Chinese GP: Hamilton comfortably fastest in FP1

Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a comfortable advantage over Kimi Raikkonen in the opening practice session for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Chinese GP: Hamilton comfortably fastest in FP1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Brendon Hartley, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR13
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB14
Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 sparks
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL33
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 Tag Heuer
Ferrari mechanoics with Ferrari SF71H in pit lane
Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault Sport F1 Team R.S. 18

The Mercedes driver was more than three tenths clear at the top of the times on Friday morning despite only using soft tyres to the Ferrari's ultrasofts at the Shanghai circuit.

Raikkonen at least denied Mercedes a one-two, with Valtteri Bottas trailing Hamilton throughout the session and eventually dumped to third, almost half a second behind his teammate.

Williams driver Lance Stroll was the first to record a time 15 minutes into the opening session on an overcast and chilly morning, but Mercedes was comfortably on top at the halfway mark.

Hamilton's mid-session benchmark of 1m34.962s was set despite a slower middle sector than his previous lap and a slide exiting the final corner.

Times tumbled when the field returned to the ever-improving track, with Fernando Alonso the first to improve, leaping to fifth – one second off the pace at the time – with the first ultrasoft-tyre run of the day in his McLaren.

Nico Hulkenberg, running mediums, swiftly took that place by two tenths of a second, and his works Renault teammate Carlos Sainz rose to third on softs on a 1m35.616s.

More significant improvements swiftly followed, first as Bottas posted a 1m34.661s to briefly jump to the top of the times.

Hamilton, on fresh soft tyres like his teammate, resumed control almost immediately however, lapping almost seven tenths faster as he snuck below the 1m34s barrier on a 1m33.999s.

His next attempt was scuppered by a Turn 11 spin just after posting the best time in the middle sector, and his Mercedes ended up facing the wrong way on the run-off.

Bottas pumped in another two fliers and improved his time but it was not enough to maintain Mercedes' one-two.

Raikkonen split the Silver Arrows with an ultrasoft-assisted 1m34.358s to bump Bottas to third, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo.

Max Verstappen was fifth despite spinning into the gravel on the outside of the final corner before the start of his first ultrasoft lap.

He resumed but, having flat-spotted that set of tyres, ended up 0.15s slower than his teammate.

Sebastian Vettel ended up a subdued sixth, half a second behind Raikkonen with his best time on ultrasofts, as Haas claimed a comfortable best-of-the-rest victory.

Kevin Magnussen used ultrasoft tyres to take the honours for the American team with the seventh-fastest time, more than four tenths clear of Sainz's soft-shod Renault.

Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg (on softs, like Sainz) backed up their teammates in ninth and 10th respectively.

Alonso was shuffled down to 12th behind Pierre Gasly's Toro Rosso-Honda, which used soft tyres to Alonso's ultrasofts.

It was a tricky session for McLaren, as Alonso's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne ended up 18th on the times after a trip through the Turn 10 gravel after losing the rear mid-corner.

ClaDriverChassisEngineLapsTimeGap
1 44 united_kingdom  Lewis Hamilton  Mercedes Mercedes 22 1'33.999  
2 7 finland  Kimi Raikkonen  Ferrari Ferrari 14 1'34.358 0.359
3 77 finland  Valtteri Bottas  Mercedes Mercedes 28 1'34.457 0.458
4 3 australia  Daniel Ricciardo  Red Bull TAG 22 1'34.537 0.538
5 33 netherlands  Max Verstappen  Red Bull TAG 22 1'34.668 0.669
6 5 germany  Sebastian Vettel  Ferrari Ferrari 18 1'34.861 0.862
7 20 denmark  Kevin Magnussen  Haas Ferrari 21 1'35.178 1.179
8 55 spain  Carlos Sainz  Renault Renault 23 1'35.616 1.617
9 8 france  Romain Grosjean  Haas Ferrari 21 1'35.718 1.719
10 27 germany  Nico Hulkenberg  Renault Renault 18 1'35.800 1.801
11 10 france  Pierre Gasly  Toro Rosso Honda 21 1'36.037 2.038
12 14 spain  Fernando Alonso  McLaren Renault 29 1'36.044 2.045
13 11 mexico  Sergio Perez  Force India Mercedes 28 1'36.051 2.052
14 31 france  Esteban Ocon  Force India Mercedes 32 1'36.351 2.352
15 35 russia  Sergey Sirotkin  Williams Mercedes 31 1'36.691 2.692
16 28 new_zealand  Brendon Hartley  Toro Rosso Honda 23 1'36.715 2.716
17 16 monaco  Charles Leclerc  Sauber Ferrari 23 1'36.723 2.724
18 2 belgium  Stoffel Vandoorne  McLaren Renault 25 1'36.756 2.757
19 9 sweden  Marcus Ericsson  Sauber Ferrari 21 1'36.909 2.910
20 18 canada  Lance Stroll  Williams Mercedes 28 1'37.277 3.278
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