Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton Sets The Pace In First Practice In Shanghai

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Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport of Lewis Hamilton topped the timesheets at the end of practice one for the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

The defending champion was the only driver to drop under  one minute thirty four seconds  as he started the weekend on the front foot.

Kimi Raikkonen in the Scuderia Ferrari was second, three and a half tenths behind Hamilton with fellow Finnish driver, Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top three.

The Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth with Sebastian Vettel down in sixth.

Kevin Magnussen continued his fine form this season with seventh in the Haas F1 Team with his team-mate Romain Grosjean ninth.

The two Renault Sport Formula One team cars rounded out the top ten with Carlos Sainz Jr in eighth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Fresh from his first points in fifty races, Marcus Ericsson in the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team was first out while Lance Stroll completed the first timed lap of the session.

Fernando Alonso quickly pushed the Canadian off the top of timesheets before all the drivers started setting times.

Practice saw a break in track action after the forty minute mark when teams gave back their mandatory set of tyres to Pirelli.

Times began to tumble as drivers went back out with many trying to find the limit round the Shanghai International Circuit.

Verstappen was lucky to escape without damage after a mistake in the final corner before Hamilton spun at turn eleven.

The McLaren F1 Team of Stoffel Vandoorne had a trip through the gravel on the exit of turn ten as the Belgian finished a lowly eighteenth.

Hamilton and Mercedes look strong after the first practice session especially when taken into account that their fastest lap was seton the soft compared to Raikkonen on the ultrasoft.

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