Lewis Hamilton took the honour of pacing Formula One's very first 'night' session, as the landmark Singapore Grand Prix kicked off at dusk, under lights, on the streets of the city state.
While Italian veteran Giancarlo Fisichella and Hamilton's fellow Briton Jenson Button made their own little space in history, with the first outing and first timed lap respectively, the McLaren man ended up on top of the pile as teams' pre-race estimates of 1min 45secs lap-times came true. Hamilton lapped in 1min 45.418secs to lay down a marker for the day's second session, but experts now believe that the target was on the conservative side as times tumbled throughout the 90-minute session.
Hamilton found himself swapping fastest times with Ferrari rivals Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen before pushing them back into second and third spots - by 0.080secs in the Brazilian's case - ahead of the second McLaren of Heikki Kovalainen, as the top two teams got an early handle on the tricky street circuit and the drivers adapted quickly to the visibility level, which appeared impressive thanks to the thousands of lights around the three-mile layout.
Robert Kubica wound up fifth fastest, and 'best of the rest', for BMW Sauber, but was pushed hard by Nico Rosberg - determined to rediscover the street-fighting form of Melbourne - and Fernando Alonso, who headed the times midway through the session. Nick Heidfeld, Nelson Piquet Jr and Button rounded out a top ten spread over nearly two full seconds.
Monza winner Sebastian Vettel was 'only' eleventh for Toro Rosso, three spots ahead of team-mate Sebastien Bourdais, the pair sandwiching Kazuki Nakajima and Timo Glock, while David Coulthard took 15th, half a second off the Frenchman as the wide spread of times left those at the back with plenty of room for manoeuvre.
While both Force India drivers, Adrian Sutil and Fisichella, managed to get into the 1min 48s in front of a crowd boasting perhaps the biggest Indian-oriented live audience of the season, neither Jarno Trulli, who briefly appeared disoriented after a spin that threatened to leave him heading the wrong way around the track, or Mark Webber, who became the circuit's first and biggest casualty when he hit the wall at the tunnel, managed to get close to the rest.
Just an hour exists between sessions for the teams to rethink their gameplans or, in Webber's case, get his car back on track, with the second 90 minutes due to be run fully in darkness.