Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in FP1 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen

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

Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton fastest in FP1 ahead of Kimi Raikkonen

The Mercedes driver was more than three tenths clear at the top of the times on Friday morning despite only using soft tyres compared 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 team-mate.

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 his first ultrasoft-tyre run of the day in the McLaren.

Nico Hulkenberg, running mediums, swiftly took that place by two tenths of a second, and his works Renault team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr 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 softs like his team-mate, resumed control almost immediately however, lapping nearly 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 team-mate.

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

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

Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg (on softs, like Sainz) backed up their team-mates 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 team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne ended up 18th on the times after a trip through the Turn 10 gravel after losing the rear mid-corner.

FP1 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.999s - 22
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m34.358s 0.359s 14
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m34.457s 0.458s 28
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.537s 0.538s 22
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m34.668s 0.669s 22
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m34.861s 0.862s 18
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m35.178s 1.179s 21
8 Carlos Sainz Jr. Renault 1m35.616s 1.617s 23
9 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.718s 1.719s 21
10 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m35.800s 1.801s 18
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m36.037s 2.038s 21
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m36.044s 2.045s 29
13 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m36.051s 2.052s 28
14 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m36.351s 2.352s 32
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m36.691s 2.692s 31
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m36.715s 2.716s 23
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.723s 2.724s 23
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m36.756s 2.757s 25
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m36.909s 2.910s 21
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m37.277s 3.278s 28


shares
comments
Daniel Ricciardo expects future F1 grid penalty after failure

Previous article

Daniel Ricciardo expects future F1 grid penalty after failure

Next article

Red Bull not as fast as it looked in F1 testing - Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull not as fast as it looked in F1 testing - Lewis Hamilton
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Lewis Hamilton
Author Scott Mitchell
How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight Plus

How Verstappen and Hamilton’s Imola clash sets the tone for F1’s 2021 title fight

In Max Verstappen's Formula 1 career to date, he has been cast as the 'pretender', an acknowledged top-line performer without the car to regularly challenge Lewis Hamilton. But that no longer applies in 2021, and the start to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was the most telling signal yet of what we can expect from their duel this year

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve Plus

How “overwhelming” McLaren move has given Ricciardo a new verve

Daniel Ricciardo has found a new lease of life at McLaren – a move that’s been years in the making, as he explains to STUART CODLING…

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari Plus

The German legend who raced and beat Nuvolari

Ninety years ago, Rudolf Caracciola became the first non-Italian to win the epic Mille Miglia. We look at how he stacks up to the most famous pre-war ace Tazio Nuvolari, one of the drivers he beat on that day in 1931

Formula 1
Apr 20, 2021
How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams Plus

How 2021's midfielders have taken lessons from F1's top teams

Formula 1’s latest Imola adventure turned into an expensive trip for many teams due to several crashes throughout the weekend. While balancing the books is an added factor in 2021 with the cost cap, a few midfield teams have cashed in early on development investments

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Driver Ratings

A frantic wet race at Imola produced plenty of excitement and drama as drivers scrabbled for grip. Amid the hatful of mistakes and incidents that ensued, who kept their noses cleanest?

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves Plus

How the Emilia Romagna GP result hinged on three crucial saves

Rain before the start of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix promised to spice up the action, and the race certainly delivered on that. Max Verstappen got the best launch to win from Lewis Hamilton, but both got away with mistakes that could have had serious consequences

Formula 1
Apr 19, 2021
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

Formula 1
Apr 18, 2021
The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021