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Hamilton leads first free practice in Shanghai

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Lewis Hamilton comfortably led the field in Friday's first free practice session for this weekend's China Grand Prix.

Hamilton clocked in with a time of 1m33.999 which was 0.59s faster than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while the reigning world champion's Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas was 0.458s adrift.

Chinese Grand Prix - Free Practice 1

Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.999s 22
2 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:34.358s + 0.359s 14
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:34.457s + 0.458s 28
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:34.537s + 0.538s 22
5 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:34.668s + 0.669s 22
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:34.861s + 0.862s 18
7 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:35.178s + 1.179s 21
8 Carlos Sainz Renault 1:35.616s + 1.617s 23
9 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:35.718s + 1.719s 21
10 Nico Hülkenberg Renault 1:35.800s + 1.801s 18
11 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso 1:36.037s + 2.038s 21
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:36.044s + 2.045s 29
13 Sergio Pérez Force India 1:36.051s + 2.052s 28
14 Esteban Ocon Force India 1:36.351s + 2.352s 32
15 Sergey Sirotkin Williams 1:36.691s + 2.692s 31
16 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso 1:36.715s + 2.716s 23
17 Charles Leclerc Sauber 1:36.723s + 2.724s 23
18 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1:36.756s + 2.757s 25
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:36.909s + 2.910s 21
20 Lance Stroll Williams 1:37.277s + 3.278s 28

Drivers kicked off their first session in Shanghai under an overcast sky and with a strong chance of rain but fortunately the elements stayed away for the duration of FP1.

Mercedes took the opportunity to put to the test different rear wings specs. With the exception of an inconsequential spin for Hamilton at Turn 10, the session ran smoothly for the Silver Arrows outfit, and the four-time world champion in particular.

Hamilton and Bottas ran for 90 minutes exclusively on Pirelli's soft compound, while Ferrari's Raikkonen set his fastest time on the purple ultrasoft rubber.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fourth and fifth in the session, the Dutchman clocking in 0.131s behind his teammate.

Sebastian Vettel was 0.862s off the leader's pace as he worked through his various set-up programmes.

Haas once again put in a good showing as 'best of the rest' with Kevin Magnussen clocking in P7, edging out Renault's Carlos Sainz, team mate Romain Grosjean and Nico Hulkenberg who rounded off the top ten.

Toro Rosso was once again faster than McLaren, with Pierre Gasly just edging out Fernando Alonso, while Stoffel Vandoorne concluded the morning P19 after a spin in the closing stages of the session.

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