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BAR Honda test driver Anthony Davidson upset the top drivers Friday, posting the quickest time as the British outfit took a
one-two in the final Friday practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix. The Briton, who won't be racing Sunday, stormed to the front of the leaderboard with a last minute lap of 1 min 33.289sec, pushing his teammate Jenson Button into second, 0.885secs back.
Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the McLaren-Mercedes, who did only five laps in the morning session, was third with his partner David Coulthard racing to fourth. World champion Michael Schumacher, who had car trouble in the morning session, bounced back in the afternoon but could only manage eighth. The winner in Monza two weeks ago, Rubens Barrichelo, was fifth.
It was a scintillating drive from Davidson who also topped the times in the morning session as he stakes his claim for a full-time Formula One seat. BAR's other driver Takuma Sato was forced to watch him steal the show after failing to complete a single lap after being forced off when thick white smoke started belching from his car just seconds into the afternoon practice.
Davidson left his charge late, posting his time in the final minutes of the hour-long session, toppling Button who had jostled with Raikkonen for the quickest time all afternoon. Several drivers struggled on what is a brand new track, failing to negotiate some punishing twists and turns. Juan Pablo Montoya spun his Williams as did Ricardo Zonta in the Toyota.
Davidson also had some early troubles but recovered remarkably, giving BAR a timely boost as they battle Renault for second place in the constructors championships. BAR have 94 points and Renault 91. Ferrari have already sealed the title. Renault's Fernando Alonso could only manage 13th while returning former world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who team boss Flavio Briatore said he wants to finish in the points, trailed in 15th as he got to grips with a new car.
Rounding out the top ten were Giancarlo Fisichella in sixth, Ralf Schumacher in seventh and the Toyota pair of Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis in ninth and tenth. The drivers were all on the track for the first time ever Friday with China
hosting its maiden Grand Prix. Designed by renowned German Hermann Tilke, the circuit features five punishing left hand corners and five right and a massive straight spanning 1,175-metres linking turns 13 and 14.
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