Nico Hulkenberg put local team Force India third with 1m 32.492s, albeit after a run on the soft compound tyres.
Sebastian Vettel was only fourth on the same rubber, with 1m 32.501s, and there was more bad news for Ferrari as he reported gearbox problems at the end of the session. Team mate Kimi Raikkonen, this morning confirmed as a Ferrari driver again in 2017, split the Red Bulls with 1m 33.09s, also on the soft rubber.
The better news for Daniel Ricciardo was that his fifth-fastest 1m 32.773s came on the medium tyres as team mate Max Verstappen took seventh on 1m 33.201s ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Force India on 1m 33.235s.
Carlos Sainz got Toro Rosso’s weekend off to a decent start with ninth on 1m 33.446s, as Fernando Alonso put McLaren in the top 10 again with 1m 33.527s. Team mate Jenson Button was 12th, just behind Daniil Kvyat in the second Toro Rosso.
Notably, Monegasque Charles Leclerc made an accomplished start to his F1 career in the second Haas despite an early spin; team leader Romain Grosjean was 15th on 1m 34.547s as GP3 racer Leclerc managed 18th on 1m 35.869s, but interestingly their respective last laps were 1m 35.858s and that 1m 35.869s.
Renault reserve Esteban Ocon acquitted himself well too in Kevin Magnussen’s car, lapping in a 19th fastest 1m 35.980s to team mate Jolyon Palmer’s 1m 34.787s, which left the Briton 16th.