Lewis Hamilton spins out on first lap of Chinese Grand Prix second practice as Valtteri Bottas sets the pace ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen
- Lewis Hamilton made a rare error as he spun out of second practice session
- Mercedes driver was on his first lap in Shanghai when he lost control
- It meant he was fourth-fastest in the session after a scruffy performance
- His team-mate Valtteri Bottas set the pace in Friday afternoon’s second practice
- Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was quickest during the first practice run
- This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix marks the 1,000th Formula One race
Valtteri Bottas provided Mercedes with hope that they will be able to take the fight to Ferrari this weekend after leading the way in practice at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Ferrari held a sizeable advantage over the Silver Arrows at the last round in Bahrain, with emerging star Charles Leclerc cruelly denied a win following a late engine failure.
But although Sebastian Vettel topped the time sheets in Friday’s first session at Formula One’s 1,000th race, Bottas put his Mercedes on top in the second running.
Lewis Hamilton spun his Mercedes on the third corner of his first lap in second practice
It was a rare mistake by the reigning world champion, who usually performs well in China
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace in the first practice session at the Chinese Grand Prix
The German is seeking better fortunes following his spin during the Bahrain Grand Prix
The Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas set the pace in the second practice session in Shanghai
Bottas finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen on Friday afternoon
Lewis Hamilton finished a distant fourth after a scruffy afternoon in which the Mercedes star spun on his first lap. He ended the day seven tenths off his team-mate’s pace.
Hamilton has built a fanatical support base in China after winning here five times. A plethora of British flags adorned the main grandstand, but his army of fans did not get to see him dominate the session.
Indeed, his spin at the third bend was something of a rarity for the usually error-free world champion.
Max Verstappen suggested it could be a three-team battle in Sunday’s 56-lap race after he finished third in his Red Bull, just 0.221 seconds slower than Bottas.
Leclerc indicated he could be a title contender in Bahrain, but was behind Vettel in both sessions. He was a quarter-of-a-second down on his team-mate on Friday morning, and finished seventh later in the day.
Charles Leclerc of Ferrari drives past a giant billboard featuring portraits of the drivers
The pace of Vettel and Leclerc (pictured) suggests Ferrari have the pace advantage again
Max Verstappen of Red Bull prepares to head out for a lap during Friday’s practice session
The Monegasque was restricted to only 13 laps, 20 fewer than Vettel, after he suffered a mechanical issue which brought his running to a premature end.
Lando Norris delivered McLaren’s best finish in more than a year with his fine drive to sixth last time out, and the British team will be encouraged by their showing here.
Norris, the 19-year-old Briton, was eighth, two places behind his McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz.
Another of Britain’s rookies, George Russell, endured another testing day in his formative Formula One career.
The Englishman, in his woefully uncompetitive Williams, was the slowest driver in both 90-minute sessions, finishing the best part of three seconds behind Bottas.
Second practice times
1 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1min 33.330secs
2 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari 1:33.357
3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1:33.551
4 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:34.037
5 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:34.096
6 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spa) McLaren 1:34.141
7 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:34.158
8 Lando Norris (Gbr) McClaren 1:34.296
9 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Renault 1:34.336
10 Pierre Gasly (Fra) Red Bull 1:34.455
11 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:34.551
12 Alexander Albon (Tha) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34.634
13 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:34.694
14 Lance Stroll (Can) Racing Point 1:34.779
15 Sergio Perez (Mex) Racing Point 1:34.784
16 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:34.788
17 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:35.704
18 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:35.914
19 Robert Kubica (Pol) Williams 1:36.121
20 George Russell (Gbr) Williams 1:36.229