Shanghai, FP1: Vettel leads the way

F1’s 1000th race weekend begins in China 

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By Olivier Ferret

12 April 2019 - 05:41
Shanghai, FP1: Vettel leads the (...)

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time of opening practice at China’s Shanghai International Circuit, as Formula 1 began preparations for its 1000thrace.

The Ferrari driver beat five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton by two tenths of a second despite using a harder compound tyre than the Mercedes man. Third place in the session went to Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc.

Four-time champion Vettel set his best time of session, a lap of 1:33.911 on the C3 compound chosen as the medium tyres for this weekend. Hamilton’s best lap of 1:34.118, a little over two tenths of a second off the Ferrari driver’s benchmark was posted while using the C4 compound nominated as this race’s soft tyres.

Leclerc also used the medium tyres to set his quickest lap of the 90-minute session. The Monegasque driver posted a time of 1:34.167 to finish 0.049s behind soft-shod Hamilton.

Max Verstappen set the fourth quickest time of the morning, using the soft tyre to finish the session 0.167s behind Leclerc. The Red Bull driver was over four tenths slower than Vettel, however, despite being a step softer on tyres.

Championship leader Valtteri Bottas finished fifth with a time of 1:34.653 that left him almost eight tenths of a second off the pace but the Mercedes man then had more than half a second in hand over sixth-placed Daniel Ricciardo.

The Renault driver was followed by Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull. The French driver was 1.5s down on Vettel’s benchmark but more painfully perhaps Gasly was almost 1.1s adrift off Red Bull team-mate Verstappen.

Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat finished in eighth place ahead of Lance Stroll of Racing Point and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.

Pos.DriverCarTimeLaps
01 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari SF90 1:33.911 19
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W10 1:34.118 21
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF90 1:34.167 21
04 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB15 1:34.334 20
05 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W10 1:34.653 22
06 Daniel Ricciardo Renault RS19 1:35.239 23
07 Pierre Gasly Red Bull Honda RB15 1:35.428 23
08 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:35.447 24
09 Lance Stroll Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:35.466 25
10 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:35.507 24
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-19 1:35.517 25
12 Nico Hülkenberg Renault RS19 1:35.591 22
13 Lando Norris McLaren Renault MCL34 1:35.631 24
14 Alex Albon Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1:35.695 26
15 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 1:35.729 23
16 Carlos Sainz McLaren Renault MCL34 1:35.756 24
17 Sergio Pérez Racing Point Mercedes RP19 1:35.820 24
18 Robert Kubica Williams Mercedes FW42 1:36.847 27
19 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW42 1:37.619 28
20 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C38 -:—.--- 2

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