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.