Vettel quickest on harder tyres in first practice

2019 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

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Ferrari out-paced Mercedes on harder rubber in the opening practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel, seeking to bounce back from a difficult weekend in Bahrain, set a quickest time of 1’33.911 in the opening session. He used the medium (C3) compound tyre, while rival Lewis Hamilton could go no quicker despite using the soft (C4) tyre for his quickest run.

The second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc almost matched Hamilton’s lap time, also on the medium compound tyre.

Max Verstappen was fourth-quickest for Red Bull, lapping within half a second of Vettel and relegating Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes to fifth place. Pierre Gasly set the seventh-fastest time and also collected a fine for breaking the pit lane speed limit.

Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg was in no danger of doing the same as he discovered his pit lane speed limiter had been incorrectly set at 60kph instead of 80kph. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo led the midfield runners but was over 1.3 seconds slower than Vettel.

Behind Gasly, three other cars appeared in the top 10, all lapping with a tenth of a second of the Red Bull. Daniil Kvyat was eighth for Toro Rosso, followed by Lance Stroll’s Racing Point and Romain Grosjean’s Haas.

The Alfa Romeo team had a troubled Friday in Bahrain and the Chinese Grand Prix weekend didn’t get off to a great start for them either. Kimi Raikkonen was only 15th, while a power unit problem meant Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to set a time. The Williams drivers occupied their usual positions at the bottom of the times.

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Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1’33.91119
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’34.1180.20721
316Charles LeclercFerrari1’34.1670.25621
433Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’34.3340.42320
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1’34.6530.74223
63Daniel RicciardoRenault1’35.2391.32823
710Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’35.4281.51723
826Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’35.4471.53624
918Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.4661.55525
108Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’35.5071.59624
1120Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’35.5171.60625
1227Nico HulkenbergRenault1’35.5911.68022
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’35.6311.72024
1423Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’35.6951.78426
157Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’35.7291.81823
1655Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’35.7561.84524
1711Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’35.8201.90924
1888Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’36.8472.93627
1963George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’37.6193.70829
2099Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari

First practice visual gaps

Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.911

+0.207 Lewis Hamilton – 1’34.118

+0.256 Charles Leclerc – 1’34.167

+0.423 Max Verstappen – 1’34.334

+0.742 Valtteri Bottas – 1’34.653

+1.328 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’35.239

+1.517 Pierre Gasly – 1’35.428

+1.536 Daniil Kvyat – 1’35.447

+1.555 Lance Stroll – 1’35.466

+1.596 Romain Grosjean – 1’35.507

+1.606 Kevin Magnussen – 1’35.517

+1.680 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’35.591

+1.720 Lando Norris – 1’35.631

+1.784 Alexander Albon – 1’35.695

+1.818 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’35.729

+1.845 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’35.756

+1.909 Sergio Perez – 1’35.820

+2.936 Robert Kubica – 1’36.847

+3.708 George Russell – 1’37.619

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

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2019 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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12 comments on “Vettel quickest on harder tyres in first practice”

  1. I’m pretty sure Ferrari is running higher engine modes than Mercedes, as the top speed differential is to great to be anything else.

    1. Ferrari lowest power mode > Mercedes medium power mode. It’s the same as Bahrain. There’s no way for the Ferrari to goes slower than this unless they disable 1 cylinder.

      1. There’s no way for the Ferrari to goes slower than this unless they disable 1 cylinder.

        They tested that at Bahrain on Sunday, didn’t they? ;)

    2. I am sure Toto will disagree with you.

      1. According to Toto, Mercedes are using all max qualifying modes while Ferrari is running on 2 cylinders and their drivers are cruising.

    3. Maybe some grapefruit juice with some yeast in the fuel?

    4. Top speed isn’t just down to engine power. The downforce level the various teams decide to run and overall aero efficiency of the cars play significant roles as well.

  2. I know it’s just FP1, but Gasly is a second down on his teammate with a Renault in front of him and a Toro Rosso within a few hundredths of a second behind. He’s going to start feeling the heat pretty early on this weekend…

    1. Think this could be relatively representative for a fp1, ferrari 3 tenths faster than mercedes which is 1 tenth faster than red bull with a good driver could be based on bahrain and considering red bull had issues in bahrain, renault and haas leading the midfield, then force india and toro rosso, with williams at the bottom would also not be unusual.

  3. Points are handed out on Sunday. Ferrari need to fully focus on that. No use leading 5 of the 6 sessions like in Bahrain with the race not being one of those.

  4. Ok, we are only talking about tyres. What about everything else. What are the other teams trying? It still is practise. We have to wait.

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