Valtteri Bottas was fastest in a crash-filled first practice session for the Macau Grand Prix - but there was only 0.010 seconds separating him from his nearest rival, last year's winner Edoardo Mortara.
With track conditions very slippery for the opening action of the end-of-season blue-riband F3 race, Bottas slowly dialled himself in as he got used to his new Prema Powerteam outfit.
With laptimes steadily improving throughout the session, Bottas moved to the top of the timesheet with 10 minutes remaining - shortly before practice was brought to a premature halt when Signature's Daniel Abt crashed into the barriers at R Bend.
Bottas said: "I took things pretty easy as it was just a case of getting used to the car and rebuilding my confidence at the track. I'm happy with how we have started."
Mortara, who is hoping to become the first man to win the F3 Grand Prix for a second time, said track conditions were very tricky.
"The circuit was very dirty with very little grip, so there is no surprise that a few drivers hit trouble," said the Signature driver. "As the surface rubbers in, it is going to get a lot quicker, so we cannot read too much into the times just yet."
Behind Mortara, his team-mate Laurens Vanthoor was third fastest with Prema's Roberto Merhi fourth, having topped the times mid-way through the session.
Abt was not the only driver to hit trouble during the practice session. Will Buller ran down an escape road at Moorish Hill, while Michael Ho had a spin at Police Bend before briefly running off track at Lisboa shortly afterwards. Felix Rosenqvist and Rio Haryanto hit the barriers at Lisboa too.
Kimiya Sato caused the first red flag of the session after 17 minutes when he crashed heavily into the barriers at R Bend, badly damaging the left-hand side of his car.
Results to follow
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Valtteri Bottas Prema 2m14.578 8
2. Edoardo Mortara Signature 2m14.588 11
3. Laurens Vanthoor Signature 2m15.345 10
4. Roberto Merhi Prema 2m15.383 10
5. Carlos Huertas Hitech 2m15.775 11
6. Renger van der Zande Motopark 2m16.153 8
7. Daniel Abt Signature 2m16.243 11
8. Yuji Kunimoto TOM's 2m16.332 12
9. Marco Wittmann Signature 2m16.636 11
10. Daniel Juncadella Prema 2m16.661 11
11. James Calado Carlin 2m16.907 11
12. Felipe Nasr Raikkonen 2m17.208 12
13. Alexandre Imperatori Toda 2m17.396 11
14. Jean-Eric Vergne Carlin 2m18.295 11
15. Will Buller Fortec 2m18.423 8
16. Jazeman Jaafar Carlin 2m18.456 11
17. Rio Haryanto Raikkonen 2m18.918 10
18. Antonio da Costa Carlin 2m19.082 10
19. Oliver Webb Fortec 2m19.885 11
20. Rafael Suzuki TOM's 2m21.363 11
21. Hideki Yamauchi Hanashima 2m21.833 7
22. Michael Ho Raikkonen 2m22.057 7
23. Alexander Sims Raikkonen 2m22.460 5
24. Kimiya Sato Motopark 2m22.473 4
25. Lucas Foresti Fortec 2m22.572 11
26. Hywel Lloyd CR/Manor 2m22.878 10
27. Adderly Fong Sino Vision 2m22.919 10
28. Yuhi Sekiguchi Three Bond no time 6
29. Felix Rosenqvist Performance no time 2
30. Carlos Munoz Hitech no time 1