BMW WilliamsF1 driver Ralf Schumacher bounced back from his three-month lay off, to set the quickest time today [Tuesday], during the first day of testing at Silverstone, and thereby silence his critics in the best way possible.

The German, who suffered two spinal fractures after crashing at the US GP in June, experienced no pain, completing 32 laps, his best a 1 minute 18.014 seconds.

"I have no back pain any more, everything's gone well," he told Reuters.

"I want to be back for the race in Shanghai."

Williams, like most the teams at the Northamptonshire circuit, spent the day working on set-up in preparation for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, on September 26. The weather though was far from perfect, with occasional rain, and persistent wind.

McLaren-Mercedes third driver, Alexander Wurz meanwhile was 'best of the rest', over a second slower, while BAR-Honda duo, Anthony Davidson and Jenson Button were third and fifth respectively, sandwiching the Toyota of Ricardo Zonta.

Pedro de la Rosa was next up in sixth, with Renault's Fernando Alonso seventh and Olivier Panis eighth.

Timo Glock was ninth for Jordan, the last to set a competitive time, a 1m 22.241s, while Franck Montagny and Marc Gene both, judging from their times had issues, failing to break the 1m 30s barrier.

Testing continues tomorrow [Wednesday].

Leading times (14 September) - Silverstone:

1. Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 1m 18.014s 32 laps M
2. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes 1m 19.083s 36 laps M
3. Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda 1m 19.367s 65 laps M
4. Ricardo Zonta Toyota-Toyota 1m 19.521s 47 laps M
5. Jenson Button BAR-Honda 1m 19.559s 45 laps M
6. Pedro de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes 1m 19.560s 54 laps M
7. Fernando Alonso Renault-Renault 1m 19.739s 55 laps M
8. Olivier Panis Toyota-Toyota 1m 20.137s 59 laps M
9. Timo Glock Jordan-Ford 1m 22.241s 51 laps B
10. Franck Montagny Renault-Renault 1m 30.473s 25 laps M
11. Marc Gene Williams-BMW 1m 32.047s 33 laps M

M denotes Michelin tyres.
B denotes Bridgestone tyres.

Track conditions/weather: Cloudy, windy and intermittent rain.

All times unofficial - courtesy of McLaren.

Comparative lap times:

British GP 2004:

Fastest lap: Michael Schumacher Ferrari 1min 18.739secs Pole position: Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes 1min 18.233secs