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Practice One - red tide on the St Lawrence River 11 Jun 2004

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Preparations, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 10 June 2004 Anthony Davidson (GBR) BAR Test Driver talks with a Jaguar Team member.
Formula One World Championship, Rd8, Preparations, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, 10 June 2004

BAR's Anthony Davidson the champions closest rival

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello ended this morning’s first practice session for the Canadian Grand Prix first and second for Ferrari, bang on their schedule.

Jordan’s third driver Timo Glock was the first man out on the track, where a surface temperature of 34 degrees Celsius and a gentle breeze made for almost perfect conditions.

Meanwhile, team mate Giorgio Pantano’s car sat ready to roll in the garage, together with both Ferraris and the two leading BAR, as everyone else did their installation laps. Pantano is managed by Danish entrepreneur Lars-Christian Brask, who helped to finance his early career. However, Pantano’s father Guiseppe, is in dispute with Brask over the future management of his son’s career, and this led to Pantano failing to run because of what the team described as a “private problem.”

There is no word yet on whether Glock will actually race for the team this weekend, but the Pantano situation could be resolved before this afternoon’s session. Glock was the first to set a time, 1m 21.870s, but that was quickly bettered by Ricardo Zonta and Anthony Davidson, in Toyota and BAR respectively.

Within 20 minutes Michael Schumacher had obliterated the 2003 pole time of 1m 15.529s set by brother Ralf with am 15.014s for Ferrari, further indication of the leap in tyre technology this season. When Jarno Trulli edged his Renault within spitting distance of that (1m 15.428s), the champion calmly responded with 1m 14.158s and then 1m 14.077s and, right at the end, 14. 013s. He was docked a lap of 1m 14.062s for missing the chicane, but it hardly mattered. Barrichello improved to 1m 14.418s, then 1m 14.291s.

Ultimately it was Anthony Davidson who got closest to them, for BAR, with a lap of 1m 14.519s on his first run on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, followed by Ricardo Zonta (1m 14.952s). The Renaults were next, with Trulli just shading Fernando Alonso, 1m 15.428s to 1m 15.606s, then Jenson Button eased himself in with a gentle 1m 15.905s to head the Williams duo, Juan Pablo Montoya lapping in 1m 15.928s to beat Ralf Schumacher by two hundredths of a second. Olivier Panis rounded out the top 10 for Toyota on 1m 15.997s.

Giancarlo Fisichella was 11th for Sauber with 1m 16.240s, ahead of Toyota’s Cristiano da Matta (1m 16.475s), Kimi Raikkonen (1m 16.570s) in the McLaren, BAR’s Takuma Sato (1m 16.655s), Jaguar’s Mark Webber (1m 16.820s) and David Coulthard (1m 16.947s) in the second McLaren.

At Jordan Nick Heidfeld was 17th on 1m 17.135s, while Glock did not better 1m 17.890s for 19th. Between them came the Sauber of Felipe Massa on 1m 17.447s, while Christan Klien was 20th on 1m 18.463s for Jaguar.

Minardi drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Zsolt Baumgartner lapped in 1m 18.828s and 1m 18.959s respectively, the former briefly running wide off track in Turn 8, but there was worse luck for third driver Bas Leinders when his car rolled to a halt in Turn 1 on his first flying lap. Jaguar’s third man Bjorn Wirdheim was also out of luck, failing to record a time after his R5 hit mechanical problems.

There were a few minor moments. Massa went off briefly in Turn 15, as did Klien, da Matta and Alonso. Ralf Schumacher got that corner wrong, as well as Turn 1. Panis went over the grass in Turn 8.