The weekend started with a battle between Nico Rosberg and the two McLarens, and it was the Mercedes that came out on top in first practice as Rosberg made the most of the F-duct and pipped Lewis Hamilton by 0.164 seconds.
Nico Rosberg was fastest in the opening session for Mercedes-Benz © Sutton
His team-mate Michael Schumacher was still learning the Valencia track in eighth, as Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa completed the top five ahead of the Red Bulls.
The only incident of the morning was a short red flag after Bruno Senna's Hispania shed a wing mirror, which was then messily shattered across the track by Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso.
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Matt Beer started freelancing for Autosport.com in the first week of its existence in 1999, and spent the next decade-and-a-half dovetailing increasing amounts of time contributing to it with UK national reporting, driver and team PR, freelance for organisations including ITV, BMW, Autocourse and the FIA Institute and a parallel career co-managing award-winning Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatres.
He stopped being stubborn and became Autosport.com's deputy editor in April 2014. Matt also oversees Haymarket's talent development programme for emerging motorsport writers and escapes to cover Formula Ford 1600 races whenever possible.