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Wurz quickest in opening session

NEWS STORY
17/03/2006

David Coulthard, who has really found his voice since leaving McLaren, is one of several critics of the current Grand Prix Friday format, a format which witnessed just 17 drivers completing any sort of timed lap in the first session in Bahrain.

Unfortunately, it is going to take more than DC to get the format changed, therefore, in light of the fact that none of the main championship contenders are going to want to push their cars, or more particularly, their engines, too hard, particularly here in Malaysia, we shouldn't expect to see too much action today.

Ahead of today's opening session, it's overcast, with no sign of rain, while humidity stands at 54%. The air temperature is 32 degrees C, and the track temperature is 34 degrees.

The lights go green and first out is Giorgio Mondini in the MF1, fresh from his A1 GP outing in Laguna Seca, followed by Wurz, Davidson, Jani, Ide, Doornbos, Speed, Monteiro and Massa, who is to forfeit ten grid spots following an engine change for this weekend's event.

Although most of the drivers return to their garages, having completed the obligatory installation lap, several remain on track, including Davidson and Jani. Few people understand why the Englishman did so little running last Friday in Bahrain, though we mustn't forget that Honda was one of the few teams to test at Sakhir pre-season.

The Honda driver crosses the line to post the first time of the weekend, a 1:41.079.

As Davidson improves (39.766), Kimi Raikkonen completes his installation lap. Elsewhere, Alexander Wurz posts 1:40.275 to go second.

Mondini takes third spot with a 1:49.284, as Davidson (38.849) and Wurz (39.114) both improve. Moments later the Austrian goes quickest with a 1:38.630. Montoya completes his installation lap.

As Ralf Schumacher completes his installation lap, Doornbos, Kubica and Ide take their place on the timesheets.

It's good to see a familiar face in the pitlane, Peter Sauber is talking to Nick Heidfeld in the BMW-Sauber garage.

Felipe Massa is back on track in the Ferrari, the Brazilian is the first of the major player to post a time, crossing the line at 1:38.317 to take top spot.

As Massa locks up, clearly still pushing too hard, Kubica goes second quickest (38.467), and looks set to go faster still.

The Pole goes quickest (38.152), but Davidson is already on a very fast lap, indeed the Englishman crosses the line at 1:37.485. Elsewhere, Massa has another lock-up.

As Jarno Trulli returns from his installation lap, former teammate, Fernando Alonso, goes out for his.

At the half-way point, the order is: Davidson, Kubica, Massa, Wurz, Doornbos, Jani, Sato, Mondini and Ide.

The session is over for Monteiro, who stops by the side of the track. The marshals swarm over the stricken car like worker bees. It appears to be in gear, making their task all the more difficult.

With fifteen minutes remaining, we have yet to see, Michael, Webber, Rosberg, Barrichello, Button, Heidfeld or Villeneuve. While only twelve drivers have actually posted times.

Alex Wurz is on a hot lap, having gone quickest in the first sector. The Austrian crosses the line at 1:34.946 to go quickest, over a second faster than Davidson.

Elsewhere, Massa is back on track, and again the Brazilian appears to be overdriving the Ferrari.

As the BMWs leave their garages, Ralf Schumacher goes fifth with a 1:37.826, splitting Doornbos and Massa.

With seven minutes remaining, Davidson has completed the most laps (20). The Englishman is currently on track, attempting to close in on Wurz.

As Doornbos stops on track, Michael Schumacher leaves the Ferrari garage.

David Coulthard goes fourth (37.042), as Michael begins his first flying lap of the weekend.

Wurz goes quickest in the first sector, as Michael goes quickest in the second. The German goes fifth quickest (37.073), splitting the Red Bulls of Coulthard and Doornbos. Elsewhere, Massa goes wide but is able to continue.

A 1:36.709 sees Juan Pablo Montoya go fourth, with thirty seconds of the session remaining.

The session ends with Wurz quickest, ahead of Kubica, Davidson, Montoya, Coulthard, Michael, Massa, Doornbos, Ralf and Klien.

No times from Raikkonen, Alonso, Fisichella, Villeneuve, Heidfeld, Webber, Rosberg, Barrichello and Button, the WillliamsF1 and Honda drivers not even completing an installation lap.

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