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Wurz and Williams the early leaders in China 29 Sep 2006

The new front wing on the Williams FW28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Chinese Grand Prix, Preparations, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, 28 September 2006

Alexander Wurz and Anthony Davidson traded fastest times during this morning’s first practice session for the third Chinese Grand Prix, the honours finally going to the Austrian Williams driver with a lap of 1m 35.574s over the Englishman’s 1m 35.591s for Honda. Those times compare with Fernando Alonso’s 2005 pole time of 1m 34.080s.

A late flurry of activity saw Jenson Button emerge to post third fastest time of 1m 37.291s in the other Honda, all three of the RA106s wearing blue and yellow colours for this race. Rubens Barrichello did only four laps in his, for 12th-fastest time of 1m 39.217s.

Michael Schumacher likewise restricted his lappery, ending up fourth with 1m 37.712s in a Ferrari 248 F1 that boasts new rear suspension.

Neel Jani took his Toro Rosso round in 1m 37.734s for fifth, ahead of Alexandre Premat, who took over the Friday test duties for Spyker MF1 and lapped in 1m 37.787s Sebasien Vettel was seventh for BMW Sauber on 1m 37.913s. Team mate Robert Kubica went out at the end, lapping his F1.06 in 1m 38.063s. Michael Ammermuller made his Friday debut with Red Bull and posted 1m 38.460s for ninth, ahead of Super Aguri’s Franck Montagny on 1m 38.464s.

Tonio Liuzzi was 11th for Toro Rosso in 1m 39.000s, with Scott Speed the other side of Barrichello on 1m 39.428s. Then came Christijan Alber’s Spyker MF1 (1m 39.494s), Takuma Sato’s Super Aguri (1m 39.887s) and the final Spyker MF1 of Tiago Monteiro (1m 39.947s).

Super Aguri’s Sakon Yamamoto was 17th on 1m 41.415s, and the final recorded time was Kimi Raikkonen’s 1m 45.890s. The Finn spun through 360 degrees in Turn 7, which accounted for his slow lap.

The Toyotas and race Red Bulls did installation laps only, while Fernando Alonso, Giancarlo Fisichella, Pedro de la Rosa, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg all stayed in their garages.

Davidson, Montagny, Wurz and Jani all had off-track incidents, while Ammermuller spun in Turn 10.

Sato will lose 10 grid places after Super Aguri had to change the engine that was itself a replacement at Monza, but Barrichello escaped a similar penalty after Honda replaced oil scavenge pump rotors in his engine under FIA supervision.