Shanghai - Valtteri
Bottas spun his Mercedes before upstaging team-mate Lewis Hamilton and
their Ferrari rivals to go fastest in practice on Friday for the Chinese
The Finn tops the early drivers' standings and he showed why with a
lap of 1:33.330, pipping Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by
just 0.027 ahead of Sunday's 1 000th race.
Third-fastest was Red Bull's Max Verstappen with Hamilton, the reigning world champion, a significant 0.707 off the pace.
Fifth was Nico Hulkenberg of Renault, followed by McLaren's Carlos Sainz.
Bottas and Hamilton both spun their cars early on in second practice
in almost identical fashion, but the only real harm done was to their
Bottas, 29, who leads Hamilton by a point in the standings thanks to
his bonus-point victory in Melbourne, recovered his poise quicker from
his acrobatics at Turn 1.
Charles Leclerc, Vettel's talented young Ferrari team-mate, has
failed so far to get to grips with the Shanghai circuit and clocked only
the seventh-best time.
So close to a maiden victory in Bahrain two weeks ago until his
Ferrari lost power, the 21-year-old's day finished early for checks on
his car's cooling system.
Four-time world champion Vettel, who went fastest in the morning
practice, again set the early pace in the second session before Bottas
stepped up his challenge.
Germany's Vettel, who is facing criticism after a series of errors
stretching back to last season, was unhappy after being held up by SportPesa
Racing Point's Sergio Perez.
"They race harder on Friday than they do on Sunday," Vettel thundered over his radio.
Going into the third race of the season, Verstappen is third in the
standings, behind the Mercedes pair, with Leclerc and Vettel fourth and
Verstappen's afternoon ended on a sour note, the young Dutchman complaining that "there's something's not right".
"It feels like the car is broken," he added.
Chinese Formula One Grand Prix free practice times in Shanghai on Friday:
1. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes 2. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari
1:33.357, 3. Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull 1:33.551, 4. Lewis Hamilton
(GBR) Mercedes 1:34.037, 5. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Renault 1:34.096, 6.
Carlos Sainz (ESP) McLaren 1:34.141, 7. Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari
1:34.158, 8. Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren 1:34.296, 9. Daniel Ricciardo
(AUS) Renault 1:34.336, 10. Pierre Gasly (FRA) Red Bull 1:34.455, 11.
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:34.551, 12. Alexander Albon
(THA) Toro Rosso 1:34.634, 13. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:34.694,
14. Lance Stroll (CAN) SportPesa Racing Point 1:34.779, 15. Sergio Perez (MEX)
SportPesa Racing Point 1:34.784, 16. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas 1:34.788, 17.
Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas 1:35.704, 18. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa
Romeo Racing 1:35.914, 19. Robert Kubica (POL) Williams 1:36.121, 20.
George Russell (GBR) Williams 1:36.229
1. Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari 1:33.911, 2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR)
Mercedes 1:34.118, 3. Charles Leclerc (MON) Ferrari 1:34.167, 4. Max
Verstappen (NED) Red Bull 1:34.334, 5. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes
1:34.653, 6. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Renault 1:35.239, 7. Pierre Gasly
(FRA) Red Bull 1:35.428, 8. Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Toro Rosso 1:35.447, 9.
Lance Stroll (CAN) SportPesa Racing Point 1:35.466, 10. Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas
1:35.507, 11. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Haas 1:35.517, 12. Nico Hulkenberg
(GER) Renault 1:35.591, 13. Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren 1:35.631, 14.
Alexander Albon (THA) Toro Rosso 1:35.695, 15. Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Alfa
Romeo Racing 1:35.729, 16. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) McLaren 1:35.756, 17.
Sergio Perez (MEX) SportPesa Racing Point 1:35.820, 18. Robert Kubica (POL)
Williams 1:36.847, 19. George Russell (GBR) Williams 1:37.619, 20.
Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari 0.000