Davidson heads Ferraris in practice one 28 May 2004
Anthony Davidson staked another claim to a fulltime Formula One ride in 2005 by setting the fastest time during this mornings first practice session for the European Grand Prix.
On the first pukka flying lap of the meeting the Englishman lapped within three-tenths of a second of Kimi Raikkonens 2003 pole position time, and after an hour he had reduced that to 1m 29.447s. That was sufficient to dislodge Michael Schumacher, who had earlier moved ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello. The world champion lapped in 1m 29.631s, the Brazilian 1m 29.908s.
Those times remained comfortably ahead of the next best runner, which was Mark Webber in the Jaguar on 1m 31.448s. The Australian headed a flurry of drivers: Ricardo Zonta (1m 31.587s); Kimi Raikkonen (1m 31.643s); Felipe Massa (1m 31.673s); Ralf Schumacher (1m 31.680s); Fernando Alonso (1m 31.768s); Jenson Button (1m 31.770s); Juan Pablo Montoya (1m 31.782s) and Olivier Panis (1m 31.910s).
After quiet start the session livened up with Giancarlo Fisichellas Sauber rolling to a silent halt with a mechanical problem in Turn 10 after only two laps. The stricken car was towed away by a course car under yellow flags.
Alonso spun his Renault in Turn 1; Zonta spun his Toyota in the last corner; Michael Schumacher went off in Turn 3, and both Giorgio Pantano and Bas Leinders had minor adventures going off and back on the track in Turn 2. Pantano also went off in Turn 1, while both McLarens spun, Raikkonen in Turn 2, Coulthard in Turn 13.
The Scot was 13th overall on 1m 32.301s, heading Takuma Sato (1m 32.500s), Monaco winner Jarno Trulli (1m 32.696s) and Cristiano da Matta (1m 32.915s.
There was another gap before Timo Glock led the Jordans on 1m 33.925s, just ahead of team mate Nick Heidfeld on 1m 33.971s. Pantano was 20th on 1m 34.488s. Ahead of him was Christian Klien on 1m 34.402s, while Bjorn Wirdheim in the third Jaguar lapped in 1m 35.043s.
Zsolt Baumgartner was the fastest Minardi driver with 1m 35.186s, ahead of Gianmaria Brunis 1m 36.236s and Bas Leinders 1m 37.609s. Fisichella failed to record a time.
Its early days yet and the track will warm up more this afternoon (track temperature peaked in the high 20s this morning), when the times can be expected to fall further still.