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Ferrari set early Silverstone pace 09 Jul 2004

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari enters the paddock.
Formula One World Championship, British Grand Prix, Rd 11, Preparations, Silverstone, England, 8 July 2004

An encore for Barrichello in opening session

Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher traded fastest lap initially in this morning’s first practice session for the British Grand Prix, before Rubens Barrichello asserted himself just as he did here a year ago. The Brazilian set pole for the 2003 race in 1m 21.209s, but that was decimated within minutes and he eventually set a best time of 1m 19.138s, with Schumacher on 1m 19.214s.

It was a generally quiet session, run under cloudy skies but on a dry track, and the two Williams pushed up to the third and fourth best times with Juan Pablo Montoya (who briefly ran wide at Becketts on one lap) just ahead of Marc Gene with 1m 19.502s to 1m 19.687s. Anthony Davidson was in his usual strong form for BAR on 1m 19.748s, and David Coulthard’s hopes of a podium finish looked reasonable as he set sixth best time of 1m 20.021s.

Massa finished up an encouraging seventh, pleased with the performance of his Sauber with its new, lower rear bodywork, as he recorded 1m 20.430s. Team mate Giancarlo Fisichella was next on 1m 20.446s, but his car rolled to a halt on the pit straight after its 10th lap.

Kimi Raikkonen was ninth for McLaren on 1m 20.633s after only five laps, and Jenson Button completed the top 10 with 1m 20.866s for BAR.

Behind them came Toyota’s Ricardo Zonta (1m 21.095s), the Jaguar of Bjorn Wirdheim (1m 21.277s), Takuma Sato in the BAR (1m 21.285s), Jaguar’s Mark Webber (1m 21.520s) and Jarno Trulli (1m 21.792s) for Renault.

Fernando Alonso was one of the morning’s casualties, when his Renault stopped at Stowe after five laps and a best time of 1m 22.003s. He was 16th, ahead of Jaguar’s Christian Klien (1m 22.279s), then the Toyotas of Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis (1m 22.466s and 1m 22.520s).

Giorgio Pantano was the fastest Jordan driver on 1m 22.664s, ahead of Nick Heidfeld (1m 22.716s) and Timo Glock (1m 23.149s). A late improvement put Gianmaria Bruni ahead of Minardi team mates Zsolt Baumgartner and Bas Leinders, with 1m 23.663s to 1m 23.715s and 1m 24.887s respectively.