F1 2018 Friday Practice: Hamilton quickest but gap between top teams tighter than ever in China
The third race of the season looks set to be another thriller as the top teams show similar pace in practice. Neil Morris describes what unfolded in Shanghai.
(Photo credit: Alberto Gonzalez Rovira)
Free Practice One got underway in windy conditions in Shanghai. And with the threat of rain on the way, the teams were keen to get out on the track. Williams’ were first to post a time, but it wasn’t until the half hour mark we saw the first benchmark set by Mercedes.
The rain arrived, but it was only a light drizzle; however, the wind was causing stability problems for the drivers, with Verstappen, Hamilton and Vandoorne all leaving the track at various points.
Despite the weather, every team got a good amount of laps under their belt and it was Hamilton who came out on top. His three-tenths’ gap over Raikkonen notable for being achieved on the harder compound tyre – the Finn opting for the ultrasofts. Bottas was next, four-tenths back, just ahead of the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, also on the ultrasofts.
Kevin Magnussen brought his Haas home in seventh while teammate Romain Grosjean had to settle for ninth place. The Renaults also ignored the ultrasoft option, with Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg finishing eighth and tenth, respectively.