until a late run saw Schumacher become the only man to lap in the 1m18s bracket.

Mika Hakkinen was second, ahead of last year's polesitter Heinz-Harald Frentzen in the lead Jordan. David Coulthard and the impressive Pedro de la Rosa completed the top five, the Spaniard's Arrows again showing good pace until a late off curtailed his session.

The BARs, Williams-BMWs and Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari filled out the rest of the top ten positions on a track that was dry with puddles off line.

Jenson Button came back down to earth after topping the times yesterday, slamming into the tyre wall at turn eight after running wide over the wet kerb and spinning across the track. He removed the left front wheel from his Williams-BMW but was unhurt.

Pedro Diniz was another driver to crash, sliding into the barriers at turn five but managing to return to the pits. Alex Wurz's troubled season got worse as a mechanical problem kept him in the Benetton garage for the majority of the session while Jos Verstappen was unable to match team-mate de la Rosa's performance after a possible engine problem left him sidelined very early in the session.

Practice resumes in half an hour. The weather may well have changed by then, with showers forecast throughout qualifying day.

Times from first morning practice:

1 M Schumacher Ferrari 1m18.527s
2 M Hakkinen McLaren 1m19.110s
3 H-H Frentzen Jordan 1m19.285s
4 D Coulthard McLaren 1m19.472s
5 P de la Rosa Arrows 1m19.552s
6 R Schumacher Williams 1m19.625s
7 R Zonta BAR 1m19.667s
8 J Villeneuve BAR 1m19.676s
9 J Button Williams 1m19.756s
10 R Barrichello Ferrari 1m19.847s
11 J Trulli Jordan 1m20.076s
12 G Fisichella Benetton 1m20.259s
13 P Diniz Sauber 1m20.296s
14 M Gene Minardi 1m20.417s
15 M Salo Sauber 1m20.511s
16 E Irvine Jaguar 1m20.523s
17 J Herbert Jaguar 1m20.581s
18 N Heidfeld Prost 1m20.629s
19 J Alesi Prost 1m21.080s
20 G Mazzacane Minardi 1m21.224s
21 A Wurz Benetton 1m21.461s
22 J Verstappen Arrows 1m23.347s

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Ferrari on top after morning practice

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