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Hamilton fastest in first Chinese practice.

Lewis Hamilton shook off the frustration of last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to immediately stamp his authority on proceedings in opening practice at the Shanghai International Circuit.

The Briton lapped nearly four tenths faster than anyone else as the Formula One circus reconvened in smoggy conditions after a very short Asian break, with title rival Felipe Massa the closest to the McLaren driver once again.

Hamilton was clearly determined to show everyone that he was still the man to beat, running consistently at the top of the timesheets before eventually posting a 1min 35.630secs effort that proved out of the reach of anyone. Massa, who completed a similar number of laps to his rival, was 0.390secs slower, with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen third fastest, 0.032secs further back.

Hamilton's team-mate, Heikki Kovalainen, and BMW Sauber title outsider Robert Kubica rounded out the top five as the expected pacesetters all massed at the top of the order. Back-to-back race winner Fernando Alonso was sixth fastest, ahead of Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais - still smarting from his Fuji penalty - and Nelson Piquet Jr, with Sebastian Vettel completing the top half of the order.

After his pacesetting performance in Japan, Timo Glock endured a more trying morning as he attempted to relearn the Shanghai circuit from the wheel of his Toyota, and ended the 90-minute session down in 16th spot, albeit two places ahead of team-mate Jarno Trulli as Toyota found itself down among the Hondas and Force Indias.

As they had throughout the Fuji weekend, Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil found themselves occupying the bottom two slots, with Honda's Rubens Barrichello sandwiched between the two Toyotas.

Although there were relatively few incidents of note, despite the 'green' track surface, Piquet managed to raise a chuckle as he went off at exactly the same spot that went some way to costing Hamilton his world title shot last season, although the Renault was able to rejoin from the pit-lane gravel trap.....


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ramjam 69

October 17, 2008 6:55 AM

I really hope that Lewis can keep this sort of advantage all through the weekend and destroy Massa''s and Ferrari''s dreams in the race. Before the stewards decision in Japan, I''d have been quite happy for Massa to win the title, but not now. I''ve gone from really quite liking him to absolutely detesting him in one foul swoop!



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