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Chinese GP: Mercedes fastest on Friday, but gap is shrinking

Jack Hunsley

500RPM
Sep 26, 2010
922
845
China.png

You'd be forgiven for assuming that Mercedes two year long dominance would be set to continue after Hamilton was fastest in both FP1 and FP2 on the first days action in Shanghai, but it seems that other teams might finally be making a breakthrough.


The first session of the day passed with few major dramas. Hamilton managed to put his Mercedes half a second clear of team mate Nico Rosberg, but the Ferrari of Vettel was just another half a second down on his fellow countryman in third.

Felipe Nasr seemed to be regaining his form he showed at Melbourne with 5th place ahead of both Red Bulls, whilst further down the field there were spins for Felipe Massa and Jolyon Palmer, whilst McLaren could take some solace with Button and Alonso finishing the session 13th and 17th.

FP2 was where the main drama was for the day. In between fans sprinting across the track, the times at the top of the sheets where remarkably close. Whilst Hamilton led the way again he was only four tenths quicker than Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Meanwhile his team mate Rosberg was outpaced by both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel, only managing 5th by the time the checkered flag fell. Meanwhile McLaren seem to have made some serious progress with Jenson Button managing to put his McLaren 10th quickest overall, with Alonso just two places behind in 12th.

But for others the session was not as remarkable. Daniil Kvyat for example was told to return to the pits very carefully after his left-rear brake pad caught fire, but was helpless when he went straight on at the hairpin and bumped the wall.

Meanwhile Felipe Massa suffered a major setback after his rear wing stalled under braking for the final hairpin and subsequently wrecked his car, bringing out the red flag in the process.

All in all, it seems that Ferrari's victory in Malaysia last time out may not be the only time we will see a Mercedes bested this season.

Free Practice 1 Official Results
  1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:39.033
  2. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1:39.574
  3. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:40.157
  4. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 1:41.012
  5. Felipe Nasr - Sauber - 1:41.012
  6. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull - 1:41.029
  7. Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull - 1:41.097
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr. - Toro Rosso - 1:41.112
  9. Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 1:41.303
  10. Felipe Massa - Williams - 1:41.304
  11. Pastor Maldonado - Lotus - 1:41.335
  12. Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso - 1:41.575
  13. Jenson Button - McLaren - 1:41.845
  14. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber - 1:41.918
  15. Jolyon Palmer - Lotus - 1:41.967
  16. Sergio Perez - Force India - 1:42.141
  17. Fernando Alonso - McLaren - 1:42.161
  18. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 1:42.184
  19. Will Stevens - Manor - 1:45.379
  20. Roberto Merhi - Manor - 1:46.443
Free Practice 2 Official Results
  1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - 1:37.219
  2. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - 1:37.662
  3. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull - 1:38.311
  4. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1:38.339
  5. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - 1:38.399
  6. Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull - 1:38.737
  7. Valtteri Bottas - Williams - 1:38.850
  8. Felipe Nasr - Sauber - 1:39.032
  9. Romain Grosjean - Lotus - 1:39.142
  10. Jenson Button - McLaren - 1:39.275
  11. Pastor Maldonado - Lotus - 1:39.444
  12. Fernando Alonso - McLaren - 1:39.743
  13. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber - 1:39.751
  14. Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso - 1:39.894
  15. Carlos Sainz Jr. - Toro Rosso - 1:39.971
  16. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India - 1:40.151
  17. Felipe Massa - Williams - 1:40.423
  18. Sergio Perez - Force India - 1:40.868
  19. Roberto Merhi - Manor - 1:42.973
  20. Will Stevens - Manor - 1:44.564
 
Last edited:

the_sigman

7000RPM
Dec 4, 2012
7,549
2,017
22
I don't get how Rosberg is slower than Hamilton by almost a second. I mean they have both same cars. I don't think the difference of skills of both drivers should reach a gap of a second. Even though I'm a Hamilton fan, I feel like something's not right.
He made a mistake in the last corner in his only attempt with softs. With the medium he was 0.06s slower than Lewis.
 

apexGBG

10RPM
Apr 4, 2015
13
21
wow those McLaren times though, they have made quite a bit of progress since Malaysia and only about 2 - 3 seconds off the pace of the Mercedes
 

Steve Bird

Come On Williams!
Premium
May 5, 2014
539
398
Williams's slightly lackluster performance is disappointing to say the least.
 

Brandon Wright

I may not be fast, but I'm wide!
Nov 14, 2014
4,421
1,861
Williams's slightly lackluster performance is disappointing to say the least.
Yeah, I really thought they were going to do well this season after such a strong showing last year. Hopefully they find their stride (and avoid more bad luck).
 

Qazdar Karim

1000RPM
Premium
Mar 1, 2013
1,332
746
31
I don't get how Rosberg is slower than Hamilton by almost a second. I mean they have both same cars. I don't think the difference of skills of both drivers should reach a gap of a second. Even though I'm a Hamilton fan, I feel like something's not right.
It's just practice c'mon ...
 

Darth

250RPM
Jun 4, 2013
367
89
Williams were relying heavily on their engine last year. Now that the others
have closed the gap a bit they are not doing so well. Or, it's just that since
Williams haven't improved their aero that much, they simply are a bit slow on
these slow tracks.