Shanghai Practice 2: Hamilton reclaims top spot at the end of day one

Lewis Hamilton tops in FP2

Lewis Hamilton tops in FP2

Lewis Hamilton returned Mercedes to the top of the timesheets on Friday by setting the fastest time in the second practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Hamilton completed 25 laps of the 5.4 kilometre Shanghai International Circuit in the afternoon to end the day with a best time of 1:38.315.

His Formula One championship leading team mate Nico Rosberg was third, the German lapping four tenths of a second slower than Hamilton’s benchmark on a cool and hazy afternoon at the circuit located on the outskirts of Shanghai.

Ferrari‘s Fernando Alonso, who had topped the weekend’s opening session, split the two Mercedes in second.

The Spaniard, watched by the team’s new boss Marco Mattiacci, carried his timesheet-topping form from the morning session over into the afternoon.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Alonso’s best lap was just a tenth off Hamilton’s benchmark effort, and the double world champion was swapping the fastest time with Rosberg’s Mercedes for most of the second 90-minute session before the focus switched to high-fuel long runs.

Despite ending the day fastest, it was far from a trouble-free day for Hamilton.

The 2008 world champion, gunning for his first hat-trick of wins this weekend, completed just nine laps and set the eighth fastest time in the morning session after a suspension problem limited his running.

The issue persisted into the afternoon and Hamilton was forced to sit out the opening 30 minutes of the second session as his team worked to fix the problem.

However, despite being sent out to join the on-track action, the Briton didn’t seem comfortable in his car and radioed his team to complain about its handling.

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg

Kimi Raikkonen was another driver whose Friday running was hampered by technical glitches. The Ferrari driver was forced to sit out the first session but managed to rack up 25 laps in the afternoon on his way to the seventh-fastest time.

Daniel Ricciardo, who had set the third fastest time in the morning, continued to lead the charge for reigning world champions Red Bull, ending the day fourth-fastest ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado, who had caused some amusement when he drove off the track and spun while changing some settings on his steering wheel on Friday morning, was the only casualty in the second session.

The Venezuelan, who carries a five-place grid penalty into Sunday’s race, ran wide while turning into the pits and drove into a tyre barrier, bringing an end to his session after just 12 laps.

Chinese Grand Prix, Free Practice 2 – Friday, 18 April 2014

Pos No Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.315 25
2 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.456 0.141 28
3 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.726 0.411 30
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:38.811 0.496 30
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:39.015 0.700 31
6 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:39.118 0.803 25
7 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:39.283 0.968 25
8 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.491 1.176 29
9 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:39.537 1.222 36
10 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:39.648 1.333 26
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:39.736 1.421 30
12 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:39.744 1.429 29
13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:39.759 1.444 28
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:39.830 1.515 25
15 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:40.124 1.809 32
16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:40.359 2.044 32
17 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:40.395 2.080 30
18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:40.455 2.140 12
19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:42.327 4.012 27
20 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:43.473 5.158 30
21 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:43.530 5.215 32
22 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:43.679 5.364 32