Red Bull established itself as the team to beat in no-nonsense fashion as the Japanese Grand Prix weekend got underway. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber breezed to the top of the times on Friday morning, 0.048 seconds apart, and a clear half second in front of third-placed Robert Kubica, whose Renault was the only car within a second of the leaders.
Force India's Adrian Sutil was the man in fourth, despite technical issues holding him back in the garage for a long while, as Red Bull's title rivals had tricky morning.
Lewis Hamilton didn't get far in first practice © Sutton
Ferrari's lack of pace - neither of its cars breaking into the top 10 - would turn out to be simply due to a more conservative programme for first practice, but McLaren's issues were real.
To continue reading this feature, subscribe to Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus subscription includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.