First blood to Ferrari as Vettel goes quickest – FP1 Report

Chinese Grand Prix – Sebastian Vettel has gone quickest in the opening practice session in Shanghai, leading Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes.

Sebastian Vettel has taken top spot in opening practice. In a warm and muggy FP1 session, the Ferrari driver clocked a fastest time of 1:33.911 on the Medium compound tyre to finish two tenths clear of Lewis Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver used the Soft tyre to put in his best time, finishing just 0.049 ahead of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Like Vettel, Leclerc’s best time was on the Medium compound tyre. It was Max Verstappen up next, who put his Red Bull into P4 with a 1:34.334 on the Soft tyre.

Valtteri Bottas finished P5 in the second Mercedes, also on the Soft tyres, ahead of the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian was impressive on the Soft tyre, but was less happy towards the end of the session as he complained about the balance of his RS19.

Pierre Gasly finished P7 in the second Red Bull, ahead of the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Lance Stroll finished P9, despite a spin early in the session as he lost the rear of his Racing Point coming through the final corner. Romain Grosjean rounded out the top ten as he led the Haas challenge.

Kevin Magnussen finished P11 in the second Haas, just ahead of Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg. Lando Norris was P13 for McLaren, with Alex Albon P14 in his Toro Rosso.

Alfa Romeo had a troubled session, with Kimi Raikkonen in P15 and only moving up to that position towards the end of FP1. Alfa admitted afterwards that they went the wrong way with their setup for practice, meaning Raikkonen spent the second half of the session trying to catch up on where they should have been. It was worse on the other side of the garage, as Antonio Giovinazzi only got to complete a solitary installation lap. He was then withdrawn to the pits as Alfa had problems with their Ferrari power unit installation, meaning his car had to be disassembled to be ready for FP2. He finished P20.

Carlos Sainz was P16 for McLaren, with Sergio Perez P17 for Racing Point. The two Williams drivers were, as expected, at the very back, with Robert Kubica 0.8 clear of George Russell. However, Kubica’s best time was some three seconds away from the fastest.

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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