Honda third driver Anthony Davidson kicked off the US Grand Prix weekend at Indianapolis with the fastest time in the first practice session, 1:12.083. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher only did one flying lap but it was enough for second quickest, just under four tenths off, and BMW Sauber No.3 Robert Kubica was third on the time sheet.
The track temperature was close to 40 degrees as the third drivers led out. Robert Doornbos (Red Bull), Kubica, Alex Wurz (Williams), Giorgio Mondini (MF1), Neel Jani (Toro Rosso), Davidson and Sakon Yamamoto (Super Aguri) spooled out onto the track, along with the Super Aguris of Franck Montagny and Takuma Sato and the MF1s of Tiago Monteiro and Christijan Albers.
Davidson clocked 1:15.397 to start the proceedings and Wurz was over a second off, then closed the gap to less than a tenth. Toro Rosso's Tonio Liuzzi was next out for an installation lap and Davidson improved to 1:14.695, leaving Wurz six tenths down as he too improved. Davidson stayed out and his next was a 1:13.837, the Williams then one and a half seconds adrift.
The second Toro Rosso of local hero Scott Speed ventured out and Kubica took over the second spot, less than a tenth off Davidson. He was followed on the time sheet by Wurz, Doornbos and Mondini. Jani then moved into third and Yamamoto took seventh, and Kubica went to the top with a 1:13.721, just over a tenth up on Davidson. Montagny posted seventh on his first timed lap.
After the initial activity it went quiet for a while. Speed seemed to have car troubles and abandoned his Toro Rosso in the pit lane, while Yamamoto was the only one lapping but stayed at the bottom of the list of eight drivers who had set a time. Heading towards the halfway point of the session Davidson reappeared and went fastest, 1:13.154 for over half a second up on Kubica.
Doornbos improved to fourth and Sato took seventh off teammate Montagny but there was still little action. Jarno Trulli's Toyota went out for an installation lap, followed by teammate Ralf Schumacher and Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella. Kubica narrowed the deficit to Davidson to three and a half tenths but the Honda man responded with a 1:12.852 to lengthen his lead to six and a half tenths.
In the last 15 minutes Fernando Alonso's Renault took a trip round the track, as did the Red Bulls of Christian Klien and David Coulthard and the McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya. Mondini improved to fourth and Davidson lowered his top time to 1:12.083. The Hondas of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello appeared and Albers made it onto the time sheet in 10th.
Button posted third on his first flyer and Speed had made it back out on track to clock eighth. Liuzzi took 11th and Monteiro 12th, while Albers moved up to take eighth off Speed. Barrichello did likewise to take third off his teammate and Monteiro climbed to ninth. In the last five minutes the BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve went out and the Michael popped up in second.
However, the German then bought out the yellow flags when the Ferrari spun into the gravel in the first sector, which pretty much prevented anyone else setting a flyer in the remaining few minutes. As usual there's not much to say about the initial session of the weekend, due to so little action. Final top eight classification: Davidson, M. Schumacher, Kubica, Barrichello, Button, Jani, Mondini, Wurz.