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.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?