F1 Chinese GP: Lewis Hamilton tops practice despite concerns with the set-up of his Mercedes

Hamilton was limited to just nine laps in the first session but set the fastest time of the day in the second despite revealing 'something's not right with this car' late on in the day

Lewis Hamilton is steeling himself for more of a fight from his title rivals this weekend as he bids to win three grands prix in a row for the first time in his Formula One career.

Although Hamilton was left grumbling about his Mercedes towards the end of the second practice session for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, the 29-year-old still managed to again outpace the rest.

"Something's not right with this car," moaned Hamilton late in the second 90-minute run at a chilly Shanghai International Circuit where temperatures only managed to reach 16 degrees centigrade.

That followed a mechanical problem with the rear suspension that restricted Hamilton running in the first session.

Yet despite the niggles, Hamilton topped the timesheet for the third time in the four Friday outings this season, finishing with a lap of one minute 38.315 seconds, with Fernando Alonso 0.141secs adrift in a Ferrari seemingly more competitive in the cooler conditions.


After winning the last two races in Malaysia and Bahrain, Hamilton is far from convinced he and team-mate Nico Rosberg will have it all their own way again this weekend as they have done so far.

"It was quite a difficult day as we missed some of Friday morning's session which put us on the back foot slightly," said Hamilton.

"But we were glad to get some laps in the second session at least, although we're not too happy with the balance of the car at the moment so we need to work on that.

"A few of the other teams look to have improved in terms of pace, which is great as it means we will have a fight.

"There's a lot of work to do, but I'm confident that we can make some improvements going into (qualifying on Saturday)."

With new Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci in town on the first day of his new job, Alonso chose the perfect opportunity to prove the Prancing Horse is alive and kicking this season.

Stefano Domenicali resigned from his post on Monday to be replaced by Mattiacci after a disappointing start to the current campaign and after six seasons with only one trophy to his name.

With Mattiacci in the paddock, wearing sunglasses throughout despite the leaden skies over the track - apparently due to tiredness - Alonso was quickest in FP1 and in close attendance in FP2.

Championship leader Rosberg, 11 points clear of Hamilton, was four-tenths of a second adrift, followed closely by Daniel Ricciardo in his Red Bull.

The Australian, eager to put behind him the team's failed appeal this week against his disqualification from the season-opening race in Australia, was 0.496secs down.

Notably, Ricciardo was again ahead of reigning four-time champion team-mate Sebastian Vettel who was exactly seven-tenths of a second down.

Williams' Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari were sixth and seventh-quickest, both inside a second of Hamilton.

The Finn, who had been consigned to the garage for all but one installation lap in FP1 due to a technical problem, at least managed 25 laps in FP2.

McLaren's Jenson Button, the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat completed the top 10, all just over a second down on Hamilton.

There was embarrassment for the second Lotus driven by Pastor Maldonado, however, as he crashed on the entry lane into the pits.

It is an area that has occasionally caught out some, most notably in 2007 when Hamilton slid off and beached his car in the gravel when he had that year's world title in his grasp.

Venezuelan Maldonado was simply returning to the pits, but with too much speed as he ran across the gravel and into the tyre wall.

Marussia's Max Chilton, who has so far finished all 22 of the grands prix in which he has competed, was down in 20th, with both Caterhams behind him.


Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific