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F1 - China, FP2: Hamilton quickest in Shanghai as Räikkönen closes in

A lose wheel for Vandoorne


13 April 2018 - 09h35, by Olivier Ferret 

Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace in practice ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, but after enjoying a comfortable gap to rivals in first practice, the second session saw the Mercedes driver pressured as he outpaced Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen by just seven thousandths of a second.

In the morning session at the Shanghai International Circuit, Hamilton went more than three tenths of a second quicker than second-placed Räikkönen, but in the afternoon session, the Ferrari driver looked much more purposeful.

Half an hour into FP2, Hamilton bolted on a set of Pirelli’s ultrasoft tyres for the first time this weekend and set a benchmark of 1:33.482. Räikkönen held fire until later in the session but when he made the switch to a qualifying run he posted a time of 1:33.489 to split Mercedes’ drivers, as he had done in the morning. Valtteri Bottas thus finished in third place, just 0.026s behind his fellow Finn.

After a low-key opening session in which he finished more than eight tenths of a second off the pace, Sebastian Vettel had a more productive afternoon, finishing fourth. The German’s lap of 1:33.590 meant that the top four drivers were covered les just over a tenth of a second.

Behind Mercedes and Ferrari, Max Verstappen took fifth place for Red Bull Racing, with the Dutchman ending the session 0.341s behind Hamilton. While Verstappen enjoyed a smooth outing it was trickier for team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian was unhappy with his the throttle map of his car and also complained of a ‘long’ brake pedal during the session. He finished the 90 minutes in ninth place, a second off Hamilton’s pace.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg took sixth place, almost half a second off Ricciardo’s best lap. The German edged Haas’ Kevin Magnussen by 0.145s, with the second Renault of Carlos Sainz ending up eighth ahead of Ricciardo.

McLaren’s Fernando Alonso finished in tenth place, but there was trouble for the Spaniard’s team-mate. The Belgian’s session was stopped 15 minutes from the chequered when he was released from the pit lane with a loose wheel and he had to pull over at the side of the track. He ended up 14th on the time sheet, behind Sergio Perez of Force India, Pierre Gasly of Toro Rosso and the second Force India of Esteban Ocon.

Pos.DriverTeamTimeLaps
01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:33.482 26
02 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:33.489 26
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes AMG 1:33.515 27
04 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:33.590 27
05 Max Verstappen Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:33.823 26
06 Nico Hulkenberg Renault F1 1:34.313 30
07 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:34.458 26
08 Carlos Sainz Renault F1 1:34.473 28
09 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Tag Heuer 1:34.557 26
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren Renault 1:34.632 23
11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 1:34.792 30
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso Honda 1:34.849 33
13 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 1:34.874 30
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Renault 1:35.163 22
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso Honda 1:35.333 37
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams Mercedes 1:35.340 31
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 1:36.624 29
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber Ferrari 1:35.916 26
19 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 1:36.471 26
20 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 1:37.147 19

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