Lewis Hamilton fastest in China GP Free Practice 1

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 2012

Formula One drivers were greeted by overcast skies, intermittent rain and a slippery track for Friday's opening practice at Shanghai International Circuit.

The sun seemed to be shining on Lewis Hamilton, however.

Looking to become a winner of three poles in as many qualifying attempts this season, Hamilton certainly looked the part in Free Practice One.

Despite wet conditions that made for a tricky 90 minutes and led Hamilton (1:37:106) to complete just seven laps, the 2008 World Champion showed the way by more than a full second over the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (1:38:116).

Hamilton could certainly use another stellar qualifying run, since he'll automatically drop five places on the Chinese GP grid for a gearbox change prior to practice.

The second Mercedes, wheeled by seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, clocked in third and exactly two tenths off the time of his younger teammate.

Continuing to impress after a surprisingly strong start to 2012 were the Saubers of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi who rounded out the top five in time.

The Red Bull of Mark Webber, who led much of the session before a drying track gave way to quicker laps, was next in line as teammate Sebastian Vettel, the McLaren of Jenson Button, and the Toro Rosso entries of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne filled out the rest of the top 10.

A trio of reserve drivers were at the wheel of their respective team cars for FP1 as Giedo van der Garde subbed for Vitaly Petrov in the Caterham, Valtteri Bottas replaced Bruno Senna in the Williams and Jules Bianchi drove the Force India in place of Paul Di Resta.

Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix is race No. 3 on the 20-race FIA Formula One World Championship calendar.

Button claimed victory in the season-opening Australian GP, with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso taking top honors in round two held a week later at rain-soaked Sepang International Circuit.

Despite Ferrari's early struggles for pace in 2012, Alonso is the World Championship leader with two races in the books.

Immediately trailing the Spaniard is Hamilton at five points back. McLaren teammate Button is third, 10 points off leader Alonso.

On-track activities will resume in China with Free Practice Two, which is scheduled to get under way at 2 a.m. ET Friday.


Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m37.106 7
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.116s + 1.010 14
3. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m38.316s + 1.210 14
4. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.584s + 1.478 13
5. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m38.911s + 1.805 12
6. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m38.977s + 1.871 15
7. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m39.198s + 2.092 12
8. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m39.199s + 2.093 6
9. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.748s + 2.642 16
10. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m39.768s + 2.662 14
11. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m40.056s + 2.950 14
12. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m40.153s + 3.047 14
13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m40.298s + 3.192 8
14. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m40.328s + 3.222 13
15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m40.540s + 3.434 12
16. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m41.071s + 3.965 14
17. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m41.204s + 4.098 14
18. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m42.330s + 5.224 14
19. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m42.521s + 5.415 11
20. Jules Bianchi Force India-Mercedes 1m44.118s + 7.012 8
21. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m44.227s + 7.121 10
22. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m44.500s + 7.394 15
23. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m47.204s + 10.098 12
24. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m50.465s + 13.359 11

All Timing Unofficial

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