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De la Rosa sets early Silverstone pace 08 Jul 2005

Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, French Grand Prix, Practice Day, Magny-Cours, France, 1 July 2005

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa assumed his customary position at the head of Friday morning’s practice times, after an uneventful opening session for the British Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was the only driver to lap below 1m 20s, with 1m 19.205s, emulating McLaren’s recent testing speed.

Ricardo Zonta was second fastest for Toyota on 1m 20.139s, while Jenson Button raised BAR's hopes with a lap of 1m 20.211s which put him just ahead of pre-race favourite Kimi Raikkonen with 1m 20.411s.

Then there was a gap before Ralf Schumacher’s 1m 21.080s and Juan Pablo Montoya’s 1m 21.091s, and another as Michael Schumacher claimed seventh fastest time with 1m 21.453s. The champion’s one ‘moment’ came when he tapped the back end of Mark Webber’s Williams as they came into the pits at the end. The Ferrari’s nose was lightly scraped.

Takuma Sato lapped his BAR in 1m 21.582s, well clear of ninth fastest Rubens Barrichello on 1m 22.216s. Felipe Massa was the final man in the top 10 on 1m 22.350s for Sauber. David Coulthard headed the Red Bull trio with his lap of 1m 22.403s, with Christian Klien on 1m 22.456s and Tonio Liuzzi 1m 22.615s.

Jacques Villeneuve’s lap of 1m 23.370s was sufficient to pip Webber’s 1m 23.394s, the Australian having a brief off-track excursion in Turn 6. Williams team mate Nick Heidfeld was a second adrift on 1m 24.321s, just ahead of Narain Karthikeyan on 1m 24.581s.

Tiago Monteiro spun his Jordan in Turn 5 before lapping in 1m 25.488s, just ahead of Robert Doornbos who took the new EJ15B to 1m 25.560s.

Christijan Albers was the faster Minardi pilot on 1m 25.897s, with Patrick Friesacher managing only 1m 27.246s.

Neither of the Renaults, nor Jarno Trulli, did more than installation laps.