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Test driver Davidson fastest

BEIJING, SEPT. 24. Briton's Anthony Davidson once again staked his claim to a fulltime Formula One race seat by setting the fastest time in both practice sessions on Friday for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

The BAR test driver, who will not race on Sunday, topped the timesheets with a best lap of 1m33.289s. Jenson Button set the second fastest in the afternoon session with a time of 1:34.174.

Ralf Schumacher celebrated his return to active duty with Williams by clocking 1m 35.455s, second quickest in the morning. The German, however, fell to seventh with a time of 1:34.714 in the second session, Xinhua news agency said.

Kimi Raikkonen of McLaren, winner in Belgium last month, was third fastest in 1:34.289 in the afternoon, followed by his team-mate David Coulthard.

World champion Michael Schumacher, who clinched an unprecedented seventh drivers' crown in Belgium, was a surprise 15th on the timesheets in the morning. He managed to go up to seventh overall.

Meanwhile, Formula One teams have praised Shanghai's brand-new circuit. "What we see here is absolutely amazing, fantastic," Jordan team boss Eddie Jordan said of the circuit.

"They need all the congratulations that you can imagine because it's the detail, it's things like the teams' rooms and the facilities there. We don't have that anywhere else, and these people have set the benchmark," he said.

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore echoed Jordan's compliment and compared the state-of-the-art track with that of Bahrain's Sakhir circuit, which also hosted its first GP this season.

"Everybody has said the circuit is fantastic. This is an example," he said. "To beat this one is really, really difficult. For me, Bahrain was already impressive but this one is better." — PTI

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