You could hardly have blamed Adrian Sutil for wanting to perform a rain dance after leaving the field trailing when the heavens opened during opening practice for the 2010 German Grand Prix at Hockenheim today – and whilst the Force India F1 ace slipped out of the top ten later on, he insists he has 'a positive feeling' for the remainder of the weekend.
Long regarded as one of the grid's most prominent wet-weather specialists, Sutil confidently drew upon all of that prowess and his deft touch in treacherous conditions to lap more than a full second out-of-reach of anybody else in the morning FP1 session – and the Starnberg native insisted his 14th position later on in FP2 was 'not really representative' of his true pace given that he spent the majority of the dry track time on long runs.
“The first session was obviously very good,” acknowledged the 27-year-old. “We went out on the extremes first of all, and I could set some quick times and felt very confident in the conditions. When a drier line came out later on we then switched to the intermediate tyres and, again, the car behaved very well and I came out P1, which was a nice feeling in front of my home crowd.
“In the afternoon I think we had a good balance on the car, but we put new sets on just when the rain came so I couldn't do a good lap time. The position is not really representative of where we are here, and we know we can be much stronger. The long run pace was good, and I have a positive feeling for tomorrow.”
Team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi – whilst not matching the scene-stealing performance of Sutil – similarly concentrated his efforts on tyre evaluation and set-up work, and similarly missed the optimum window in FP2 to set a fast lap time as the rain continued to come down periodically. The Italian wound up ninth-quickest in the morning, and 16th in the afternoon.
“It was not an easy day because of the weather,” reflected the 28-year-old. “In the morning it was raining, and then in the afternoon the track started wet but got drier all the time. I think the pace we've shown here is quite positive, and overall we are in good shape at this point in the weekend.
“In the morning we still had some problems going into the corners, and then on the straights so I couldn't quite get a clear run. In the afternoon, though, we had a good session and we understood a few areas for tomorrow, working very closely with Bridgestone to get the most out of the tyres.”
“One wet and one almost completely dry session today,” summarised the Silverstone-based squad's chief race engineer Dominic Harlow. “During the morning we ran both the wet and the intermediate tyres, establishing the crossovers and trying to get a feel for the way the track was drying. The car was quite well-balanced in the tricky conditions, and Adrian set a good pace.
“In FP2, we ran our option tyres just at the moment it started to spit with rain, so probably lost the best of the performance from them. All-the-same, quite an interesting scenario this weekend and we now have the information to build on for qualifying and the race.”