Red Bull took different tactical approaches to the first session of the weekend, with Mark Webber leading the way by 0.8 seconds on the dusty track from unlikely second-place man Vitaly Petrov, while world champion Sebastian Vettel was only 16th.
A contrite Nico Hulkenberg crashed Paul di Resta's car in the morning © LAT
Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Nick Heidfeld completed the top five in a session that was never likely to have too much significance for the rest of the weekend as the track improved with more running.
One person whose weekend was affected by the events of Friday morning was Paul di Resta. It was his turn to hand his car over to Nico Hulkenberg for the session, but the test driver crashed heavily, meaning di Resta would get barely any Friday running.
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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.