Schumacher tops wet practice

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher led the way in opening practice for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, but the first session was dominated by the appalling weather conditions that greeted the teams on Friday

Schumacher tops wet practice

A consistent downpour during the morning left the track soaked and almost all of the drivers only chose to venture out in the final 10 minutes of the first practice session.

Schumacher instantly stamped his domination on proceedings to set a best lap of 1m47.906s and he was just less than half a second faster than Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella, with third fastest Rubens Barrichello almost two seconds adrift.

Jenson Button proved that Michelin's wet weather tyre was up to the job as he set the fourth quickest time, ahead of an impressive Nick Heidfeld in fifth and Kimi Raikkonen in sixth.

Timo Glock added to Jordan's encouraging morning as he was seventh fastest overall, having kept his seat at the team following the departure of Giorgio Pantano prior to the Chinese Grand Prix.

Sauber's Felipe Massa was the only driver to fall foul of the conditions as he spun on the final left hander of the Esses and clouted the barriers side-on - damaging the right-front of his car.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli ended up 14th quickest and was cursing the poor conditions as he tries to get to grips with his new surroundings. "Conditions were really bad," he said. "It is not good for me because I don't know the car, especially in the wet."

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