Schumacher Fastest in Practice 3 - Japan

Michael Schumacher suffered a major setback to his race preparations for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday when he spun into the barriers just moments after setting the fastest time in Saturday's opening practice session

Schumacher Fastest in Practice 3 - Japan

Schumacher, who has won the race at Suzuka six times in his career, including four of the last five races, looked fast in the wet conditions and was one of the few to brave the weather in the opening morning session.

But he was caught out by a stream of water at the S-curve early in the session and, after setting a time of 1:46.543 that would not be beaten, he lost control when he touched the kerb and spun heavily into the barriers.

The front left section of Schumacher's car was heavily damaged and the nose ripped off but the German's Ferrari team should be able to repair it rapidly and limit his losses ahead of the afternoon qualifying run.

Schumacher's time put him 2.186 seconds clear of second-placed Kimi Raikkonen, of McLaren, but the times were little indication of true performance due to the limited running in the session.

Just 13 of the 20 cars set a timed lap, with both Renaults, both Saubers, both Toyotas and Robert Doornbos' Minardi choosing not to complete a full run due to the heavily wet conditions.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished third fastest for McLaren with the Williams duo of Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia completing the top five runners and Narain Karthikeyan sixth for Jordan.

Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari was seventh with Jenson Button eighth for BAR and Tiago Monteiro, of Jordan, and Minardi driver Christijan Albers completing the top ten.

Pos  Driver         Team                  Time                  Laps
 1.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari           (B)  1:46.543                3
 2.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:48.729  +    2.186    5
 3.  Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes  (M)  1:49.097  +    2.554    4
 4.  Webber        Williams-BMW      (M)  1:49.484  +    2.941    3
 5.  Pizzonia      Williams-BMW      (M)  1:50.537  +    3.994    5
 6.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:50.811  +    4.268    8
 7.  Barrichello   Ferrari           (B)  1:50.846  +    4.303    4
 8.  Button        BAR-Honda         (M)  1:51.884  +    5.341    4
 9.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota     (B)  1:52.023  +    5.480    7
10.  Albers        Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  1:52.700  +    6.157    6
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:53.346  +    6.803   10
12.  Sato          BAR-Honda         (M)  1:53.454  +    6.911    5
13.  Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)  1:54.348  +    7.805    4
14.  Trulli        Toyota            (M)  No Time                 3
15.  Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth  (B)  No Time                 5
16.  R.Schumacher  Toyota            (M)  No Time                  
17.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas   (M)  No Time                  
18.  Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas   (M)  No Time                  
19.  Alonso        Renault           (M)  No Time                  
20.  Fisichella    Renault           (M)  No Time                  

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