Shaghai F1: Davidson fastest practice sessions

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> BAR test driver Anthony Davidson stole the limelight from Formula One's big names on Friday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Formula One's cars and drivers finally took to the track for the first time on Friday for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix. The brand new Shanghai International Circuit certainly looks impressive and it seems that the drivers are happy with how the 5.451-kilometre (3.388-mile) track performs. "The circuit is obviously quite impressive, the way it's done. It's very interesting, pretty unique I would say. It'll be a challenge for us because there are a lot of blind corners and they are tricky. So most of us, at least from my point of view, are quite happy to be here and to enjoy and experience this adventure," said Michael Schumacher. Friday also saw a return to action for Williams driver Ralf Schumacher since he was suffering spinal fractures at Indianapolis. "I've never really for one second thought about not racing again. That was never my problem for two reasons. First of all I love what I do and second I can't remember a thing about Indianapolis, so basically for me that race stopped before the start. I never started really so even if I see pictures now it's basically like you would look at them and see them as a spectator so there will be no problem for me," said Ralf Schumacher. Schumacher stalls Schumacher won't remember his first days racing at Shanghai with real fondness. At one point he was forced to push his Ferrari down the pit lane after stalling. He eventually registered a fastest time of 1 minute 34.776 seconds for eighth position, one place behind his brother Ralf. Schumacher's Brazilian team mate Rubens Barrichello, winner of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza 12 days ago, was fifth quickest overall. Afterwards Barrichello, who is still fighting to secure the runners-up position in the drivers standings said he was impressed with the track. Fourth fastest The McLaren of David Coulthard was fourth fastest. The Scot has still to secure a drive for next year and knows that he needs to put in a series of competitive performances if he is to stand a chance of getting one. His time of one minute 34.362 seconds was just a shade behind that of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in third, rounding off a strong session for McLaren. Second position went to the BAR Honda of Jenson Button in a time of one minute 34.174 seconds. Button still has an outside chance to overtake Barrichello for second place in the driver standings. He has 71 points to Barrichello's 98. But nobody could match the pace of the BAR test driver Anthoney Davidson who was fastest in both the morning and afternoon sessions. His performance may go some way to easing his disappointment at events last week. Davidson looked likely to earn a race seat at Jaguar but that dream was ended when parent company Ford put the team up for sale. His only hope of a race seat now rests at BAR, where David Coulthard appears to be his chief rival. So his display on Friday cannot have harmed his chances as he outpaced BAR team-mate Jenson Button by a massive 0.885secs, with a time of one minute 33.289 seconds. (AP)