Sebastian Vettel set the pace for Ferrari in the first free practice session of the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday morning, finishing ahead of his Mercedes rival, Lewis Hamilton.
Two weeks after his costly spin in his battle with Hamilton in Bahrain, Vettel started the China weekend on the right foot by setting a fastest time of 1m33.911s, two-tenths of a second quicker than the closest competitor.
Vettel was able to make up for losses to Hamilton in the first two sectors by setting a quick time in Sector 3, with Ferrari’s power advantage showing early down the long back straight.
Vettel also managed to set his time on the Medium compound tyre, with Hamilton’s effort being posted on the quicker Softs.
Charles Leclerc took third place in the sister Ferrari SF90, finishing narrowly behind Hamilton, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended FP1 fourth-fastest.
Valtteri Bottas could only take fifth for Mercedes ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished as the leading midfield driver ahead of his 2019 Red Bull replacement Pierre Gasly.
Daniil Kvyat led Toro Rosso’s efforts in FP1 as he took eighth ahead of Racing Point’s Lance Stroll, the latter escaping a spin at the final corner early in the session without any issues. Romain Grosjean completed the top 10 for Haas, finishing ahead of Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen in 11th.
Nico Hulkenberg ended opening practice 12th ahead of rookies Lando Norrisand Alexander Albon of McLaren and Toro Rosso respectively, while Kimi Raikkonen took 15th for Alfa Romeo.
Carlos Sainz Jr. ended up 16th for McLaren ahead of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and the Williams duo of Robert Kubica and George Russell, with Giovinazzi propping up the timesheets in P20.
Antonio Giovinazzi only managed to complete two laps for Sauber in this first session, a power related issue side-lining him ever since the early parts of the session. He finished the session in last.
Foto-credit: Formula 1
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