F1 drivers’ championship leader Lewis Hamilton is back on top with a 1:43.476, 0.133s quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is now up to third ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.
Championship fighter Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are consistently matched, as they have been all season. And their Mercedes is contentedly quicker than any other team.
Expect Williams to be closer, once they have sorted their bodywork issues, with Red Bull looking pretty handy, too.
Fernando Alonso, preparing for his final race for Ferrari, was third best, .1708 behind.
Sebastian Vettel, who is leaving Red Bull to replace Alonso at Ferrari next year, was .1858 back in fourth spot.
There is a second practice later Friday, and a third on Saturday before qualifying.
Hamilton, who is bidding for his second F1 title, leads Rosberg by 17 points overall. Double points are available in Sunday’s race.
Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne was one of several drivers to encounter troubles in the practice one of the session. A battery problem meant he did not run in the final 30 minutes of practice while Jenson Button completed just eight laps due to an undisclosed issue.
Will Stevens had a troubled first appearance with Caterham F1 as a fire extinguisher went off inside his CT05 at the start of the session. He managed to slip in a few laps in the final 15 minutes and finished with a 1:50.684.