Lewis Hamilton dominates practice for the Chinese GP
The Briton lapped the 5.4-kilometer long Shanghai International Circuit in one minute, 33.482 seconds in the afternoon, pipping Raikkonen by a marginal 0.007 seconds
Lewis Hamilton set pace on the opening day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix but with Ferrari hot on the heels of his pace-setting Mercedes. The Briton lapped the 5.4-kilometer long Shanghai International Circuit in one minute, 33.482 seconds in the afternoon, pipping Raikkonen by a marginal 0.007 seconds.
His Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third 0.033 seconds off the pace, with championship leader Sebastian Vettel fourth, 0.108 seconds short of his rival's best. "It has been a good day," said Hamilton. "We got through all the laps that we needed. We've got some good feedback about the car. We've been progressing through the sessions and we've got a good idea."
Hamilton heads into Sunday's race determined to claw back at least some of his 17-point deficit to Vettel in the overall standings. The German powered to victory in the opening two races of the season in Australia and Bahrain but Hamilton has won in China more times than any other driver, clinching an unprecedented fifth win there last year.
"Not yet where I wanted to be," said Vettel. "I think we can still improve. But here and there it did come up … I think now after the second session in the afternoon, we know what to do, where to work on and hopefully we get it in the right window tomorrow."
Hamilton ended the morning session fastest by a comfortable margin. The lap-times in the second session, however, raised hopes for a hard-fought weekend ahead with Red Bull also showing flashes of speed. Max Verstappen was fifth quickest in both sessions, closing in to end the day 0.341 seconds off Hamilton's pace.
Renault's Nico Hulkenberg was sixth. Kevin Magnussen was seventh for American outfit Haas ahead of the other Renault of Spaniard Carlos Sainz. Daniel Ricciardo, who was fourth in the first session for Red Bull, couldn't quite string a clean lap together and finished the day only ninth, ahead of McLaren's Fernando Alonso who rounded out the top ten.