Sutil quickest around wet Hockenheim circuit

Adrian Sutil topped the timesheets infront of his home fans, as rain disrupted the opening practice session for the German Grand Prix.

The Force India driver revelled in the damp conditions and found himself over a second clear of the field, as the track dried out.

Felipe Massa, who had no less than five offs during the session, was second for Ferrari, with Jenson Button in third.

Rubens Barrichello, returning to the circuit where he scored his first ever win, was fourth, with Nico Rosberg fifth for Mercedes.

Although track conditions would improve throughout the 90-minute session, a number of drivers continued to make errors.

But this would not deter Sutil, who continued to lower the benchmark as the majority of the field switched from wets to  intermediates.

Lewis Hamilton’s weekend did not get off the perfect start when, with twenty minutes remaining, he crashed at turn 3. Although the McLaren driver had through tirelessly to correct his error, he was unable to prevent his MP4-25 bouncing across the gravel and colliding with the barrier – causing significant damage to its gearbox.

As a disconsolate Hamilton walked back to the pits, minutes later the Hispania of Bruno Senna found itself beached in the gravel. The Brazilian driver appeared to lose control of his car on the final turn of the lap, and spun as it touched the kerb.

The session was full of surprises with Vitaly Petrov faster than his Renault team-mate, Robert Kubica, and Timo Glock managing to set the twelfth fastest lap for Virgin.

Additionally, a number of the sport’s front-running drivers found themselves languishing down the order – with the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber eleventh and fourteenth; Fernando Alonso in nineteenth and Michael Schumacher twenty-second after experiencing a late issue with his rear wing.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
1.   Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:25.701            20
2.   Massa          Ferrari                1:26.850  + 1.149   27
3.   Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:26.936  + 1.235   16
4.   Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:26.947  + 1.246   21
5.   Petrov         Renault                1:26.948  + 1.247   21
6.   Rosberg        Mercedes               1:27.448  + 1.747   20
7.   Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:28.114  + 2.413   31
8.   Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:28.193  + 2.492   24
9.   Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:28.300  + 2.599   19
10.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         1:28.486  + 2.785   23
11.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:28.735  + 3.034   21
12.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:28.735  + 3.034   21
13.  Kubica         Renault                1:28.903  + 3.202   20
14.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:29.048  + 3.347   13
15.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:29.280  + 3.579   17
16.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:29.366  + 3.665   34
17.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:29.429  + 3.728    8
18.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:29.500  + 3.799   19
19.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:29.684  + 3.983   15
20.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:29.690  + 3.989   17
21.  Fauzy          Lotus-Cosworth         1:30.938  + 5.237   27
22.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:31.720  + 6.019   23
23.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:32.450  + 6.749   13
24.  Yamamoto       HRT-Cosworth           1:32.791  + 7.090   26