F1: Felipe Massa delivers 'incredible' pace during practice for Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari driver out paces team-mate Fernando Alonso

Felipe Massa delivered “incredible” pace to tee himself up for a first over Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.

At no time throughout Alonso's 200-race Formula One career has the double world champion been out-qualified by a team-mate for five successive races.

But Massa, who just under a year ago appeared to be on his way out of F1 after a miserable start to last season, has every chance of doing just that to Alonso tomorrow.

Massa, whose form skyrocketed after last season's August break, beat Alonso over one lap in the final two races of last season, repeating the feat for the opening two grands prix of this campaign.

In second practice ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, an in-form Massa emerged quickest at the Shanghai International Circuit to beat Alonso into third place on the timesheet by 0.415secs.

Massa set a best time of one minute 35.340secs, and during a long run late in the second 90-minute session was told by engineer Rob Smedley his pace was "not just very good, but incredible".

Come the conclusion, the Ferrari duo sandwiched Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen in second, the Finn finishing 0.152secs adrift of Brazilian Massa.

As for Mercedes, who were one-two at the end of FP1 with Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton, the duo had to settle for fourth and seventh in FP2.

Both remarked of high degradation with the soft Pirelli tyres - a trend across most cars - leaving Rosberg, who gave Mercedes their only win in three years here last season, nearly half a second down on Massa.

As for Hamilton, who complained bitterly at one point about his tyres falling away, the 27-year-old Briton finished 1.156secs adrift.

Splitting the Mercedes pairing were Mark Webber in his Red Bull, with the Australian three quarters of a second off the pace, and McLaren's Jenson Button who was a second down.

The Woking-based marque have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks to rectify the faults on a car that started abysmally off the pace in Australia, and to a lesser extent in Malaysia.

Sporting a new exhaust and sidepods, along with many other bits of bodywork, McLaren appear to be closing the gap on their rivals.

For team-mate Sergio Perez, though, both sessions were ones to forget as he ended FP1 by breaking the front wing with a run across the gravel at the entrance to the pit lane.

Whilst just 15 minutes into FP2 he spun his car, again through a gravel trap, before damaging the rear wing against a tyre wall.

The Mexican eventually finished 11th quickest, just behind Red Bull's three-times world champion Sebastian Vettel who had Force India duo Adrian Sutil and Paul Di Resta ahead of him in eighth and ninth.

Di Resta finished 1.255secs behind Massa, and only 0.081secs behind Sutil as the Silverstone-based marque again appear strong.

Sadly for Marussia's Max Chilton, the young Briton suffered an oil pressure problem that twice ground him to a halt out on track.

Chilton had only completed four laps when the issue first appeared, and although the team retrieved the car and got him back out, he was quickly told to pull over again with a repeat of the concern.

PA

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
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy