Lewis Hamilton set an impressive early pace in Practice One for the Chinese GP ahead of Mercedes’ bid to win their first race of the season this weekend.
The world champion, who trails Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel by 17 points after the season’s opening two rounds but has won in China a record five times, was the only driver to lap the vast Shanghai International Circuit in under one minute 34 seconds on a chilly and windy Friday morning.
Despite a later spin at Turn 11, Hamilton finished 0.359s ahead of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on ultrasofts with the other Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in third, but 0.458s adrift.
Only Mercedes set their quickest laps on the soft tyres. Red Bull, aiming to make up for the frustration of what they believe was a lost shot at victory in Bahrain last Sunday, were next up with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.