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F1 - China, FP1: Hamilton quickest ahead of Räikkönen

Vettel only 6th

13 April 2018 - 05h35, by Olivier Ferret 

Lewis Hamilton finished more than three tenths of a second ahead of Kimi Räikkönen as practice for the Chinese Grand Prix got underway at the Shanghai International Circuit.

The Mercedes driver set his quickest lap on Pirelli’s soft tyres, while Räikkönen needed the ultrasoft compound, two steps softer in the tyre manufacturer’s range, to split Hamilton from team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who finished just under half a second behind the defending champion.

In cool conditions Mercedes looked comfortably in control, with Hamilton making steady improvements throughout the session as track conditions improved. The Briton eventually found a sweet spot with the track to post a best time of 1:33.999s. He might have improved again but a spin at Turn 11 on his next run ended that possibility.

With Bottas third, Daniel Ricciardo took fourth place in the session 0.538s down on Hamilton, with Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen fifth. The Ducthman had a nervous moment, however, when he spun off into the gravel in the final corner as he was powering up for his first quick lao on ultrasofts. After consulting with his engineer and reporting a flatspot on his tyhres he still continued the run but ended up 0.015s behind the Australian.

Sebastian Vettel finished the session in sixth place and the last man with a second of Hamilton’s time. The German also used ultrasofts but a muted session left him half a second behind his own team-mate, Räikkönen.

Beyond the top three three teams Haas were best with Kevin Magnussen using ultrasofts to finish just over three tenths behind Vettel and more than four tenths of a second in front of Carlos Sainz’s Renault. The Spaniard set his best time on soft tyres, however.

Magnussen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean finished ninth, while the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg, who also used soft tyres, took tenth spot.

01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:33.999 22
02 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.358 14
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:34.457 28
04 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:34.537 22
05 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:34.668 22
06 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.861 18
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:35.178 21
08 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:35.616 23
09 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:35.718 21
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:35.800 18
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:36.037 21
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:36.044 29
13 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:36.051 28
14 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:36.351 32
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:36.691 31
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:36.715 23
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:36.723 23
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:36.756 25
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:36.909 21
20 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:37.277 28

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