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Third drivers set early Silverstone pace 09 Jun 2006

Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 25 May 2006

Practice got off to a relatively leisurely start at Silverstone this morning, with 14 cars recording official lap times.

Williams' Alexander Wurz set the pace, after Anthony Davidson and Robert Kubica had spent most of the hour-long session swapping fastest times.

Austrian Wurz lapped in 1m 21.946s, which compares with Fernando Alonso’s 2005 pole time of 1m 19.905s. Davidson’s Honda best was 1m 22.003s for second, with Kubica third for BMW Sauber on 1m 22.365s. Jarno Trulli was fourth for Toyota on 1m 22.877s and the final runner below 1m 23s was Michael Schumacher on 1m 22.925s. The German subsequently spun going into Bridge on his last run, but did no damage to his Ferrari.

Rubens Barrichello headed Honda team mate Jenson Button (wearing a special World Cup-commemorating helmet livery in England’s colours). The Brazilian lapped in 1m 23.128s compared to the Briton’s 1m 23.415s. Felipe Massa took his Ferrari to eighth on 1m 23.816s, then came a trio of Midlands headed narrowly by Christijan Albers, who recorded 1m 24.019s before spinning at Luffield. Tiago Monteiro was breathing down his neck on 1m 24.070s and, despite a big spin at Luffield, tester Giorgio Mondini did well to match them with 1m 24.087s. Neel Jani took time off from his deputy job at Arden in GP2 to push the third Toro Rosso round in 1m 24.145s.

Franck Montagny brought out the red flag after 15 minutes when his Super Aguri stopped at Copse, and later team mate Takuma Sato spun his SA05 at Chapel. The Japanese driver continued, however, and set the 13th fastest time in 1m 27.724s. That beat new Friday team mate Sakon Yamamoto’s 1m 29.678s.

Neither of the Renaults and McLarens recorded times, and nor did the three Red Bulls, the two race BMW Saubers, the two race Williams, the two race Toro Rossos or Toyota’s Ralf Schumacher.

The times will improve again this afternoon, as more rubber goes down and everyone starts their serious race preparation.