Lewis Hamilton was fastest by nearly a second in the opening free practice session in Turkey, leading his team-mate Jenson Button in a McLaren 1-2 sweep.
Hamilton moved to the front at the end of the short but frenetic period of mid-session place-changing that followed a very quiet start to the morning. Although several teams – including Mercedes and Force India in particular – conducted more installation runs than usual as they tested new parts, it was half an hour before anyone tried a flying lap, and a further 15 minutes before the big-hitters got up to speed. When they did so, Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Robert Kubica (Renault) took turns in first place before the McLaren teammates started a private battle. Hamilton went quickest with a 1m29.672s, but was then pipped by Button's 1m29.623s.
Five minutes later though Hamilton produced a 1m28.653s to go fastest by 0.962sec, which is how things remained for the rest of the morning. Mercedes took third and fourth, with Michael Schumacher just over 0.1sec up on Nico Rosberg. Vettel and Kubica completed the top six, ahead of Vitaly Petrov in a strong seventh in the second Renault. Championship leader Mark Webber was eighth for Red Bull, while Fernando Alonso was Ferrari's top runner in ninth.
While many people explored the run-off areas, especially Turn 1, 10th-placed Adrian Sutil had the only accident of the session. He lost control of his Force India at the daunting Turn 8 with two minutes to go and spun backwards into the barriers, causing substantial damage to the car.
Lotus's Heikki Kovalainen was the best among the group of new teams, and was within half a second of Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari's pace.
Bruno Senna handed his Hispania to test driver Sakon Yamamoto for the morning, with the former Super Aguri and Spyker man slowest of all as he settled in. His teammate Karun Chandhok lost a lot of time with a throttle problem that left him crawling back to the pits at little more than walking pace, but he made it to the garage and rejoined after repairs.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:28.653 20
2. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:29.615 + 0.962 20
3. Schumacher Mercedes 1:29.750 + 1.097 24
4. Rosberg Mercedes 1:29.855 + 1.202 24
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:29.867 + 1.214 30
6. Kubica Renault 1:30.061 + 1.408 23
7. Petrov Renault 1:30.065 + 1.412 24
8. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:30.097 + 1.444 26
9. Alonso Ferrari 1:30.294 + 1.641 20
10. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:30.501 + 1.848 17
11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1:30.615 + 1.962 20
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:30.853 + 2.200 21
13. Massa Ferrari 1:30.867 + 2.214 21
14. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.011 + 2.358 23
15. de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1:31.238 + 2.585 17
16. Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1:31.355 + 2.702 23
17. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:31.464 + 2.811 19
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.735 + 3.082 27
19. Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1:32.161 + 3.508 24
20. Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1:32.990 + 4.337 22
21. Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1:34.876 + 6.223 13
22. di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1:35.137 + 6.484 21
23. Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1:35.583 + 6.930 15
24. Yamamoto HRT-Cosworth 1:36.137 + 7.484 26
All Timing Unofficial