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Wolff runs top driver close in practice for grand prix

RACING driver Susie Wolff is the toast of the pitlane after lapping within two tenths of top driver Felipe Massa at Formula One practice in Germany.

Driving an identical Williams-Mercedes to the Brazilian 11-time winner and 2008 world championship runner-up the Oban-born development driver out-paced him early on in first practice yesterday for Sun-day's German Grand Prix.

Wolff, 31, who hopes to be the first woman driver to race in Formula One in 22 years, left her team-mate briefly struggling in her wake, forcing him to try harder to finish one spot above her. She completed 22 laps, finishing 15th and a place above Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who earlier caused controversy with sexist remarks about her.

Two weeks ago at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone she barely completed a lap in practice but yesterday, not even two fines totalling £1,580 for pit lane speeding could spoil her day.

Wolff said: "It was a case of going for it and it all felt fantastic. I picked up fines, so an expensive morning!"

BBC pundit Allan McNish said: "To be that close to Massa was a very strong performance."

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