F1: McLaren 1-2 in first free practice

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The opening practice session of the Bahrain GP, and who's on top? Lewis Hamilton for the McLaren team. Hamilton set the fastest time, half a second ahead of his team-mate Jenson Button. But it isn't as if the McLaren drivers dominated the session. In the early stages it even looked like Red Bull was going to run away at the head of the field. Despite Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's best efforts though, Michael Schumacher and then the two McLarens managed to edge their way past.

Button and Schuey set times of 1m 21.6 s and 1m 21.7 s respectively, before Lewis put in a storming 1m 21.1 s lap time.

For the first time in a while now, Schumi looks comfortable with his car, which has benefited from a chassis change as well as a longer wheelbase. Schumacher's team-mate, Nico Rosberg finished the session sixth for Mercedes, just ahead of the Renault of Robert Kubica. Fernando Alonso was the faster of the two Ferraris, finishing the session in 8th, with Vitaly Petrov 9th and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi in tenth spot.

At Force India, it was Paul di Resta who set the 13th fastest time, replacing Force India's regular driver Adrian Sutil, and finishing two places ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

And Hispania Racing's new test and reserve driver, Christian Klien replaced Indian driver Karun Chandhok for the first practice session at Catalunya. Klien clocked a time faster than HRT team-mate, Bruno Senna.

Pos  Driver         Team                   Time             

 1.  Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes       1:21.134      

 2.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1:21.672 

 3.  Schumacher     Mercedes               1:21.716 

 4.  Webber         Red Bull-Renault       1:22.011 

 5.  Vettel         Red Bull-Renault       1:22.026 

 6.  Rosberg        Mercedes               1:22.070 

 7.  Kubica         Renault                1:22.202 

 8.  Alonso         Ferrari                1:22.258

 9.  Petrov         Renault                1:22.397 

10.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari         1:22.492

11.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:22.588 

12.  Massa          Ferrari                1:22.975 

13.  di Resta       Force India-Mercedes   1:23.030 

14.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1:23.110 

15.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes   1:23.284 

16.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth      1:23.312 

17.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth      1:23.471 

18.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth         1:25.329

19.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth         1:26.244 

20.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth        1:26.340

21.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth        1:26.694

22.  Klien          HRT-Cosworth           1:27.250

23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth           1:27.752

24.  de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari         No time