SHANGHAI, China – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was fastest in Friday’s opening practice for the 2019 Chinese Formula 1 GP.
His best time was 1min33.911, which was 0.207sec faster than Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and third Charles Leclerc (denied a maiden win by engine trouble 10 laps from the end at the previous event in Bahrain) was third-fastest at 0.256sec slower than Vettel.
For the serious fans, Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas (fifth-fastest) were on soft rubber, Vettel and Le Clerc set their times on the medium compound.
Max Verstappen was fourth-quickest for Honda; Daniel Ricciardo as sixth for Renault and Lance Stroll was ninth ahead of Romain Grosjean and the latter’s team mate Kevin Magnussen.
Hamilton will start in Shanghai one point behind team-mate Bottas though they finished 1-2 in both previous races.