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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

PosNoDriverTeamTimeGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:38.31525
214Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:38.4560.14128
36Nico RosbergMercedes1:38.7260.41130
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:38.8110.49630
51Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:39.0150.70031
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:39.1180.80325
77Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:39.2830.96825
822Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:39.4911.17629
98Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:39.5371.22236
1026Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:39.6481.33326
1127Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:39.7361.42130
1220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:39.7441.42929
1325Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:39.7591.44428
1477Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:39.8301.51525
1511Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:40.1241.80932
1621Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:40.3592.04432
1799Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:40.3952.08030
1813Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1:40.4552.14012
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:42.3274.01227
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:43.4735.15830
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:43.5305.21532
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:43.6795.36432