Heavy rain and a cool track greeted the drivers as the pit lights turned green for the first practice session, forcing drivers to use BridgestoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s extreme wet tyres as they splashed their way through standing water on the circuit.
Hamilton was lying seventh as he attempted another flying run, but lost control at turn three and smashed into the barriers, ending his practice with about 20 minutes remaining.
He snapped the front wing and also caused damage to the rear leaving McLaren mechanics with a job to repair the damage ahead of the second session later today.
It was a mixed day for the big runners as FerrariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s championship contender Fernando Alonso could only managed 19th quickest, while Michael Schumacher could only manage 23rd quickestÃ¢â‚¬â€an incredible five seconds slower than team-mate Nico RosbergÃ¢â‚¬â€after a number of problems.
Hamilton and Schumacher were not the only drivers to go off, as Felipe Massa also lost it in turn three. RenaultÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Robert Kubica also lost control, as did Massa again, moments later, while WilliamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Rubens Barrichello also went off without causing any real damage.
The Mercedes engine was clearly working well this morning as Sutil put in the quickest time of 1 minute 25:701 ahead of AlonsoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team-mate Felipe Massa, while McLarenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Jenson Button produced a strong late finish to take third quickest.
Red Bull also had a disappointing first session as local boy Sebastian Vettel could only manage 11th quickest, with his team-mate Mark Webber down in 14th.
The top 10 was dominated by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“smallerÃ¢â‚¬Â teams as Rubens Barrichello lapped fourth quickest for Williams ahead of RenaultÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No.2 driver Vitaly Petrov. Nico Rosberg salvaged some pride for Mercedes to take sixth quickest with a time of 1:27:448 ahead of Toro RossoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s SÃƒÂ©bastien Buemi.
Nico HÃƒÂ¼lkenberg took eighth quickest as both Williams made it into the top 10, with the second Force India of Vitantonio Liuzzi taking ninth ahead of SauberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Pedro De La Rosa.
This morningÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s practice session will be useful data for the driver ahead of a possibly wet qualifying session on Saturday.
Although the race is expected to be run under dry conditions, this is Hockenheim: wet weather can appear from nowhere, fast.
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