McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button took the first two places on the time sheets after the first free practice session at the Yas Marina circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Current world championship leader and winner of the Indian GP Sebastian Vettel was third fastest in his Red Bull with his closest championship rival Fernando Alonso fourth in his Ferrari.
Just like he did on raceday last Sunday, Alonso managed to split the Red Bull Racing drivers as a late session lap helped him jump Mark Webber and relegate him to fifth.
Michael Schumacher, Pastor Maldonado, Nico Rosberg, Valteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten.
The Abu Dhabi GP is a crucial race for Alonso and Ferrari as they try to regain lost ground to Red Bull Racing and this was evident as the Italian team mechanics broke the 4am curfew at the circuit to install their new updates on the F2012.
It is believed that Ferrari did not bring the new updates for the Indian Grand Prix for fear of them being held up in customs as had happened with the tyre balancing machine for Schumacher's Mercedes W02 at last year's Indian GP.