Hamilton quickest at end of first day in China
Lewis Hamilton provided a masterful performance in the opening day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday. The Briton was comfortably quickest in both sessions ahead of Sunday’s Shanghai race.
Hamilton was almost half a second quicker than Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen. Daniel Ricciardo was third fastest for Red Bull with Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel fourth and Lewis’ team mate Nico Rosberg fifth.
Hamilton’s performance would suggest Mercedes are still some way ahead of the pack. However, Vettel’s victory for Ferrari in Malaysia was against the formbook and underlined the improving competitiveness of both Ferrari and Red Bull with Williams quick, although not perhaps as quick as their end of year form and early promise would suggest.
The resurgence in performance for the “Prancing Horse” was clearly too much for one Chinese fan; vaulting the safety fence and barriers, he ran across the track and into the pits demanding to try one of the Ferrari race cars during the middle of practice! Needless to say he won’t be getting his ticket back for tomorrow…..
If things stay this way tomorrow expect a Mercedes victory again at the weekend, but with race pace times getting closer the chance of a further upset could be on the cards at the Bahrain Grand Prix in just over a week’s time.
Hamilton hat trick and Mercedes front row in China
Lewis Hamilton registered a hat trick of 2015 pole positions by taking top spot for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix. The Briton was comfortably fastest throughout Friday and Saturday practice and continued his run of good form into the afternoon’s qualifying session ahead of tomorrow’s race in Shanghai that starts at 09.00 local time in Bahrain.
Mercedes locked-out the front row with Nico Rosberg second. Malaysian GP winner Sebastian Vettel was third almost a second behind Hamilton’s lap time. Fourth and fifth were the Williams twins of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen sixth.
Story of the day was the continuing struggles of McLaren. The Woking team finished 17th and 18th in the hands of Button and Alonso respectively. Both drivers are talking-up the potential of the car and its chances in race trim. However, the galling nature of their lowly position will not have escaped race fans around the world and they can only hope for better things tomorrow and in the races to come.
China’s race is the third of the championship with the fourth round in Bahrain next weekend. Expectations are running high ahead of the Sakhir race and the majority of Middle East race fans will be glued to their screens on Sunday morning in anticipation of seeing whether Ferrari can again upset the form-book as they did in Kuala Lumpur two week’s ag0.
Pictures from our friends at Sutton-Images who are trackside in China
Hamilton – start to finish win in China
Lewis Hamilton extended his lead at the head of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship by winning the Chinese Grand Prix. The Briton led from start to finish in what looked like a straightforward Sunday afternoon drive. Second was his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg with the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen third and fourth. The win was Lewis’ fourth in China.
The race finished under the somewhat farcical conditions of a safety car as marshals attempted to remove the stricken Toro Rosso of Max Verstappen from the Pit straight. The Dutchman, the youngest to drive in Formula 1, had driven a fine race up to that point.
The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fifth and sixth ahead of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus and Felipe Nasr’s Sauber. Daniel Ricciardo was ninth, after fluffing the start, and Marcus Ericsson ensured that Sauber again maximised points for a top ten finish. What a difference a year makes!
Both McLarens finished, albeit in 12th and 13th but this will be seen as a result for the Woking team as it endures the growing pains of the new engine relationship with Honda.
The teams will now be packing up and making their way to the airport for their flights to Bahrain ahead of next weekend’s race in the Kingdom. Mercedes will arrive as firm favourites after this impressive display in China, but the Gulf’s Ferrari fans will be looking forward to a good fight come next Sunday at the Sakhir track.
Images again from our friends at Sutton-Images with more to come on each day of the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 17-19.