Mercedes comfortably quickest in first practice

2013 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

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The same drivers who filled the top four in the Malaysian Grand Prix headed the times in first practice at Shanghai – but in the reverse order.

Nico Rosberg was comfortably fastest, almost half a second quicker than team mate Lewis Hamilton and nearly a second up on Mark Webber’s Red Bull.

Sunny conditions greeted drivers at the track for the first hour and a half of running. Following the usual half-hour lull after the first installation laps Jenson Button led the early running with a time of 1’38.262.

Kimi Raikkonen joined the track moments after and had just gone third fastest when he spun between turns nine and ten, without damaging the Lotus.

The Mercedes drivers returned to the track shortly afterwards and it was Rosberg who led the way, swapping best sector times with Hamilton, who had been unwell on Thursday.

Behind the two Red Bulls Fernando Alonso was fifth-quickest, followed by Jenson Button an Adrian Sutil. Both Force Indias were in the top ten along with Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.

Esteban Gutierrez joined Raikkonen in going off the track. The Sauber driver understeered wide in the long first corner.

Ma Qing Hua became the first non-race driver to appear in practice this year. More significantly he was also the first Chinese driver to participate in his home race weekend.

As the session came to an end Sergio Perez attacked the pit-lane entry too hard and understeered off into the barrier. He came to a stop in the same gravel trap where his McLaren’s predecessor Lewis Hamilton’s race famously ended in 2007.

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
19Nico RosbergMercedes1’36.71721
210Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.1710.45420
32Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’37.6580.94121
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’37.9421.22520
53Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.9651.24817
65Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’38.0691.35225
74Felipe MassaFerrari1’38.0951.37814
815Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’38.1251.40821
98Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’38.3981.68117
1014Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’38.5611.84415
117Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’38.7902.07316
1218Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’39.0572.34019
1316Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’39.1582.44122
1411Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’39.1802.46321
1519Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’39.3362.61919
166Sergio PerezMcLaren1’39.3602.64320
1717Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’39.3922.67521
1812Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’40.0323.31522
1922Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’41.9665.24916
2023Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’42.0565.33918
2121Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’42.0835.36621
2220Ma Qing HuaCaterham-Renault1’43.5456.82820

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Mercedes comfortably quickest in first practice”

  1. Now that I think of it, it’s not that much of a surprise from the Mercs. They were the same here last year.

  2. Mclaren driven by yellow-helmeted driver ends up in Chinese gravel trap. Good memories.

    1. At least Hamilton had the excuses of shot tires and a wet track. Didn’t get to see why Perez went off there. A replay would have been helpful.

      1. Plus Hamilton probably needed the urgency- being in the middle of an important race. Perez’s was just really poor, and he hit the wall, to boot.

        1. Tyres, no matter how shot they are, shouldn’t be an excuse to get your car stuck in the smallest gravel trap of the Milky way galaxy.

          1. Why shouldn’t it be an excuse, its at the slowest and tightest part of the circuit, if there was ever a place it was going to happen, it was exactly there.

  3. were already starting to see drivers running to delta times :(

    so another weekend of ridiculous tyre conservation in the works & another race dominated by tyres, oh joy.

    if its the same in fp3 tomorrow it may be the end of the weekend for me, i’d rather stay in bed sunday morning & get extra sleep than watch a race dominated by tyre wear, running to deltas to save tyres & a lot of boring drs nonsense!

    really beginning to lose my love of f1 because of all this artificial gimmicky rubbish :((

    1. yeah agree. Getting boring to watch everyone just staying in line cuss tyres can’t handle some mid-race battling.. Was obvious since AUS with the ridiculous Sutil train.

      1. oli campbell
        12th April 2013, 9:25

        +1 the Sutil train lol

    2. We are seeing the mixed up grids, bcoz of Tyre issue.. If it was flat out Quali and Race, then the Fastest guys would be ahead of the slower guys anyway and no one would overtake anone.. I had seen that racing from 2006-2010 and this is much better

      1. Lots of action in pro whrestling as well, doesn’t mean it has anything to do with sports.

        Like these Sunday cruises has very little in common with actual racing.

      2. I had seen that racing from 2006-2010 and this is much better

        There was some brilliant racing in those years & some very close/exciting championship’s that went down to the wire.

        i never liked le mans style sportscar racing because they tended to be running to save fuel & conserve tyres etc. & im really starting to dislike f1 for the same reasons.

        i want to watch racing with drivers at least able to push somewhat hard without having to worry about these ridiculous jelly tyres.

        if we had these tyres in abu dhabi last year i doubt vettel would have been able to come through the field like he did because by pushing as hard as he was he’d have just killed the tyres.

        these tyres are killing the racing along with my interest & enjoyment if f1, a sport i have followed since the mid 70s.

        1. u are only disliking this bcoz u are a McLaren fan and they are struggling.. Had they been winning every race, then u wouldn’t have complained

          1. Wrong, Not a McLaren fan.

            Im complaining because I hate these crapy tyres & the so called ‘racing’ there producing.

            I couldn’t care less who’s wining/losing or who’s struggling more/less with tyres, I simply don’t like these crap unfit for purpose tyres.

  4. mercedes looking FRICing good

  5. Ma Qing Hua 1.5 seconds behind VDG…

    1. And VDG was clearly slowest apart from Chilton last 2 races …

    2. First thing I noticed also.

      It annoys me that it’s common consensus that driver’s shouldn’t pay their way into F1 yet Ma Qing Hua gets let off the hook. This guy is here purely because he is Chinese. In everything I’ve seen him in he’s been off the pace. A quick wikipedia – if accurate – shows that he’s never performed well in anything except Chinese Touring Cars (which I didn’t even know existed).

      I’d much rather have a grid filled with drivers boosted to the grid because of their gender or that they have a bit of money (to complement their ok talent) than see horrifically off the pace ones like this there simply because, wow, he’s China’s first F1 driver.

  6. Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus all running Heavier Fuel Load.. No idea about Force India. It looks like the Mediums can last for atleast 20 Laps, which opens up a 2 vs 3 Pit Stop Strategy.. But Mercedes have genuine pace

  7. Kimi Raikkonen joined the track moments after and had just gone third fastest when he sun between turns nine and ten


    1. The Mercedes drivers returned to the track shortly afterwards and at was Rosberg who led the way


      1. Must be a late night for Keith.

  8. Rosberg really needs to beat Hamilton in qualifying this weekend. Not only is china one of his favorite tracks. But Hamilton will only get faster in comparison to Rosberg, as he gets more used to the Merc. Its funny most pundits give a driver 6 months or so to get used to a new team. Guess its Hamilton reputation of being fast in anything, that stops pundits from giving him any leeway? If anything Rosberg has been praised for keeping up with Hamilton, it will soon change if Hamilton gets more comfortable in the team ?

    1. most pundits give a driver 6 months or so to get used to a new team

      Guess that makes Button’s achievement of winning in his second and fourth GP for McLaren pretty damn impressive then.

      Just saying…

      1. And Fernando’s first Ferrari race, and Kimi’s first Ferrari race.

        In fact, this.

    2. If anything people don’t give enough credit to Rosberg, who might just be genuinely faster, or just as fast as Lewis. He was quicker in most practice sessions so far, quicker in Q1 and Q2 both in Australia and Malaysia, was just as fast as Lewis in Australian GP (before retiring due to electrical problem), was faster than Lewis in Malaysia, and still looks faster in China.

      And no, it doesn’t take 6 months for a driver to get used to a new team. Button moved to McLaren, Alonso moved to Ferrari, Vettel moved to Red Bull, Raikkonen moved to Lotus and they all adapted very quickly.

      1. Drivers like Lewis dont give everything away in practice sessions… Remember Canada 2007/8 when he explained how he waited until the last lap of Q3 before really going for it in the last chicane? Never mind practice sessions.

        Oftern HK and Button where quicker than Lewis in practice only for him to ‘find’ time in Qualifying.

        “was just as fast as Lewis in Australian GP (before retiring due to electrical problem), was faster than Lewis in Malaysia”

        Being a couple of tenths per lap faster in race trim means little when your 100 metre futher back in track posistion… And we know Lewis was fuel saving for practically 2 thirds of the race in Malaysia.

      2. Yes i think rosberg is woefully underated, and im sure if he continues to outperform hamilton
        it will be “what is wrong with lewis” rather than giving rosberg credit. Just like fellipe at ferrari against Kimi.
        It just seems some drivers are not seen as cool enough so there pace is just dismissed just ask michael how quick nico is.

    3. (@dcjohnson) Yeah I find it interesting how relatively even matched they are currently, with Rosberg even getting the better of Lewis at times. Also interested to know how much of a difference being a new team/being settled might make as Lewis beds down, and whether his being ill is also affecting his abilities.

    4. “Guess its Hamilton reputation of being fast in anything, that stops pundits from giving him any leeway?”
      I don’t know where you get that from, as far as i’m aware he’s only driven for Mclaren until now or back in his karting days, I think it’s only in your head or can you elaborate and educate us all ?

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