Formula One: Alonso and Hamilton fastest in Chinese Friday practice!

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014The Chinese Grand Prix weekend began today, with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton being the two fastest drivers in the two Friday practice sessions in preparation for Sunday’s race.

In first practice, Ferrari were the fastest and slowest cars on track, with Alonso taking the fastest time and Raikkonen down in 22nd. Alonso, the winner of the race last year, was 4 tenths of a second faster than Nico Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo was 3rd fastest in his Red Bull, 2 tenths ahead of Jenson Button. Nico Hulkenburg separated the two McLaren’s in 5th, with Kevin Magnussen just behind on his first visit to the circuit. Jean-Eric Vergne was 7th, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who ended the session early when he suffered a mechanical failure. As a result, the man who has won the last two Grand Prix leading up to this weekend only completed 9 laps.

Sebastian Vettel completed 10 more laps than Hamilton, but was still a tenth behind in 9th place. Felipe Massa was just slower than Vettel and ended the session 10th fastest. Kvyat was just outside of the top 10 after spinning into the gravel at turn 1.

The Russian wasn’t the only driver to have an off track excursion, with Pastor Maldonado going off track at turn 9 after being distracted by his steering wheel. He was caught by surprise when his car entered the gravel and spun, but managed to get his Lotus back on track.

Felipe Nasr and Giedo van der Garde were the only substitute drivers in the sesion, with the pair ending the session in 14th and 15th place for Williams and Sauber respectively; with van der Garde two seconds faster than Gutierrez in the sister Sauber.

Practice 1 results:

POSDriverTeamTime
1Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’39.783
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.181
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’40.772
4Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’40.970
5Nico HulkenburgForce India1’41.175
6Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’41.366
7Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’41.505
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’41.560
9Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’41.629
10Felipe MassaWilliams1’41.699
11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’41.977
12Romain GrosjeanLotus1’42.090
13Felipe NasrWilliams1’42.265
14Giedo van der GardeSauber1’42.615
15Sergio PerezForce India1’42.733
16Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’43.731
17Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’44.038
18Esteban GutierrezSauber1’44.162
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’44.270
20Max ChiltonMarussia1’44.782
21Marcus EricssonCaterham1’44.835
22Kimi RaikkonenFerrariNo Time

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Lewis Hamilton recovered from his dismal first practice to top the second session after missing the first half an hour of running. The team managed to get his car out with an hour to go in the session, with Lewis emerging on the soft tyres to set the fastest lap, 1 tenth ahead of FP1 leader Alonso. Lewis later went on to do a race simulation, but abandoned it near the end of the session after saying that something “didn’t feel right” on the car.

Rosberg was around 4 tenths slower than Hamilton in third place, but had been told to back off in the final sector due to a yellow flag. This flag was caused by Pastor Maldonado, who came into the pits too fast and hit the wall in a similar fashion to how Hamilton ended his Chinese Grand Prix in 2007.

The two Red Bulls were 4th and 5th, with Ricciardo 3 tenths faster than Vettel. Massa was 6th fastest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, who ran for the first time after missing practice 1 to take 7th in his Ferrari.

Jenson Button, the 2010 winner of the Chinese Grand Prix, was 8th fastest ahead of Romain Grosjean, who showed that the Lotus was seemingly improving race-by-race. Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

Practice 2 results:

POSDriverTeamTime
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’38.315
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’38.456
3Nico RosbergMercedes1’38.726
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull1’38.811
5Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’39.015
6Felipe MassaWilliams1’39.118
7Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’39.283
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’39.491
9Romain GrosjeanLotus1’39.537
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’39.648
11Nico HulkenburgForce India1’39.736
12Kevin MagnussenMcLaren1’39.744
13Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’39.759
14Valtteri BottasWilliams1’39.830
15Sergio PerezForce India1’40.124
16Esteban GutierrezSauber1’40.359
17Adrian SutilSauber1’40.395
18Pastor MaldonadoLotus1’40.455
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’42.327
20Max ChiltonMarussia1’43.473
21Kamui KobayashiCaterham1’43.530
22Marcus EricssonCaterham1’43.679
By Jordan Groves
Formula 1 correspondent for RTR Sports Marketing
Follow Jordan on twitter at www.twitter.com/jgroves1996

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