Lewis Hamilton tops first practice in Shanghai

Lewis Hamilton tops first practice in Shanghai

The world champion, who trails Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 17 points after the season's opening two rounds but has won in China a record five times, was the only driver to lap the vast Shanghai International Circuit in under one minute 34 seconds on a chilly and windy Friday morning.

"Obviously after this incident I didn't, but I just saw Max now", Hamilton said Thursday, as quoted by Sky Sports F1.

China, every the followers and the monitor, have been selection to Hamilton over time with the Brit worthwhile on 5 occasions since 2008, along with victory remaining 12 months. Nico Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen and Carlos Sainz filled the gap between Verstappen in fifth and Ricciardo in ninth and were all within a second of Hamilton's best effort as Renault and Haas look set for a close fight to be crowned best of the rest.

Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Friday's first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.

"So the mindset, the strength in which I have now, I wish I had then because it would have changed my life I would imagine back then".

"But I think respect needs to be kept between all the drivers".

"So the mindset, the facility whereby I've now, I would like I had then because of it may have modified my life I would take into consideration once more then".

Ferrari head to head
Ferrari head to head

"I think some of the systems we have can be a bit tricky. I don't see why not". "I went through that stuff when I was younger, so I know how it is".

In a session of little drama, both Verstappen and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne spun off into the gravel before rejoining, while Hamilton also had a minor spin as drivers tried to get to grips with the cooler track temperatures. As scene-setters for the race go this was a mighty opening, with one-tenth of a second separating the front four.

"The vehicle is very quick, I think especially in the race", said Verstappen, who crashed in qualifying last weekend when his Renault power unit suffered a 150 bhp surge and sent him spinning off.

"In Australia I struggled, Bahrain I was much happier but here it is not yet where I want to be", the former Red Bull driver explained.

"I'm just looking forward to getting started again here because I think we have a good package and have a lot of promising things coming", Verstappen said.

"We got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the vehicle", said Hamilton after a cold afternoon.

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