Valsecchi on top in free practice in Hockenheim
Italian leads the way in damp session
Davide Valsecchi has got his weekend under way in fine style by topping the timesheets in a rain (and red flag) affected free practice session this morning in Hockenheim, claiming the top spot just in time to sneak past Luiz Razia and Esteban Gutiérrez.
The session got underway under overcast skies but on a dry circuit, with the field storming out on track to make the most of the conditions while the teams kept an eye on the radar screens forecasting rain on the way. Gutiérrez and Marcus Ericsson set the early pace, swapping the top spot each time across the line as many of their rivals went too wide at turn one and paid the price with their times.
Around the ten minute mark Giedo van der Garde and Razia got into the mix too, with the Dutchman just catching some traffic in the complex to slow his ultimate lap times, before Valsecchi nailed a lap to steal the top spot. It looked as though this time was going to fall too, but for Giancarlo Serenelli running slightly wide coming into the complex and getting caught on the grass, which flicked the Venezuelan across the track and heavily into the wall, bringing out the red flags instantly.
As the marshals retrieved the various pieces of the broken Venezuela GP Lazarus car the rain started to come down, spitting at first and then raining heavier just before the session restarted with six minutes remaining: given the conditions there was no chance of any improvement in times, so Stefano Coletti, van der Garde, Fabio Leimer, James Calado, Max Chilton, Ericsson and Fabio Onidi were unable to take the fight to the top three.
With 18 drivers within a second of the quickest lap, and the rain falling even heavier after the session, this afternoon's qualifying session promises to be more dramatic than ever at the famous German circuit.