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Sutil tops first practice in Bahrain

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Bahrain GPAdrian Sutil struck the first blow of the 2010 Formula 1 season, by setting the fastest time in the first free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix for Force India.

The German slightly upset the form-book by edging double world champion and pre-season favourite Fernando Alonso to the top spot with a 1m56.583s lap. The Ferrari driver's last ditch attempt was just 0.183s shy of Sutil.

Robert Kubica provided another surprise by going third fastest for Renault - the Pole having proved competitive whenever he was on track. His yellow machine was 0.458s back from Sutil, and less than three tenths faster than Felipe Massa's second Ferrari.

The McLarens of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were next up, having enjoyed a battle for the top spot in the early stages of the session.

Vitantonio Liuzzi proved the pace of the Force India in seventh ahead of Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and the returning Michael Schumacher - who was more than 0.4s slower than his Mercedes team-mate.

A fascinating first free practice was opened by Jarno Trulli, who brought the Lotus name back on track in an official session for the first time since the Australian Grand Prix in 1994.

The Italian was also quickly out on track after the obligatory break that follows the flurry of installation laps at the start of practice. Trulli was joined by team-mate Heikki Kovalainen - who also opened the serious times with a 2m04.225s.

Just prior to the 30-minute mark, Hamilton joined the fray in the controversial new McLaren and lowered that target to a more realistic 1m57.759s

He didn't keep the top spot for long, however, as his team-mate Button went faster with a 1m57.068s lap.

The world champion wasn't the only man on track as the session reached the hour mark and new Ferrari-man Alonso moved to the front with a 1m56.909s.

Just to ensure things didn't get too familiar, Sutil then thumped in a super-fast 1m56.583s lap with 25 minutes to go. That time would stand to the end.

Sutil ended the session 7.3s faster than Trulli who was slowest of the timed runners in 21st. It was Timo Glock that was fastest of the new runners, pedalling his Virgin around Sakhir in 2m03.680s, 0.2s quicker than the Lotus cars.

HRT also made it out having completed scrutineering this morning, Bruno Senna giving the Dallara-built machine a shakedown 70 minutes into the session.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time              Laps
 1.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes   1:56.583            18
 2.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:56.766  + 0.183   18
 3.  Kubica         Renault                1:57.041  + 0.458   19
 4.  Massa          Ferrari                1:57.055  + 0.472   19
 5.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:57.068  + 0.485   19
 6.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:57.163  + 0.580   19
 7.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:57.194  + 0.611   19
 8.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:57.199  + 0.616   15
 9.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:57.255  + 0.672   17
10.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:57.662  + 1.079   16
11.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:57.722  + 1.139   18
12.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:57.894  + 1.311   20
13.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:57.943  + 1.360   17
14.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:58.399  + 1.816   13
15.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:58.782  + 2.199   11
16.  Petrov         Renault                1:58.880  + 2.297   13
17.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         2:00.250  + 3.667   18
18.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         2:01.388  + 4.805   11
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        2:03.680  + 7.097    8
20.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         2:03.848  + 7.265   21
21.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         2:03.970  + 7.387   15
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth                             2
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth                                3
24.  Chandhok       HRT-Cosworth

All Timing Unofficial
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