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Hamilton leads Raikkonen in opening practice – FP1 Report

Mercedes refrain from running ultrasofts in opening session

Chinese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton finished fastest in a tricky opening practice session ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

With blustery wind speeds and air and track temperatures no better than 20 degrees Celsius, drivers were faced with low-grip conditions in the opening free practice session.

The tricky conditions meant that there were off-track moments for notable drivers including Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne both took trips across the gravel; Verstappen suffered snap-oversteer at the final corner whilst Vandoorne had the same issue at turn ten.

Lewis Hamilton also fell foul of the sub-optimal weather; the Mercedes driver lost the rear of his car and half-spun at the slow turn eleven before continuing unscathed.

Despite the error, the Briton was able to set the session’s best lap time of 1:33.999, despite only setting his lap on the soft compound tyre.

Raikkonen’s ultrasoft-compound run was enough to place him second fastest, over three tenths of a second behind Hamilton, with the second Mercedes of Bottas – who also only ran the soft tyres – in third.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Verstappen were closely matched in fourth and fifth, with Sebastian Vettel another couple of tenths behind.

Kevin Magnussen placed Haas as ‘best of the rest’ in seventh, ahead of Renault’s Carlos Sainz, the second Haas of Romain Grosjean and the second Renault of Nico Hulkenberg. The Renault’s elected to not set times on the ultrasoft tyre.

To view the full results of the session, click here.

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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