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La cartina tornasole–24/04/2018


Why Kimi Raikkonen is Ferrari’s real F1 2018 benchmark

Sebastian Vettel has won two of the first three races of the Formula 1 season, but his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is the real benchmark of Ferrari’s strength at the start of 2018.

As a four-time world champion who is younger and has considerably better recent form, it is no surprise to see Vettel being an opportunist on Mercedes’ bad days and the benchmark on Ferrari’s good ones.

However, Raikkonen’s rise from distant number two to consistent frontrunner at the start of this year is much more at odds with his recent history.

He has been competitive from the start of each grand prix weekend this year and is closer to Vettel by every measure.

Raikkonen’s qualifying deficit to Vettel over the first three races is 0.073s – that compares to 0.391s over the same three races last year, and 0.276s over the course of the entire 2017 season.

It’s the most competitive Raikkonen has looked over one lap since the final third of 2016, when Vettel looked more and more jaded as Ferrari’s anticipated title challenge that year failed to materialise.

If you compare the average supertime (that’s the fastest single lap over a weekend expressed as a percentage) from the first three races this year to last year, it’s similarly good news: Raikkonen was at 100.81% to benchmark Lewis Hamilton’s 100.01% and Vettel’s 100.355% last year, but closes to 100.359%, with Vettel in front at 100.277% and Hamilton on 100.312% in 2018.

The car’s compliancy appears to be the catalyst. Raikkonen has often displayed an inability to adapt to a car that does not suit his style.

He appears immediately comfortable with the Ferrari SF71H, which has retained its predecessor’s consistency and is giving its drivers good feel and a stable front end in different conditions.

Raikkonen clearly did not get on top of the 2017 Ferrari as quickly as Vettel but his form did improve throughout the season. Ferrari’s refinements mean Raikkonen is quicker out of the starting blocks this year.

Factors outside his control – the safety car in Australia, a botched pitstop in Bahrain and Ferrari’s awful strategy in China – have cost him the results his form has deserved, but there is something missing in him too.

Raikkonen failed to realise his strong practice form in Bahrain and from the Chinese GP weekend he must shoulder at least some blame for being overhauled by Vettel in qualifying.

Then, after a good start, he was arguably too timid challenging Vettel into Turn 1 at the start.

With this car, though, Raikkonen already looks a bigger asset to his team and F1 than he has been for some time.

Da Autosport.com


GP Cina, commenti post gara–15/04/2018


It was quite a painful race and not a very enjoyable one. At the start I had a good jump, but then I had to back off and this cost me a few places. After the pit stop the car was pretty fast and the feeling was good; at that point we were behind, but I could see the other cars at the end of the straight. The safety car helped us, at that time we had fresh tires. I would say it took us back in the race. In the end I had a decent speed with the Mediums against the guys that were on the same tires, but getting close to them and try to follow was really tricky. For sure we were faster than Valtteri, but when you get close it becomes more difficult, you lose so much grip in the process and lose so much downforce, especially in this kind of circuit. I just couldn’t get enough of a run on him. Today we take the third place, but obviously when you start from the first row it’s far from ideal. We’ll try to do better next time.

Da Ferrari.com


Q: Kimi, wow, it looked like you were a bit out of position. It looked like you were struggling a bit. They kept you out a long time before the pit stop. Then the safety car played into your hands and you had great speed and you got yourself back onto the podium.

Kimi Raikkonen: Yeah, I think we made a good start and then got, unfortunately, blocked a bit and passed in the first corners. I struggled a little bit following people in the beginning. On my own I wasn’t too bad, but far from ideal at the start of the race and then obviously we stayed very long out. A little bit of luck with the safety car. I had good speed on the mediums but in the end we would have needed the soft tyres to really go for it. But I think I was kind of OK in the end, but once I got close I had much more speed than Valtteri but once you get close it’s so difficult to follow people, to get a good run you need much better tyres to get that proper run and you can kind of offset yourself. But I’ll take what I got, because at one point it didn’t look good at all.

Q: Kimi, can we get your thoughts on the pecking order now. Because Ferrari were so quick in qualifying yesterday, yet here you are in third place.

KR: It’s very hard to say. I think if you ask anybody, it’s a bit tricky to give you an answer. I think today a lot of the end results depended on whether you had better tyres than others, when you could offset yourself to the others. Obviously, it’s part of the game. A big part of the game. And here it made a big difference. And the safety car playing in there. So, like pure speed, with everybody on the same tyres… it’s difficult, very difficult to say in a race. I think it’s nice like that, for everybody to watch, because nobody really knows, everybody would love to know, nobody really has because it changes from race to race. And such a small difference makes a big difference in the end results. I think you just have to wait and see. I think it might change from race to race and who runs what tyres.

Q: (Keren Wang – Top Driver) Daniel, why didn’t you share your shoey with Valtteri and Kimi?

DR: To be honest, actually I don’t know if I’ve ever offered it to Kimi but to be honest I sprayed most of the champagne so I didn’t have that much more and obviously I saw my number one mechanic Genty (Chris Gent) and he was the priority at the time. There wasn’t enough to go round today unfortunately. Hopefully there’s plenty more opportunities.

Q: Kimi, would you accept a shoey?

KR: Lucky for us…

DR: Maybe next time. It’s a privilege.

Da Formula1.com


GP Cina, gara–15/04/2018


Chinese Grand Prix: Ricciardo wins, Verstappen and Vettel collide

Daniel Ricciardo charged from sixth to score a stunning first win of the 2018 Formula 1 season as Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel collided in a wild Chinese Grand Prix.

Bottas and Vettel were locked in their own battle for the win until Ricciardo and Verstappen pitted again for fresh, soft tyres during a safety car period just after the halfway mark as their rivals stayed on mediums.

Ricciardo then overtook his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in quick succession before executing a stunning pass on Bottas into the tight Turn 6 right-hander for the victory.

Bottas fought a rearguard action against the recovering Kimi Raikkonen to claim third, after Verstappen tipped Vettel into a spin at the hairpin with 14 laps to go.

Vettel had led from pole in the opening stint and built a lead of just over three seconds over Bottas, and Mercedes moved first on strategy by pitting Bottas on lap 19 of 56.

Ferrari reacted a lap later, but a great middle sector from Bottas helped him sweep past into Turn 1 as Vettel exited the pits.

Bottas consolidated that advantage over the next dozen laps until Vettel had a brief chance to attack when they caught Raikkonen, who was running a much longer opening stint.

Raikkonen kept Bottas behind into the hairpin at the end of the lap but was powerless to stop an aggressive attack from his fellow Finn around the outside of Turn 1 immediately after.

Vettel followed suit swiftly and put pressure on Bottas into Turn 6 but was rebuffed, and Bottas had eked back out of DRS range when the two Toro Rossos collided at the hairpin.

Pierre Gasly misjudged a move on Brendon Hartley and spun them both round, littering the track with broken carbon fibre and wing mirror glass that required a safety car in order to clear it up.

Verstappen and Ricciardo, who were running third and fifth either side of Hamilton after a good first stint on ultrasofts with the others on softs, immediately dived for the pits and rejoined fourth and sixth.

Ricciardo made short work of Raikkonen, who had only just switched to mediums before the safety car and also stayed out, before catching the squabbling Hamilton and Verstappen.

He passed his team-mate when Verstappen went off-track trying to pass Hamilton on the outside of Turn 7, then nailed Hamilton into the hairpin.

At this point Ricciardo was 2.8s off the lead, but he hacked into that gap and breezed past Vettel on the back straight using DRS.

Bottas had a small lock-up soon after Ricciardo was into second, and with 12 laps to go they were nose-to-tail.

Ricciardo acted swiftly into Turn 4, getting inside Bottas even though his rival defended and forcing him to concede the place.

From there he bolted clear to win by 8.8s as Bottas just about held off Raikkonen, who was given a free pass into third when Verstappen hit Vettel.

Verstappen had caught Vettel on lap 43 and tried an opportunistic move inside the hairpin as Vettel ran deep.

But the two collided when Vettel turned in and both spun in unison, delaying Hamilton in the process.

They rejoined but Verstappen picked up a 10s time penalty, so even though he recovered to fourth on the road he was dropped to fifth – behind Hamilton – in the results.

That was no consolation to Vettel, who fell to eighth at the flag after struggling post-contact and was passed by Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault and Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

Behind Vettel, who was furious at Alonso’s aggressive pass through the Turn 1-2 complex, Carlos Sainz Jr and Kevin Magnussen completed the points finishers.

Race result

Pos Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 56 1h35m36.380s
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 8.894s
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 56 9.637s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 16.985s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 56 20.436s
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 56 21.052s
7 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 56 30.639s
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 35.286s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 56 35.763s
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 56 39.594s
11 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 56 44.050s
12 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 56 44.725s
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 56 49.373s
14 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 56 55.490s
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 56 58.241s
16 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 56 1m02.604s
17 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 56 1m05.296s
18 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 56 1m06.330s
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 56 1m22.575s
20 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 51 Gearbox

Drivers’ standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 54
2 Lewis Hamilton 45
3 Valtteri Bottas 40
4 Daniel Ricciardo 37
5 Kimi Raikkonen 30
6 Fernando Alonso 22
7 Nico Hulkenberg 22
8 Max Verstappen 18
9 Pierre Gasly 12
10 Kevin Magnussen 11
11 Stoffel Vandoorne 6
12 Carlos Sainz 3
13 Marcus Ericsson 2
14 Esteban Ocon 1
15 Sergio Perez 0
16 Charles Leclerc 0
17 Romain Grosjean 0
18 Lance Stroll 0
19 Sergey Sirotkin 0
20 Brendon Hartley 0

Constructors’ standings

Pos Constructor Points
1 Mercedes 85
2 Ferrari 84
3 Red Bull/Renault 55
4 McLaren/Renault 28
5 Renault 25
6 Toro Rosso/Honda 12
7 Haas/Ferrari 11
8 Sauber/Ferrari 2
9 Force India/Mercedes 1
10 Williams/Mercedes 0

Da Autosport.com


GP Cina, commenti post qualifiche–14/04/2018


Formula 1: Kimi Raikkonen unsure why he lost China pole to Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen has no explanation for losing Chinese Grand Prix pole position to Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Sebastian Vettel at the last moment in qualifying.

Raikkonen was quicker than Vettel in Q2, on provisional pole after the first runs in Q3 and posted the fastest first and second sectors of the session on his final lap.

The Finn failed to improve in the final sector and only marginally lowered his best time, while Vettel overturned the deficit from the first two sectors to snatch pole by less than a tenth.

Asked by Autosport what happened in the final sector, Raikkonen said: "Nothing really happened. I lost some time, but I don’t know. It wasn’t like I did some big mistake.

"It was close [to Vettel], close enough to make a difference. Not ideal. Tomorrow’s the day, we’ll see what happens."

Vettel said he knew he would be able to make a decent improvement after lapping 0.161s slower than Raikkonen on the first runs.

He was "too keen" exiting Turns 3 and 6 on that lap but said the car had been "unbelievable" throughout qualifying and peaked in Q3.

"Right from the first lap in the first part of qualifying I was really happy," Vettel said.

"We didn’t really do much on the car, I didn’t have to fight to find [the right set-up]. Usually you change quite a lot.

"I knew I had a bit more and the last lap I got it all together."

Valtteri Bottas qualified the best of the Mercedes third, more than half a second off the pace.

Vettel said the gap was a surprise but expects a "long, tough race" between Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull, which was slightly slower than Mercedes and locked out the third row.

"To have that much of a gap is a surprise," said Vettel.

"It’s also a track where you need to find that sweet spot and if you are a little bit out you easily drop a little bit of time.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow that gap disappears and it’s a very tight race.

"Obviously, I wouldn’t mind if it stays there, but I think it will be a tight race among the top three teams."

Da Autosport.com


GP Cina, prove del sabato–14/04/2018


Chinese GP qualifying: Vettel denies Ferrari partner Raikkonen pole

Sebastian Vettel pipped Ferrari Formula 1 team-mate Kimi Raikkonen to pole position for the Chinese Grand prix by less than a tenth of a second.

Raikkonen looked set to top qualifying after setting the fastest time on the first runs in Q3, and was ahead of his team-mate in the first two sectors of his final lap.

But Raikkonen’s slow pace in the final sector gave Vettel a shot and the German set the best final sector time of the session to snatch pole by 0.087s.

Both the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers set their Q2 times using the soft Pirellis, so will start the race on that compound while the rest of the top 10 will all use ultrasofts

The Mercedes pair never looked to be a serious pole position threat, with neither Valtteri Bottas nor Lewis Hamilton able to improve on their first-run times in Q3 and both having to abandon their final runs.

Bottas was third, half-a-tenth faster than Hamilton, with the latter only 0.12s faster than the lead Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Daniel Ricciardo was sixth after joining the first segment of qualifying late thanks to a turbo problem in free practice, lapping 0.152s slower than his team-mate.

Nico Hulkenberg was best-of-the rest for Renault. 1.473s off the pace, ahead of Force India’s Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz Jr.

Romain Grosjean was slowest in Q3, ending qualifying 10th and 0.036s off Sainz’s Renault.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q2 for the first time this season after a poor middle sector on his final lap prevented him from improving on his first-run time.

This allowed Sainz to relegate him to 11th place by 16 thousandths of a second, with Force India’s Esteban Ocon not far behind.

The McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne gave each other a tow on the long back straight, but it wasn’t enough to haul the Renault-powered cars into Q2 and left them 13th and 14th respectively.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley was slowest in Q2 and ended up 15th, just under three tenths slower than Vandoorne.

Sergey Sirotkin was knocked out in Q1 at the last minute when Sainz jumped up the order lap and pushed the Williams driver down to 16th place in the dying moments of the first stage of qualifying.

Sirotkin had looked to be a serious Q2 threat, but failed to match his personal best pace in the first sector and ended up half-a-tenth slower than Hartley.

Bahrain GP hero Pierre Gasly was 17th fastest, giving away enough time in the middle sector relative to his previous best to fail to make the cut, admitting after the session that overnight set-up changes had made life more difficult for him in qualifying.

Lance Stroll, in the second Williams, was 18th fastest ahead of the Sauber of Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc survived a spin after losing the rear on the power exiting the final left-hander on his second run to relegate team-mate Marcus Ericsson to last on their final runs thanks to the Swede’s poor final sector pace.

Ericsson has been summoned by the stewards for an investigation into not slowing under the yellow flags thrown for Leclerc’s spin.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m31.095s
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m31.182s 0.087s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m31.625s 0.530s
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.675s 0.580s
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m31.796s 0.701s
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m31.948s 0.853s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m32.532s 1.437s
8 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m32.758s 1.663s
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m32.819s 1.724s
10 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m32.855s 1.760s
11 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m32.986s
12 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m33.057s
13 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m33.232s
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m33.505s
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m33.795s
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m34.062s
17 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.101s
18 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m34.285s
19 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.454s
20 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m34.914s

DaAutosport.com


Formula 1: Vettel tops final practice as Red Bull hits trouble

Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in final practice for Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered a spectacular Renault engine failure.

Vettel headed a one-two for Ferrari after jumping team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in the final third of the session, but his former F1 team will head into qualifying with serious concerns.

Ricciardo pulled up just after the halfway mark in the one-hour session, exiting the penultimate corner with his Red Bull belching bursts of flame and plumes of smoke.

A virtual safety car was deployed as the marshals dealt with Ricciardo’s latest Renault-induced disappointment, which comes less than a week after he retired from the Bahrain Grand Prix with an energy store failure.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sky Sports that "disappointing is probably an understatement" after the latest problem on only the third weekend of the season.

"I think we’ve got a suspected turbo failure," he said. "That is what the analysis is at the moment. Whether its damaged the combustion engine only time will tell."

Ricciardo’s team-mate Max Verstappen ended up fourth-fastest, splitting the two Mercedes, but also aired concerns to his team over the radio.

He declared "every time I push to the limiter I lose speed" and compared it to his feeling in Azerbaijan last year, when he eventually retired with an engine failure.

Heavy rain after Friday practice, which continued overnight, and a cold and overcast morning made track conditions poor at the start of the session, although there was no delay in cars hitting the track.

Raikkonen was first to set a lap time and Nico Hulkenberg briefly held top spot for Renault before speeds rapidly increased and Ferrari established itself at the head of the leaderboard.

The two Ferrari drivers both had spells on top before the halfway point of the one-hour session, with Vettel holding the advantage at that point on a 1m33.689s.

Raikkonen then surpassed Lewis Hamilton’s Friday benchmark on a 1m33.469s, before Vettel posted a 1m33.018s with just over 15 minutes to go. Hamilton had a messy session, twice running onto the wet astroturf on the exit of the Turn 9 and 10 double left-hander.

His second trip wide was more dramatic, running all four wheels off-track on the exit of Turn 10 and spinning wildly before coming to a rest facing the wrong way on the edge of the circuit.

Verstappen then went fourth, despite his engine concerns, just behind the lead Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, while Kevin Magnussen took advantage of the absent Ricciardo being shuffled back to 14th to take sixth for Haas.

Magnussen’s team-mate Romain Grosjean propped up the timesheets after stopping mid-session with fiery rear brakes.

The Force Indias of Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz Jr’s Renault and Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams completed the top 10.

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.018s 14
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.469s 0.451s 21
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m33.761s 0.743s 16
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m33.969s 0.951s 14
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m34.057s 1.039s 14
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m34.329s 1.311s 25
7 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m34.445s 1.427s 14
8 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m34.456s 1.438s 16
9 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m34.582s 1.564s 20
10 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m34.741s 1.723s 13
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m34.841s 1.823s 16
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m34.851s 1.833s 13
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m34.977s 1.959s 16
14 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.991s 1.973s 20
15 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m35.061s 2.043s 4
16 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m35.079s 2.061s 16
17 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m35.375s 2.357s 16
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.497s 2.479s 14
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.679s 2.661s 13
20 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m35.756s 2.738s 6

Da Autosport.com


GP Cina, commenti post libere venerdì–13/04/2018


Kimi and Seb comment on free practice in China

Shanghai – Practice at the Shanghai International Circuit was ended prematurely by drizzle when Kimi and Seb had nearly concluded their long-runs, after setting second and fourth best times on the timesheet. Nearly all drivers set their best times on the Ultrasoft compound, while various types of rubber were tried in race trim simulations. The Chinese track is 5.451 Kilometers long and features a total of 16 challenging corners, but it looks like the fight for tomorrow’s qualifying session will be as close as ever.

“It was a pretty good Friday”, said Kimi “and I’m quite happy with the feeling of the car. I think we have a pretty good base line to start from, it looks pretty good. The car has been quite straightforward since the beginning, so it easy to fine tune things. On one lap we had some traffic, I’m sure we could have gone faster. In the long run we never really got a proper idea due to the conditions: it started to rain and we had limited running, so it’s a bit tricky to know where we are. Today it was close, but then tomorrow who knows what the weather will be; things can change a lot from one day to the next”.

Da Ferrari.com


GP Cina, prove libere venerdì–13/04/2018


Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton 0.007s faster than Kimi Raikkonen in FP2

Lewis Hamilton pipped Kimi Raikkonen to the fastest time in the second Formula 1 free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix by just seven-thousandths of a second.

Raikkonen set the pace on the first runs in the session on soft Pirellis, just over a tenth-of-a-second ahead of Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver then became the first frontrunner to complete a qualifying simulation on ultrasofts to go top with just over an hour of the 90-minute session remaining.

Hamilton, who had a brief off during his first run after locking up while going past Esteban Ocon’s Force India and another late in the session when back on softs, set his best session time of 1m33.482s despite an oversteery moment in the final corner.

Raikkonen was the last of the frontrunners to bolt on ultrasofts, ending up seven-thousandths slower and relegating the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas to third place – just 0.033s adrift of Hamilton’s pace.

The Ferrari driver looked to have the pace to take top spot but had to go around the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson into Turn 11, which potentially cost him enough to make the difference between first and second.

Sebastian Vettel, in the second Ferrari, was fourth with the top four drivers covered by just 0.108s.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was 0.341s off the pace in fifth place, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo struggled to ninth, 1.075s down having complained about his throttle pedal map and brakes during the session.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was best of the rest in sixth place having been as high as third early in the qualifying simulations.

He lapped 0.145s fastest than Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, with the second Renault of Carlos Sainz Jr ending up eighth.

Fernando Alonso was 10th fastest for McLaren, 1.150s off the pace, having benefitted from a tow from team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who was on an in-lap, on the long back straight.

Force India driver Sergio Perez was 11th ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix hero Pierre Gasly’s Toro Rosso, with Ocon 13th.

Vandoorne was 14th fastest ahead of Brendon Hartley and Sergey Sirotkin.

Vandoorne’s session came to an early end with just under 15 minutes remaining when he stopped on track with a loose wheel.

Romain Grosjean had a spin onto the runoff at Turn 11 on his performance run, ending up 18th fastest behind the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc.

Lance Stroll was slowest having also spun on his qualifying simulation at the Turn 8 right hander, saying "I just lost the rear" over the radio.

Light rain fell in the closing stages of the session, although this was far too late to have any impact on the overall order, with Alonso, Hartley, Gasly, Perez, Ocon and Ericsson all briefly taking to the track on intermediate tyres.

Ericsson suffered a spin at the hairpin in the final minute, complaining about the brake map over the radio.

FP2 times

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m33.482s 26
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m33.489s 0.007s 26
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m33.515s 0.033s 27
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m33.590s 0.108s 27
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull/Renault 1m33.823s 0.341s 26
6 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m34.313s 0.831s 30
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 1m34.458s 0.976s 26
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1m34.473s 0.991s 28
9 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m34.557s 1.075s 26
10 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Renault 1m34.632s 1.150s 23
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m34.792s 1.310s 30
12 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 1m34.849s 1.367s 33
13 Esteban Ocon Force India/Mercedes 1m34.874s 1.392s 30
14 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren/Renault 1m35.163s 1.681s 22
15 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso/Honda 1m35.333s 1.851s 37
16 Sergey Sirotkin Williams/Mercedes 1m35.340s 1.858s 31
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.624s 2.142s 29
18 Charles Leclerc Sauber/Ferrari 1m35.916s 2.434s 26
19 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m36.471s 2.989s 26
20 Lance Stroll Williams/Mercedes 1m37.147s 3.665s 19

Da Autosport.com


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.

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 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

Da Autosport.com