Hamilton fastest in China practice but Ferrari close

Hamilton fastest in China practice but Ferrari close

SHANGHAI – Reuters

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton edged out Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the timesheets as Ferrari ended the opening day of practice for April 15’s Chinese Grand Prix hot on pacesetter Mercedes’ heels.

The Briton lapped the 5.4 km Shanghai International Circuit in one minute, 33.482 seconds in the afternoon session, beating Raikkonen to the top spot by a mere 0.007 seconds.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third and 0.033 seconds off the pace, with Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel fourth, 0.108 seconds short of his rival’s best.

The top three finished the afternoon in the same order as they had ended the opening 90 minutes of practice.

“We got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the car,” said Hamilton after a cold afternoon.

“The balance of the car is good but we have some fine-tuning to do on it tonight. Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run.

“It’s good to see all the times so close, but it means that we really need to bring our A game. We need everyone in the team to be on it throughout the weekend because it is a joint effort,” added the Briton.