Romain Grosjean laid down a marker for the weekend by dominating the GP2 free practice session at the Nurburgring.
The championship leader set the pace for the majority of the session, and the smallest his gap over the field ever got down to was the 0.7-second advantage he enjoyed over Dani Clos (Racing Engineering) when the Spaniard went second in the closing stages.
The DAMS driver had established a one-second gap back to his pursuers heading towards the middle of the 30-minute session, as he and ART's Jules Bianchi set the pace.
Bianchi eventually skimmed the gap to 0.8 seconds, but he was bumped down to third by Clos's final effort.
Series veteran Luca Filippi was fourth quickest, as he prepares to make his 100th start following a switch of teams from Super Nova to Coloni for this weekend.
The Italian had a minor scare at the chicane on one lap though, when he turned into the left-hander as a touring Giedo van der Garde was negotiating the first apex.
The Addax driver had been driving very slowly back to the pits for some time as he struggled with a throttle problem, and had unfortunately ended up on the inside of the track as he got out of the way of faster cars on the approach to the chicane.
Filippi chose to abandon at the last second and cut the chicane, but the near miss is being investigated by the stewards.
Super Nova's Filippi replacement Adam Carroll made a quiet return to GP2, where he is set to make his first start for more than three years this weekend. The former A1GP champion finished with the 23rd fastest time.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Romain Grosjean DAMS 1m40.484s 2. Dani Clos Racing Engineering 1m41.222s + 0.738s 3. Jules Bianchi ART 1m41.326s + 0.842s 4. Luca Filippi Coloni 1m41.330s + 0.846s 5. Charles Pic Addax 1m41.411s + 0.927s 6. Esteban Gutierrez ART 1m41.426s + 0.942s 7. Fabio Leimer Rapax 1m41.616s + 1.132s 8. Jolyon Palmer Arden 1m41.716s + 1.232s 9. Stefano Coletti Trident 1m41.748s + 1.264s 10. Alvaro Parente Carlin 1m41.834s + 1.350s 11. Christian Vietoris Racing Engineering 1m41.863s + 1.379s 12. Luiz Razia AirAsia 1m41.936s + 1.452s 13. Sam Bird iSport 1m41.971s + 1.487s 14. Giedo van der Garde Addax 1m42.049s + 1.565s 15. Michael Herck Coloni 1m42.077s + 1.593s 16. Kevin Mirocha Ocean 1m42.213s + 1.729s 17. Rodolfo Gonzalez Trident 1m42.248s + 1.764s 18. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m42.250s + 1.766s 19. Josef Kral Arden 1m42.312s + 1.828s 20. Fairuz Fauzy Super Nova 1m42.335s + 1.851s 21. Max Chilton Carlin 1m42.380s + 1.896s 22. Adam Carroll Super Nova 1m42.471s + 1.987s 23. Davide Valsecchi AirAsia 1m42.641s + 2.157s 24. Pal Varhaug DAMS 1m42.673s + 2.189s 25. Julian Leal Rapax 1m42.927s + 2.443s 26. Johnny Cecotto Ocean 1m43.032s + 2.548s