Hamilton tops opening practice in China

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Lewis Hamilton set the pace for Mercedes during opening practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The reigning world champion posted a time of 1:39.033 to jump to the top of the standings at the halfway point of the session, having languished in 20th in the opening stages, to beat his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg by half a second.

Malaysian Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel was third for Ferrari, but some 1.1s shy of Hamilton’s session topping time, while Kimi Raikkonen was fourth in the second of the scarlet cars.

Felipe Nasr went fifth in the Ferrari-powered Sauber with a late improvement, ahead of the two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricicardo and Daniil Kvyat.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was eighth for Toro Rosso, while Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa rounded out the top ten for Williams.

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado ended the morning 11th, followed by Max Verstappen in the Toro Rosso, with Jenson Button 13th for McLaren-Honda.

Marcus Ericsson was 14th in the second Sauber, ahead of Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer, 15th fastest on his first run in the team’s E23, despite an early spin.

The two Force India team-mates Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg sandwiched McLaren’s Fernando Alonso in 15th and 17th respectively.

Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi propped up the timesheets for Manor, with the Spaniard just shy of 107 per cent of Hamilton’s fastest time.

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS 

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