Mark Webber declared his intentions for the weekend very early on with a 1m25.142s lap on Friday morning that put him a second clear of even his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel.
Webber was quickest on Friday © LAT
They were one-two in the opening session, with Nico Rosberg's Mercedes next up, Fernando Alonso fourth for Ferrari, and Sergio Perez's Sauber an eye-catching fifth.
In a rather uneventful session, little else happened except Pastor Maldonado's Williams slewing off into the Turn 12 gravel and beaching itself just before the wall.
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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.