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Michael Schumacher rolled back the years on Friday morning when he set the fastest time for Mercedes in the opening practice session for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The 43-year-old German, seven times a world champion, clocked a best lap of one minute 25.422 seconds to outpace his rivals by three-tenths of a second and remind his fans of his once-presumed total mastery of the old Autodromo Nazionale at Monza.
Schumacher's nearest challenger was in-form Briton Jenson Button of McLaren who was narrowly ahead of Schumacher's Mercedes team mate and compatriot Nico Rosberg in third.
Fernando Alonso was fourth quickest, having stopped his Ferrari at the Variante Alta chicane with five minutes to go after suffering a suspected engine failure.
Alonso's Ferrari team mate Brazilian Felipe Massa was fifth ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
Kimi Raikkonen was seventh for Lotus ahead of Sergio Perez of Sauber, Mark Webber of Red Bull and Pastor Maldonado of Williams.
Schumacher was one of a number of drivers who hit the bumps at the Variante Alta.
He was not the only man to do so during the session, with Raikkonen, Germany's defending drivers champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, Webber, Massa and F1 rookie Ma Qing Hua of China, driving for the Hispania team, among others to smash over the kerbs at the first and second chicanes.
Hua, the first Chinese-born driver to take part in an official F1 session, had stepped in for Indian Narian Karthikeyan and made a solid effort in his first appearance, cutting five seconds from his early times to get within two of his team mate, veteran Pedro de la Rosa, taking part in his 100th Grand Prix, by the end.
Vettel could not quite break into the top 10. He was just four thousandths slower than Maldonado, while Lotus sub Jerome D'Ambrosio was 15th, just over a second slower than Raikkonen, as he made a cautious start as replacement this weekend for the suspended Romain Grosjean. - AFP
1 Michael Schumacher (Germany) Mercedes - 1min25.422
2 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren - 1min25.723
3 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes - 1min25.762
4 Fernando Alonso (Spain) Ferrari - 1min25.800
5 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari - 1min25.861
6 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren - 1min25.944
7 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Lotus - 1min26.046
8 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Sauber - 1min26.323
9 Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull - 1min26.390
10 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Williams - 1min26.504
11 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Red Bull - 1min26.508
12 Nico Huelkenberg (Germany) Force India - 1min26.518
13 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams - 1min26.641
14 Kamui Kobayashi (Japan) Sauber - 1min26.746
15 Jerome d'Ambrosio (Belgium) Lotus - 1min27.180
16 Jules Bianchi (France) Force India - 1min27.192
17 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Toro Rosso - 1min27.373
18 Jean-Eric Vergne (France) Toro Rosso - 1min27.789
19 Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Caterham - 1min27.855
20 Vitaly Petrov (Russia) Caterham - 1min28.578
21 Charles Pic (France) Marussia - 1min28.751
22 Timo Glock (Germany) Marussia - 1min29.207
23 Pedro de la Rosa (Spain) Hispania - 1min29.331
24 Ma Qinghua (China) Hispania - 1min31.239