With a carpet of dust on the recently-completed track initially, practice began with the odd sight of drivers tip-toeing around Yeongam, scarcely daring to accelerate out of the corners, and lapping half a minute or more slower than they eventually would.
Hamilton was quick on a very dusty track © LAT
Lewis Hamilton ultimately emerged fastest, by 0.081s over Robert Kubica, with Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button next up, and points leader Mark Webber back in seventh behind Michael Schumacher. Ferrari hung back - Fernando Alonso only 15th-fastest.
Despite the treacherous conditions, there were no accidents, although a suspension breakage did send Bruno Senna's Hispania spinning down into the run-off.