Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel opens the Chinese Grand Prix – the host of Formula 1‘s 1000th World Championship Grand Prix, fastest overall ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
The German driver placed a 1:33.911 on the medium tyres during the first 90 minute session of the weekend, piping ahead of the Mercedes AMG Petronas driver of Hamilton by 0.207 seconds.
Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc placed the third best time overall ahead of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas was fifth fastest in the session ahead of Renault‘s Daniel Ricciardo. Pierre Gasly placed the seventh best time, over one and a half seconds slower than Vettel’s time whilst Toro Rosso‘s Daniil Kvyat ended the first practice session in eighth place.
Racing Point‘s Lance Stroll ended the session in ninth place ahead of Rich Energy Haas‘ Romain Grosjean, who rounded off the top ten. Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo was the only driver to not set a lap time in practice 1 after the team found a power loss issue during their installation lap early into the session. The Italian completed only two laps during the session.
The first practice session of the weekend started with Kevin Magnussen in the Haas heading out on track first, followed by Vettel, who became the first of the front runners to head out on track for their reconnaissance lap. Most of the field headed out on track to complete a few laps around the 3.8 mile circuit, but none set an official lap time.
Twenty minutes into the session and after a quiet period of cars not heading out on track, Robert Kubica set the first official time of the session with a 1:41.339. The Polish’s time was quickly beaten by his ROKiT Williams team-mate George Russell, who placed a 1:40.725 in his first lap.
After the two Williams cars set their laps, more cars joined them on track to begin their practice runs. Vettel in the Ferrari was the first front running car to place a time and immediately jumped to the top of the time sheets with a 1:35.988, over half a second quicker than then second place driver Magnussen. Leclerc followed him behind in second place, 0.458 seconds short from Vettel’s time.
As the session approached the thirty minute mark, both Mercedes drivers’ managed to leap ahead of both Ferrari’s to go fastest overall with Hamilton leading ahead of Bottas on the soft tyres. Verstappen’s Red Bull placed a time to split both Ferrari cars in fourth place. Racing Point’s Lance Stroll made the first mistake of the weekend by spinning at the exit of the final corner.
Both Vettel and Verstappen made improvements to their times and saw both drivers take over the lead of the session ahead of Hamilton, but both Mercedes cars improve their times and reclaim the top two spots in the session. Verstappen on the harder compound of tyres managed to jump ahead of both Ferrari cars in third. After 40 minutes of the session, the drivers dived back into the pits to return a set of Pirelli tyres.
The track remained quiet for ten minutes before the cars headed back out on track with Russell leading the way, improving his times to eighteenth overall in the standings, ahead of both Alfa Romeo Racing cars. Leclerc jumped to the top of the time sheets briefly on the medium tyres, before both his team-mate Vettel and Hamilton improve on their times and place themselves ahead of the Monegasque driver.
With fifteen minutes of the session left, Vettel remained on top ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Verstappen and Bottas. The order remained the same as the teams ran racing simulations during the final stages of the session.
With the chequered flag out, Vettel ended the session ahead of Hamilton and team-mate Leclerc. Verstappen in the Red Bull Honda managed to end the session ahead of championship leader Bottas around the Shanghai circuit.
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||1:33.911||-|
|2||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||1:34.118||+0.207|
|3||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow||1:34.167||+0.256|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:34.334||+0.423|
|5||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport||1:34.653||+0.742|
|6||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Renault F1 Team||1:35.239||+1.328|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Aston Martin Red Bull Racing||1:35.428||+1.517|
|8||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1:35.447||+1.536|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||1:35.466||+1.555|
|10||8||Romain Grosjean||FRA||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||1:35.507||+1.596|
|11||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Rich Energy Haas F1 Team||1:35.517||+1.606|
|12||27||Nico Hülkenberg||GER||Renault F1 Team||1:35.591||+1.680|
|13||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||1:35.631||+1.720|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda||1:35.695||+1.784|
|15||7||Kimi Räikkönen||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||1:35.729||+1.818|
|16||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||ESP||McLaren F1 Team||1:35.756||+1.845|
|17||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team||1:35.820||+1.909|
|18||88||Robert Kubica||POL||ROKiT Williams Racing||1:36.847||+2.936|
|19||63||George Russell||GBR||ROKiT Williams Racing||1:37.619||+3.708|
|20||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||ITA||Alfa Romeo Racing||No Time||N/A|