Sutil tops first practice in Bahrain

Adrian 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

Sutil tops first practice in Bahrain

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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