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Lewis Hamilton ended the first day of action for the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix with a firm grip on proceedings as he topped both free practice sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Establishing a margin of more than half a second over his rivals in FP1, Hamilton enjoyed a similarly untroubled FP2 session in the Mercedes, hitting the front at the mid-way point with a lap time of 1min 37.219secs, putting him a comfortable four tenths clear of the pack.

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Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen this time emerged as the nearest competitor to Mercedes, the only other driver to get within a second of the dominant Hamilton.

After taking time early on to switch to a leaner rear wing, Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest to end a fairly positive day for the embattled Red Bull team in third, ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The German recovered to fourth after a clumsy spin coming out of turn two early on, while Nico Rosberg found himself down in fifth place as he focused primarily on longer runs.

Despite ending his day in the barriers, Daniil Kvyat was still quick enough for sixth fastest. The Russian set his time before he was seen with flames licking from the Red Bull's left rear wheel, but though he was told to nurse his car back to the pit lane, a full brake failure would send him straight on at the end of the back straight, fortunately at minimal speed and without consequence.

Valtteri Bottas flew the flag for Williams in seventh position, ahead of Felipe Nasr, who completed another comfortable top ten time for Sauber, with Romain Grosjean and Jenson Button next up, the McLaren driver enjoying comfortably his most competitive start to a weekend this year in tenth.

Similarly, Fernando Alonso was 12th fastest, raising hopes that McLaren may be able to challenge for at least Q2 positions in qualifying.

The session was interrupted by a red flag early on when Felipe Massa suffered a spin under braking for the hairpin at the end of the back straight, the Williams glancing the wall before it came to a stop. Despite the relatively light impact, Massa didn't get back out on track to end the day down in 17th overall.

The afternoon session was also a quiet one for Toro Rosso and Force India, whose drivers would end the day down the order, with Nico Hulkenberg pitting late on to deal with a gearbox problem on his VJM08.

Meanwhile, power unit problems would consign Manor's Will Stevens to the pit-lane for much of the session. Although the Briton was able to rejoin in the waning minutes, team-mate Roberto Merhi had the upper hand and lapped inside 107 per cent mark suggesting that the team will again be allowed to start on Sunday.


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FatAlfie: Why so full of hate? How can you bear to watch the race on Sundays? If I hated drivers as much as you seem to, I think I'd probably follow another sport.

Here's hoping for a good, clean, close race on Sunday![\blockquote]

Well said!