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Sutil quickest in washed-out Monza practice

September 12, 2008 16:01 IST

Heavy rain washed out first practice at the Italian Grand Prix on Friday with Force India's Adrian Sutil leading the timesheets before the deluge.

With the drains struggling to cope with the downpour, mechanics wielded brushes to sweep water out of the garages while a scattering of fans huddled under umbrellas in the main grandstand.

They had little to watch other than the rain lashing down, with drivers giving up 15 minutes from the end and the session abandoned because of the conditions with five minutes remaining on the clock.

McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton [Images] was one of six drivers who did not attempt to complete a timed lap at what is normally the fastest circuit on the calendar.

The 23-year-old Briton, just two points clear of Ferrari's [Images] Felipe Massa [Images] with five races remaining after being stripped of victory in Belgium last weekend, put in an early installation lap and then watched from the shelter of his garage.

The times were meaningless, with Massa 14th and a massive 7.3 seconds off Sutil's fastest time of one minute 32.842 seconds.

Sutil, whose skills are far more apparent in the wet, took advantage of being one of the first out on track and completed 18 laps before the skies darkened.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, a winner at Monza for Ferrari in 2002 and 2004 and another driver who feels completely comfortable in the wet, was second for Honda with a time 0.586 seconds behind Sutil.

Force India, still without a point this season, enjoyed the unprecedented experience of getting both their drivers in the top three at the end of a practice session with Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in third place.

Fisichella was the only other driver to set a time within a second of his team mate. Toyota's Timo Glock was fourth, nearly four seconds off the pace.

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