|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Davidson quickest as F1 makes China debut
Alan Baldwin in Shanghai | September 24, 2004 15:20 IST
BAR test driver Anthony Davidson put Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in the shade on Friday as China made its debut on the Formula One stage.
The Briton, who will not race on Sunday when a sell-out 150,000 strong crowd is expected for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, was quickest in both free practice sessions at the $325 million track.
His best time of one minute 33.289 seconds, clocked on an overcast afternoon in front of a towering but largely empty grandstand, was already comfortably faster than circuit designers' estimated lap time of 1:34.000.
Germany's Ralf Schumacher, returning for Williams after a six-race absence following his big crash in the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis in June, was second quickest in the morning session with a time of 1:35.455.
But Briton Jenson Button, Davidson's BAR team mate, was second fastest in the afternoon in 1:34.174.
McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, winner in Belgium last month, was third fastest.
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher, who secured his seventh world championship at that race in Spa, was only 15th on the timesheets in the morning after stopping at the end of the pit exit with three minutes remaining.
The German phenomenon, winner of 12 of the season's 15 races to date, was eighth best in the afternoon but still more than a second off the pace.
Schumacher's Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, winner of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza 12 days ago, was fifth quickest overall.
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve, making his Formula One comeback with Renault after a year's absence, made a cautious start to his return and was 15th fastest in the second session after a late off-track excursion.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage