Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Hamilton comfortably ahead in first practice

2018 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton headed the first practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit despite using a harder tyres than his closest rival.

The Mercedes driver used soft tyres to set a 1’34.999 which put him three-tenths of a second clear of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari, which ran the ultra-soft tyres. Both Ferrari drivers used one set of the ultra-softs in first practice, having selected more sets of them than Mercedes.

The only disruption to Hamilton’s session was a brief spin at turn 10. He had the best part of half a second in hand over team mate Valtteri Bottas, the pair using part of the session to evaluate different rear wing specifications.

The Red Bull pair were next, Max Verstappen the slower of the pair by a tenth. He set his best time on a set of ultra-softs which had been flat-spotted following a spin into the gravel at the final corner when the RB14 snapped sideways. Sebastian Vettel was a low-key sixth for Ferrari.

Kevin Magnussen ran the ultra-softs as he headed the midfield comfortably. Carlos Sainz Jnr, who only ran the soft tyres on his Renault, was almost half a second back, the pair followed by their respective team mates.

It was an unpromising session for McLaren. A run on ultra-softs by Fernando Alonso yielded on 12th place, seven-thousandths of a second slower than Pierre Gasly, who did his time on softs. Stoffel Vandoorne was only 18th after a spin.

Three of the Mercedes customers were next: The Force India pair leading Sergey Sirotkin’s Williams. His team mate Lance Stroll ended the session at the bottom of the times.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’33.999 22
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’34.358 0.359 14
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’34.457 0.458 28
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’34.537 0.538 22
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’34.668 0.669 22
6 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’34.861 0.862 18
7 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’35.178 1.179 21
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Renault 1’35.616 1.617 23
9 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’35.718 1.719 21
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’35.800 1.801 18
11 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1’36.037 2.038 21
12 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1’36.044 2.045 29
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’36.051 2.052 28
14 31 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’36.351 2.352 32
15 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1’36.691 2.692 31
16 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1’36.715 2.716 23
17 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.723 2.724 23
18 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1’36.756 2.757 25
19 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.909 2.910 21
20 18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’37.277 3.278 28

First practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.999

+0.359 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’34.358

+0.458 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.457

+0.538 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.537

+0.669 Max Verstappen – 1’34.668

+0.862 Sebastian Vettel – 1’34.861

+1.179 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.178

+1.617 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’35.616

+1.719 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.718

+1.801 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.800

+2.038 Pierre Gasly – 1’36.037

+2.045 Fernando Alonso – 1’36.044

+2.052 Sergio Perez – 1’36.051

+2.352 Esteban Ocon – 1’36.351

+2.692 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’36.691

+2.716 Brendon Hartley – 1’36.715

+2.724 Charles Leclerc – 1’36.723

+2.757 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’36.756

+2.910 Marcus Ericsson – 1’36.909

+3.278 Lance Stroll – 1’37.277

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Author information

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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13 comments on “Hamilton comfortably ahead in first practice”

  1. Prarag Chopra
    13th April 2018, 4:43

    Lance Stroll is last again. I hope Williams chuck this guy out after a few races as he is not only a very bad racing driver, but he runs his mouth too often too against the team.

    1. If they did he could probably take his car with him……his dad paid for it after all….

    2. Williams can’t get rid of Lance Stroll since Williams Grand Prix is really now Stroll Grand Prix in all but name only.

  2. Lets see Ferrari try to get a win from this one.

    1. They fluked it in Australia… so anything can happen.

    2. Think you spoke too soon there @jureo

  3. Gasly in STR Honda ahead of Alonso in McRenault again… wow

  4. Ericsson is 1:39 but ahead of Stroll?

  5. McLaren looking off the pace again. I’m beginning to think that they are level with Force India and Toro Rosso at the bottom of the midfield, instead of Renault and Haas at the top of the midfield. I know it’s just FP1, but definitely no good signs for them this weekend.

    1. Yup McLaren has nowhere near top Chassis they claimed they had.

  6. Stroll last again, this guy simply sucks.

    1. He doesn’t suck, he’s just not good enough for Formula One and his presence is an embarrassment. Lance would be great in Trans Am or IMSA or some other series which Laurence could buy him the best car on the grid for one-fifth of what he is spending today.

  7. @keithcollantine

    He set his best time on a set of ultra-softs which had been flat-spotted following a spin into the gravel at the final corner when the RB14 snapped sideways.

    Am I reading this correctly, Verstappen set his best time on damaged tyres? Sounds like a pretty unusual thing to do.

Comments are closed.