It's the Belgian Grand Prix, it's Spa Francorchamps, so no surprise then that the first free practice was colored by heavy rain for much of the last hour of the session.
The weather, which began to soak the Ardennes circuit after just 28 minutes of the 90, meant that only ten drivers set competitive times in that dry period. Jarno Trulli topped those times, having set his 1m49.675s lap, just moments prior to the downpour -- which began at the bottom of the circuit around by Stavelot.
Jenson Button was second quickest for Brawn, having spent 10 minutes before the rain gradually working his times down. Fernando Alonso was third, as ever, bravely ignoring the elements to set fastest lap as the rain began to fall. Scuderia Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were fourth and fifth.
The two rookies were also the first out in the wet too as the team bolted on extreme wets and sent them out for education purposes.The Swiss driver, in particular, did well and was the quickest wet runner for some time -- working down to a 2m06.067s before spinning off at Pouhon and damaging his nosecone. He did return to the track later and improved on that to lap in 2m05.400s.
Giancarlo Fisichella reminded Ferrari of his skill-set by going fastest of all in the wet -- 2m03.972s.
Several drivers, including Alonso, tried the intermediate tyres near the end of the session, but the circuit was still too wet. Nevertheless Nico Rosberg and Alonso did set the second and third fastest times on their final laps.
Luca Badoer was slowest of the dry runners. The Italian ran off the track a couple of times in the wet too, though he looked more at home in the wider confines of Spa.
McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen also went off in the last 10 minutes at Rivage, but rejoined the track without damage.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:49.675 13
2. Button Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:50.283 + 0.608 18
3. Alonso Renault (B) 1:50.368 + 0.693 13
4. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:51.045 + 1.370 20
5. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:51.529 + 1.854 24
6. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes (B) 1:52.321 + 2.646 18
7. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:52.930 + 3.255 16
8. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:53.383 + 3.708 11
9. Kubica BMW-Sauber (B) 1:53.650 + 3.975 12
10. Badoer Ferrari (B) 1:55.068 + 5.393 20
11. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes (B) 2:03.972 + 14.297 11
12. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 2:04.505 + 14.830 13
13. Grosjean Renault (B) 2:05.513 + 15.838 13
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber (B) 2:05.614 + 15.939 14
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota (B) 2:05.705 + 16.030 15
16. Sutil Force India-Mercedes (B) 2:05.839 + 16.164 10
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 2:06.181 + 16.506 6
18. Glock Toyota (B) 2:06.331 + 16.656 15
19. Vettel Red Bull-Renault (B) 1
20. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes (B) 4
All Timing Unofficial