F1 Hockenheim FP1&2 Results and Report: Sutil & Alonso Share the Honors in the Damp

What Happens When It’s Rainy

9:32am EST — Hockenheim spent Friday getting wet and drying out, leaving Adrian Sutil and Fernando Alonso to share the glory of fastest times in the first two practice sessions of the 2010 German Grand Prix weekend.  The biggest story, though, was that of Lewis Hamilton’s shunt in the first session, which damaged his car so heavily that he lost the bulk of running time in both sessions and only posted eighteen laps total.  With rain forecast for Saturday’s practice and also possibly for the qualifying session but not for Sunday’s race, the data gathered Friday could be extremely helpful or of no use at all.  In the first, wetter, session, teams such as Ferrari and McLaren had one driver near the top and one further back, while the second session had a Ferrari-Red Bull-Ferrari-Red Bull- Mercedes top five.  Nico Rosberg was in the top six in both sessions, so the Mercedes has the possibility of doing well in any conditions, though little can be taken from any Friday session.

Sutil was fastest, by more than a second, over Massa, Button, Barrichello, and Petrov filled out the fastest five int he slippery wet of the first practice session of the Hockenheim weekend.  The most dramatic of the many spins in the wet was that of Hamilton, who ran over some standing water and corrected a bit too much, sliding though wet grass and into the wall, taking off the front wing and heavily damaging much of the car, including the left-rear suspension and likely the new blown diffuser.  The track did dry out as the session progressed, dropping early leader Rosberg to sixth as the drivers found their footing.  Button was one of those, moving up to third after spending much of hte session down in the bottom of the times.  Red Bull drivers Vettel and Webber were eleventh and fourteenth, respectively, while Alonso was nineteenth and Schumacher had to suffer being the second slowest man of the session, beating out only new HRT race driver in for Karun Chandhok, Sakon Yamamoto.

Final Times for FP1:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Adrian Sutil 1:25.701 20
2. Felipe Massa 1:26.235 +1.149 27
3. Jenson Button 1:26.936 +1.235 16
4. Rubens Barrichello 1:26.947 +1.246 21
5. Vitaly Petrov 1:26.948 +1.247 21
6. Nico Rosberg 1:27.448 +1.747 20
7. Sebastien Buemi 1:28.114 +2.413 31
8. Nico Hulkenberg 1:28.193 +2.492 24
9. Tonio Liuzzi 1:28.300 +2.599 19
10. Pedro de la Rosa 1:28.486 +2.785 23
11. Sebastian Vettel 1:28.735 +3.034 21
12. Timo Glock 1:28.735 +3.034 21
13. Robert Kubica 1:28.903 +3.202 20
14. Mark Webber 1:29.048 +3. 347 13
15. Jarno Trulli 1:29.280 +3.579 17
16. Jaime Alguersuari 1:29.366 +3.665 34
17. Lewis Hamilton 1:29.429 +3.728 8
18. Lucas de Grassi 1:29.500 +3.799 19
19. Fernando Alonso 1:29.684 +3.983 15
20. Kamui Kobayashi 1:29.690 +3.989 17
21. Fairuz Fauzy 1:30.938 +5.237 27
22. Bruno Senna 1:31.720 +6.019 23
23. Michael Schumacher 1:32.450 +6.749 13
24. Sakon Yamamoto 1:32.791 +7.090 26

A half hour into the second session, the conditions were still generally dry-ish, despite the circuit declared wet, and Alonso was at the top of the timesheets with a 1:18.307.  He was followed by teammate Massa, Schumacher, Button, Sutil, Hulkenberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Buemi, and Petrov as the fastest ten drivers.  Hamilton looked to be missing the entire session, and the only bit of dry running before Saturday’s qualifying, as rain is forecast for that morning.  Most of the drivers were in the garage just after the one-third mark.  Ten minutes and multiple spins by various drivers later and Hulkenberg had become quite fast, posting the second fastest time a minute or so before Webber posted the fastest lap to that point of the session.  All of the times were faster than those in the far wetter first session, though Webber was nearly a second faster than Alonso, as Sutil was over a second faster than second fastest Massa in the first session.

The times continued to drop with Alonso going fastest of all as a dry line really formed, though there was still a lot of damp, wet, and water-covered patches on the track.  Webber countered by setting a time in the 1:16s (and the only driver to do so to that point) of 1:16.585, with Alonso soon taking the top spot back, with Massa third fastest.  He had pipped Webber for second fastest when a half hour remained in the session, with Vettel, Schumacher, Barrichello, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Rosberg, and Sutil rounding out the top ten.

Hamilton’s car looked to be completely coming together and possibly able to set some lap times with about twenty minutes left as Ferrari said, “Now it’s time to run on high fuel with just 23 minutes to go,” with both dirvers back out on their used set of soft tires.  Vettel, meanwhile, had moved up to second fastest.  Just under twenty minutes left and only Hamilton, Vettel, Kubica, Kobayashi, di Grassi, and Senna were in their garages as the track continued to dry, and many other drivers went in for changes before the final minutes of the session.  The data gathered would be helpful only for the race, with rain still forecast for much of Saturday.

While Schumacher had moved up from his dismal first session pace to sixth fastest with fifteen minutes left, he radioed about severe lack of grip at the rear after, as the team put it on Twitter, he “had a little off,” whereupon he pitted.  The tires looked to be graining as well.  Sole McLaren driver on the circuit, Button, was running in fourteenth.  Ten minutes left in the session and Alonso still led Vettel, Massa, Webber, and Rosberg as the fastest five, as Hamilton put in his first laps of the second session, with no installation lap.  He was soon up to fifteenth, though the rebuild without coming back in for a quick check-over by the mechanics gave former Benetton mechanic and current SPEED announcer (and recent subject of a F1B Downshift interview) Steve Matchett a bit of a fright.

Meanwhile, Trulli’s Lotus had caused a local yellow, having stopped on the circuit.  Schumacher’s session was also over, as the team said, “Some slight damage to Michael’s car so we’ve decided to end his session early,” with a time then that put him as sixth fastest with the track still drying.  Hamilton’s last lap brought him up to seventh, on the harder tires.  The top six did not change in the final minutes.

Final Times for FP2:

Driver Time Gap Laps
1. Fernando Alonso 1:16.265 35
2. Sebastian Vettel 1:16.294 +.029 26
3. Felipe Massa 1:16.438 +.173 37
4. Mark Webber 1:16.585 +.320 40
5. Nico Rosberg 1:16.827 +.562 32
6. Michael Schumacher 1:16.971 +.706 20
7. Lewis Hamilton 1:17.004 +.739 10
8. Robert Kubica 1:17.009 +.744 37
9. Rubens Barrichello 1:17.056 +.791 37
10. Nico Hulkenberg 1:17.204 +.939 44
11. Kamui Kobayashi 1:17.336 +1.071 44
12. Vitaly Petrov 1:17.547 +1.282 35
13. Pedro de la Rosa 1:17.573 +1.308 39
14. Adrian Sutil 1:17.701 +1.436 38
15. Jenson Button 1:17.739 +1.474 36
16. Tonio Liuzzi 1:17.871 +1.606 33
17. Sebastien Buemi 1:18.147 +1.882 45
18. Jaime Alguersuari 1:19.327 +3.062 48
19. Timo Glock 1:19.553 +3.288 30
20. Jarno Trulli 1:20.008 +3.743 34
21. Lucas di Grassi 1:20.106 +3.841 31
22. Heikki Kovalainen 1:20.377 +4.112 37
23. Bruno Senna 1:21.988 +5.723 37
24. Sakon Yamamoto 1:23.066 +6.801 37

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