Schumacher fastest race driver in opening session
Alex Wurz led the way for McLaren after this mornings first practice session for the Grand Prix of Europe, the Austrian lapping the Nurburgring in 1m 31.670s in his MP4-20 literally as the flag fell.
However, Ferrari got off to a good start, with Michael Schumacher second and Rubens Barrichello fifth, on 1m 32.578s and 1m 32.984s respectively. Despite a track temperature of 44 degrees Celsius and an ambient of 27, the Italian cars Bridgestone tyres seem quite at home here so far.
Ricardo Zonta was third with 1m 32.726s in his Toyota, with Juan Pablo Montoyas late run netting him fourth quickest time in 1m 32.873s for McLaren. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth, with 1m 32.988s.
The Williams pair were next, in Monaco finishing order, with Nick Heidfeld on 1m 33.142s and Mark Webber 1mn 33.248s.
The top 10 was completed by Christian Klien (1m 33.304s for Red Bull, despite two offs in Turn 10) and the Toyotas of Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli on 1m 34.018s and 1m 34.212s respectively.
Felipe Massa missed Turn 10 on one occasion but then lapped his Sauber in 1m 35.142s, while team mate Jacques Villeneuve split the other Red Bulls for 14th best on 1m 35.716s. David Coulthard managed 1m 35.413s, Vitantonio Liuzzi 1m 36.129s.
Behind them, the Jordan-Minardi battle continues after Monaco. Tiago Monteiro upheld the honours for the yellow team with 1m 37.021s, but Christijan Albers best of 1m 37.406s for the blacks put him ahead of Narain Karthikeyan (1m 37.474s), Patrick Friesacher (1m 37.538s) and newcomer Franck Montagny (1m 37.725s, after going off in Turn 10).
These were the final runners. Neither BAR nor Renault did more than installation laps, the former in particular anxious to preserve their Imola engines.