China FP1: Vettel sets the early pace from Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel set the pace in first free practice of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend suggesting that Ferrari will be the team to beat in Shanghai.

Vettel with the best time of 1:33.911, a couple of tenths faster than Lewis Hamilton two tenths back for Mercedes, but his best time set on soft tyres as opposed to Ferrari’s harder mediums.

Charles Leclerc third a couple of hundredths further back in the other Ferrari, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen fourth and Valtteri Bottas fifth in the second Mercedes.

Less than eight-tenths of s second separated the top five cars at the top of the timing sheets, with Daniel Ricciardo was sixth and best of the rest for Renault, albeit 1.3 seconds shy of the top time during the ninety minutes morning session.

Pierre Gasly was seventh but over a second down his teammate in the sister Red Bull and only a fraction faster than Daniil Kvyat in the Toro Rosso.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was ninth, followed by the Haas pair of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen in 10th and 11th respectively.