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Last Updated: Friday, 28 July 2006, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Schumacher puts Alonso in shade
German GP, 30 July, 1300 BST

Fernando Alonso leaves the pits at Hockenheim
Alonso is coming under increasing pressure from Ferrari
Michael Schumacher underlined during practice at the German Grand Prix on Friday his determination to eat further into Fernando Alonso's points lead.

The Ferrari star, who has won the last two races, was the fastest race driver at Hockenheim with Alonso's Renault well down the field in 15th place.

Schumacher was 0.277 seconds behind BMW Sauber tester Robert Kubica's lap of one minute 16.225sec.

McLaren-Mercedes' Kimi Raikkonen was the next fastest race driver.

The Finn was just ahead of Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Honda test driver Anthony Davidson. Williams test driver Alexander Wurz was second fastest overall, ahead of Schumacher, with a time set in the first session.

In the first session, Alonso broke his usual habit by setting a time, while Schumacher stayed in the pits.

Super Aguri's Takuma Sato in the team's new car
Super Aguri introduced their new car in Friday practice
The world champion, who is 17 points ahead of Schumacher, usually sits out the session to save tyres for later in the weekend.

But, on the back of two races in which he has seen Michael Schumacher cut his championship lead cut by eight points, he set seventh fastest time.

The start of Renault's weekend was clouded in controversy after they first successfully got the stewards to overturn a ban on a suspension system they had pioneered only to remove it from the cars when the sport's rulers said they would appeal.

The "mass damper" system, which uses a counterweight within the suspension to enhance stability, had been copied by at least six other teams, but was banned by governing body the FIA after the last race on the grounds it was aiding the cars' aeroydnamic performance.

However, Renault submitted their spare car for scrutiny at Hockenheim with the component still installed.

The race stewards ruled that it was permissible. But when the FIA declared it was unhappy with the stewards' decision and is likely to appeal against it, Renault decided against fitting it to their cars.

The conditions were difficult for the drivers

Pat Symonds
Renault engineering director
Had Renault raced with the system, they would have lost their points had the FIA been successful in its appeal against its own stewards' decision.

Renault said they were not concerned by their times in the second session.

"The conditions were difficult for the drivers," engineering director Pat Symonds said.

"Even once the midday rain had disappeared, the track was left in an unusual condition and we didn't seem to find a clear bit of it for the drivers at any point.

"However, both Giancarlo [Fisichella] and Fernando reported that the car is handling normally, and we have got a first idea of how the Michelin tyres are performing."

Super Aguri ran their new car for the first time at a Grand Prix weekend, with Japan's Sakon Yamamoto replacing France's Franck Montagny in Sunday's race line-up.


Combined times from Friday's two practice sessions for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim:

1. Robert Kubica* (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:16.225
2. Alexander Wurz* (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 1:16.349**
3. Michael Schumacher (Ger) Ferrari 1:16.502
4. Anthony Davidson* (GB) Honda 1:16.523**
5. Robert Doornbos* (Ned) RedBull-Ferrari 1:16.549
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.040**
7. Felipe Massa (Brz) Ferrari 1: 17.205
8. Mark Webber (Aus) Williams-Cosworth 1:17.344
9. Jenson Button (GB) Honda 1:17.439**
10. Pedro de la Rosa (Spa) McLaren-Mercedes 1:17.516
11. Rubens Barrichello (Brz) Honda 1:17.519
12. Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Renault 1:17.672
13. Ralf Schumacher (Ger) Toyota 1:17.895
14. Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:17.844
15. Markus Winkelhock* (Ger) MF1-Toyota 1:17.962
16. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 1:18.082
17. Christian Klien (Aut) RedBull-Ferrari 1:18.223
18. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Ita) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:18.366
19. Neel Jani* (Swi) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:18.460
20. David Coulthard (GB) RedBull-Ferrari 1:18.616
21. Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:18.636
22. Christijan Albers (Ned) MF1-Toyota 1:18.643
23. Jacques Villeneuve (Can) BMW Sauber 1:18.972**
24. Tiago Monteiro (Por) MF1-Toyota 1:18.991
25. Scott Speed (US) Toro Rosso-Cosworth 1:19.232
26. Takuma Sato (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:19.232
27. Sakon Yamamoto (Jpn) Super Aguri-Honda 1:21.218**
28. Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams-Cosworth 1:34.942**

* = test driver not eligible to race

** = time set in first session

SEE ALSO
Trulli signs new Toyota contract
28 Jul 06 |  Formula One
Schumacher issues title warning
26 Jul 06 |  Formula One


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