Robert Kubica led the way for Renault as the weekend got underway, beating Nico Rosberg's Mercedes to the top spot by just under 0.2 seconds, with Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel filling the other top five places.
Robert Kubica topped the opening practice for Renault © Sutton
Entertainment was provided by Kamui Kobayashi, who smashed his front wing on a marker cone - and then lost the replacement approaching Turn 3 when the weakened mounting failed. Both incidents caused red flags. His team-mate Pedro de la Rosa wasn't having much fun either, stopping with a clutch problem.
The new teams got more practice mileage this time, although a gearbox oil leak and a differential problem respectively hampered Timo Glock's Virgin and Jarno Trulli's Lotus.