The Red Bulls were fastest in the early running as the weekend got underway, but by the end of the opening session it was a McLaren one-two, Lewis Hamilton leading Jenson Button.
Michael Schumacher announced his return to form with third, followed by the Red Bulls.
Williams had one revised car for Rubens Barrichello and a standard one for Nico Hulkenberg, but technical problems on both. Pedro de la Rosa was also in trouble, stopping with a gearbox issue before he could try a flying lap.
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