2015 CHINESE GP: HAMILTON FASTEST, FERRARI SERIOUS RACE THREAT

Lewis Hamilton continued to set the pace in practice sessions for the Chinese Grand Prix, with the Mercedes driver following up his fastest lap of the morning session with the best time of the afternoon. Hamilton posted a fastest lap on the soft Pirelli tyre to finish four-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo third.

Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, finished fifth behind Sebastian Vettel, 1.1 seconds behind his Mercedes team-mate after making a mistake on his soft tyre run. However, while it was Hamilton who grabbed the lion’s share of the limelight with another dominant showing, it was Raikkonen who caught the eye. The Finn’s long-run pace was impressive and signalled that despite the advantage Mercedes enjoyed over the Scuderia in the qualifying sims, the champions may not have things all their own way in the race.

Rosberg’s slip allowed Daniel Ricciardo to step up and in a topsy turvy session for Red Bull, the Australian put a late entry to the session behind him to land the third fastest time of the session, a second behind Hamilton. It was a trickier session for team-mate Daniil Kvyat, however. The Russian was forced out of the session by brake problem that eventually saw him trundle off track and into the barriers with complete brake failure as he attempted a slow crawl back to the pits. He finished the day in sixth place, however. Valtteri Bottas took seventh place for Williams but it was a far more difficult afternoon for team-mate Felipe Massa.

A problem with the rear wing of his car saw the Brazilian lose control of his Williams under braking as he approached the turn 14 hairpin and he slid off track and damaged the front wing of the car. He played no further part in the session. Felipe Nasr was eighth fastest for Sauber ahead of Lotus’ Romain Grosjean. Jenson Button finished an excellent 10th for McLaren confirming the progress the team has made in recent weeks.

Another incident early in the session saw a spectator run across the main straight and cross into pit lane where he tried to enter the Ferrari garage. He was subsequently arrested by local police.
FREE PRACTICE 1
PDRIVERTEAMTIMEGAPLAPS
1.Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:39.033
21
2.Nico RosbergMercedes1:39.574+ 0.54121
3.Sebastian VettelFerrari1:40.157+ 1.12418
4.Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1:40.661+ 1.62827
5.Felipe NasrSauber1:41.012+ 1.97918
6.Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing1:41.029+ 1.99621
7.Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing1:41.097+ 2.06424
8.Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:41.112+ 2.07923
9.Valtteri BottasWilliams1:41.303+ 2.27023
10.Felipe MassaWilliams1:41.304+ 2.27117
11.Pastor MaldonadoLotus1:41.335+ 2.30223
12.Max VerstappenToro Rosso1:41.575+ 2.54228
13.Jenson ButtonMcLaren1:41.845+ 2.81219
14.Marcus EricssonSauber1:41.918+ 2.88524
15.Jolyon PalmerLotus1:41.967+ 2.93425
16.Sergio PerezForce India1:42.141+ 3.10822
17.Fernando AlonsoMcLaren1:42.161+ 3.12820
18.Nico HulkenbergForce India1:42.184+ 3.15119
19.Will StevensMarussia1:45.379+ 6.34618
20.Roberto MerhiMarussia1:46.443+ 7.41020

FREE PRACTICE 2
P.DRIVERTEAMTIMEGAPLAPS
1.Lewis HamiltonMercedes01:37.219
32
2.Kimi RäikkönenFerrari01:37.662+ 0.44335
3.Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing01:38.311+ 1.09224
4.Sebastian VettelFerrari01:38.339+ 1.12030
5.Nico RosbergMercedes01:38.399+ 1.18035
6.Daniil KvyatRed Bull Racing01:38.737+ 1.51810
7.Valtteri BottasWilliams01:38.850+ 1.63127
8.Felipe NasrSauber01:39.032+ 1.81326
9.Romain GrosjeanLotus01:39.142+ 1.92332
10.Jenson ButtonMcLaren01:39.275+ 2.05629
11.Pastor MaldonadoLotus01:39.444+ 2.22530
12.Fernando AlonsoMcLaren01:39.743+ 2.52427
13.Marcus EricssonSauber01:39.751+ 2.53233
14.Max VerstappenToro Rosso01:39.894+ 2.67532
15.Carlos SainzToro Rosso01:39.971+ 2.75228
16.Nico HulkenbergForce India01:40.151+ 2.93228
17.Felipe MassaWilliams01:40.423+ 3.2047
18.Sergio PerezForce India01:40.868+ 3.64924
19.Roberto MerhiMarussia01:42.973+ 5.75427
20.Will StevensMarussia01:44.564+ 7.3458