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Hamilton takes day one top spot in China

Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time of the day to lead free practice at the Chinese GP.

Lewis Hamilton replaced McLaren team-mate Jenson Button at the head of the free practice times at the end of the opening day at Shanghai International Circuit, as Mercedes power dominated proceedings.

Although every driver who took part in the second 90-minute session ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix improved on his time - the only exceptions were Paul di Resta and Sebastien Buemi, who sat out - no-one could deny the two McLaren and two Mercedes drivers a place in the top four, as Button and Hamilton swapped places and Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher held firm in second and fourth respectively. All four drivers broke into the 1min 35s in the afternoon session, with only the two Red Bull cars able to join them, Sebastien Vettel ahead of Mark Webber in fifth and sixth.

Adrian Sutil, Jaime Alguersuari, Robert Kubica and Fernando Alonso rounded out the combined top ten, with the two Spaniards of particular note after eventful mornings. Alonso failed to post a time in the morning after suffering an engine failure that stranded him at turn six, but bounced back to claim tenth spot on 1min 36.604secs, one ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa. Alguersuari, meanwhile, put thoughts of team-mate Buemi's spectacular accident in the first session - in which the Toro Rosso lost both wheels under braking for the hairpin as the result of apparent upright failure - out of his mind to post a respectable time in the second STR5 once it had been fitted with the team's older upright design.

Sandwiching the Ferraris, Kubica and Renault team-mate Vitaly Petrov showed in both sessions that the yellow cars will again be a threat for the top ten shoot-out and potential points, while Sauber showed a continuation of its Sepang form to come in ahead of the Williams entries and Tonio Liuzzi's Force India. The Italian was again at a disadvantage, having been forced to sit out the morning session in favour of di Resta, but ended up edging the Scot by one place and eight-tenths on the timesheets.

Jarno Trulli took new team honours for Lotus as he and team-mate Heikki Kovalainen sandwiched Buemi, but there were problems for the Finn, who stopped out on track midway through the afternoon. Despite the HRT cars appearing to be the cause of much fist-shaking among the faster runners, Karun Chandhok managed to split the two Virgin drivers, with team-mate Bruno Senna bringing up the rear on his first visit to SIC.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Saturday Practice, SŽbastien Buemi (SUI), Scuderia Toro Rosso, STR5
Race, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F10 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F10
Friday Practice 2, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-25
John Watson driving the McLaren MP4B at the 1982 Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Las Vegas
12.10.2014- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates Manufactor title of Mercedes with the team
12.10.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T, Marco Mattiacci (ITA) Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari and the Ferrari F1 team show a panel for Jules Bianchi (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR03
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in the press conference after the race
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
12.10.2014- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 celebrates his victory in parc fermee
12.10.2014- Jean Todt (FRA) Fia President and Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9
12.10.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14T

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Alan D - Unregistered

April 16, 2010 11:15 AM

Calvin, I suppose that if you are reasonably confident that the car won't be a complete dog with high fuel loads then (1) only qualifying pace matters since no-one can pass anyone else under race conditions (2) you might as well save the engine as much as possible (3) by sitting in the pits you are giving less info the the competition.

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