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Fisichella leads final French GP practice

July 02, 2005 15:49 IST

Italian Giancarlo Fisichella set the pace for home favourites and championship leaders Renault in Saturday's final French Grand Prix practice.

With Spanish team mate and title frontrunner Fernando Alonso leading the way in a damp opening session, the omens looked promising for the French manufacturer in their hunt for a sixth win in 10 races.

Fisichella's best lap of one minute 14.466, on a drying track under leaden skies and a lively breeze, was comparatively slow.

Just nine of the 20 drivers completed a timed lap in the first 45-minute session, with neither Ferrari's world champion Michael Schumacher nor his Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello venturing out.

They all took part in the second stint, however, with Toyota's Ralf Schumacher second quickest ahead of McLaren's championship contender Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso.

Schumacher, chasing a record French Grand Prix win to become the first Formula One driver to win the same race eight times, was fifth fastest.

Alonso led the first session with a time of 1:23.939. Fisichella was second fastest.

Raikkonen, who will suffer a 10-place penalty on the starting grid after an engine failure in Friday practice, is 22 points adrift of Alonso in the championship.

Sunday's race marks the halfway point, the 10th race in a season of 19 Grands Prix. Alonso has 59 points to Raikkonen's 37 and Schumacher's 34.

Timings:

1.  Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy)     Renault   1:14.466
  2.  Ralf Schumacher (Germany)        Toyota    1:14.603
  3.  Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)         McLaren   1:14.649
  4.  Fernando Alonso (Spain)          Renault   1:14.792
  5.  Michael Schumacher (Germany)     Ferrari   1:14.979
  6.  Takuma Sato (Japan)              BAR       1:15.177
  7.  Rubens Barrichello (Brazil)      Ferrari   1:15.218
  8.  Juan Pablo Montoya (Colombia)    McLaren   1:15.223
  9.  Jenson Button (Britain)          BAR       1:15.228
10.  Jarno Trulli (Italy)             Toyota    1:15.249
11.  David Coulthard (Britain)        Red Bull  1:15.305
12.  Mark Webber (Australia)          Williams  1:16.080
13.  Christian Klien (Austria)        Red Bull  1:16.095
14.  Jacques Villeneuve (Canada)      Sauber    1:16.125
15.  Nick Heidfeld (Germany)          Williams  1:16.372
16.  Felipe Massa (Brazil)            Sauber    1:16.454
17.  Christijan Albers (Netherlands)  Minardi   1:17.846
18.  Patrick Friesacher (Austria)     Minardi   1:17.929
19.  Narain Karthikeyan (India)       Jordan    1:18.195
20.  Tiago Monteiro (Portugal)        Jordan    1:18.310


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