German Adrian Sutil upstaged all four world champions and the top teams on Friday morning when he clocked the fastest time in opening free practice ahead of Sunday's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 27-year-old driver clocked a best time of 1min 56.583sec to come out on top of the timesheets ahead of both Ferraris after an intriguing first session. Sutil's best lap left him one-tenth of a second clear of nearest rival and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, making his debut for Ferrari, after his move from Renault. Alonso's last lap was not fast enough to dislodge Sutil.
Poland's Robert Kubica was third ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa, in the second Ferrari.
Defending drivers world champion Briton Jenson Button was fifth in his first outing with the McLaren team after leaving the former Brawn team, now taken over by Mercedes, ahead of his team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton, the 2008 champion.
Michael Schumacher returned to action after retirement to clock the 10th best time for the 'new' Mercedes team — the first official entry by the German company since 1955 — but he was outpaced by his teammate Nico Rosberg. Karun Chandhok was sidelined by a hydraulics problem.