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tlr online
05-03-04, 23:40
World champion Michael Schumacher was in dominant form in the third practice session ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The German flew round the Melbourne track in one minute 25.786 with Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello second fastest just 0.373 seconds behind. Williams duo Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher showed improvements finishing third and fourth. Britain's David Coulthard was fifth while BAR's Jenson Button was 10th.

Schumacher's rivals will have been pleased that the six-times world champion did not power out of reach as he did on Friday. Then the 35-year-old smashed the track record at Albert Park twice, setting a best time of 1:24.718. This time Montoya was able to close the gap on Schumacher to 0.409 compared to a deficit of nearly one-and-a-half seconds in the early practice sessions. Spain's Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest in his Renault ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen. A fourth and final practice ahead of qualifying will take place later.

www.bbc.co.uk (http://www.bbc.co.uk)