Prac One: Hamilton blitzes the competition

Friday 13-April-2012 04:40

Lewis Hamilton proved he has the pace to fight for pole position in China were it not for his pending grid penalty.

The McLaren driver set the pace in Friday's first practice at a damp Shanghai circuit, easily over a second ahead of the chasing pack.

It was a slow start to the session with many drivers opting for two or even three installation laps without setting a time.

Webber was one of the first to cross the line, posting a 1:39.558 around the 5.451 km long Shanghai circuit while Romain Grosjean took second, 1.646s off the pace.

Minutes later, though, they were in the pits along with their 22 rivals as drizzle and fog sent the drivers heading for dry ground.

"Cold" and "frustrating" were the words used by McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh to describe the situation.

But, a few minutes later, several drivers were back out despite the track conditions being far from ideal.

This was highlighted when Timo Glock's engineer asking him if he "needs a change of underwear" after an entertaining lap out - and almost off the track.

That, though, didn't stop others from heading out although times were eight to 12 seconds off Webber's dry lap pace.

But as the conditions improved so too did the lap times with the final five minutes seeing a furor as drivers made the most of the best track conditions.

Michael Schumacher went quickest only to be overhauled by Webber who in turn lost out to Hamilton. The McLaren driver was 0.831s on the chasing pack.

Nico Rosberg then took the P1 slot but he too lost out to Hamilton. The Brit ending the session with a 1:37.106, which put him 1.010s up Rosberg. Schumacher was third.

01 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:37.106 7 laps
02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.116 1.010 14 laps
03 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1:38.316 1.210 14 laps
04 Sergio Perez Sauber 1:38.584 1.478 13 laps
05 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:38.911 1.805 12 laps
06 Mark Webber Red Bull 1:38.977 1.871 15 laps
07 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:39.198 2.092 12 laps
08 Jenson Button McLaren 1:39.199 2.093 6 laps
09 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:39.748 2.642 16 laps
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:39.768 2.662 14 laps
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.056 2.950 14 laps
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:40.153 3.047 14 laps
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:40.298 3.192 8 laps
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:40.328 3.222 13 laps
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1:40.540 3.434 12 laps
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 1:41.071 3.965 14 laps
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.204 4.098 14 laps
18 Timo Glock Marussia 1:42.330 5.224 14 laps
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1:42.521 5.415 11 laps
20 Jules Bianchi Force India 1:44.118 7.012 8 laps
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 1:44.227 7.121 10 laps
22 Charles Pic Marussia 1:44.500 7.394 15 laps
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1:47.204 10.098 12 laps
24 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1:50.465

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