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Chinese Grand Prix: Kimi Raikkonen heads Ferrari 1-2 on opening day of practice

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Chinese Grand Prix: Kimi Raikkonen heads Ferrari 1-2 on opening day of practice
Apr 15, 2016, 9:20 AM

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went fastest on the first day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel on a day when Fer...

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen went fastest on the first day of practice for the Chinese Grand Prix ahead of team mate Sebastian Vettel on a day when Fernando Alonso was cleared by doctors to race for the rest of the weekend and F1 witnessed a curious trio of punctures in the morning session.

Raikkonen did a lap of 1m36.896s, under the benchmark time from the same session in 2015, edging out Vettel by 0.109s and the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg by 0.237s. Pole in 2015 was 1m35.782s, so the leading cars should be well under that.

Both Raikkonen and Vettel set the time on supersoft tyres, which is expected to be the main qualifying tyre on Saturday, when F1 reverts to the 2015 format, preparing them with a very slow out lap. They appear to last up to ten laps in race conditions, while the used supersofts in the opening stint of the race should last around 6/7 laps, based on the long runs in practice.

Rosberg was quickest early on in FP2 but he ended up third, just over 0.2s adrift of Raikkonen.

Hamilton finished fourth fastest and suffered a series of lock-ups late in the session as the teams switched focus to longer running. The world champion will also received a five-place grid penalty for the race as he is using a new gearbox this weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo was fifth for Red Bull, just ahead of Max Verstappen and Nico Hulkenberg.

Carlos Sainz was eighth in the second Toro Rosso, with Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas rounding out the top ten for Force India and Williams.

Alonso and Jenson Button were 11th and 12th for McLaren, just ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Felipe Massa. Jolyon Palmer was 15th for Renault, with Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean 16th and Pascal Werhlein 17th for Manor.

Marcus Ericsson was the top Sauber driver in 18th, just in front of Rio Haryanto and Felipe Nasr.

Esteban Gutierrez was last of the runners who set a time, but the Haas F1 driver only completed four laps after a rear brake fire confined him to the garage for most of the session.

Kevin Magnussen did not appear at all during FP2 after his car sustained damage during the tyre dramas of FP1 and Renault conducted a full investigation to discover the cause.

Renault F1

There was drama in the first practice session when Williams (twice) and Renault suffered left rear tyre problems. The session was stopped for 30 minutes for a detailed track inspection. Pirelli said that none of the problems were caused by the tyres. It appears that the Williams issues on Massa's car were caused by the car, while Magnussen is thought to have run over debris.

The F1 team bosses met in the lunch break and tyres were on the agenda, with the subject of how much F1 tyre testing should be done on the 2017 tyres during this season.

Nico Rosberg

Meanwhile Rosberg, who is looking for his sixth consecutive victory on the track where he scored his first, had gone fastest in FP1, but ended the session running back to the pits on crawl home mode after a suspected ignition problem on his engine. Fernando Alonso was cleared to race after a medical inspection following FP1. Rosberg has an advantage over team mate Lewis Hamilton this weekend, after Hamilton's gearbox casing was four to have a small fracture and he was forced to take a new one. This means he will start five places on the grid behind his qualifying position.

Nico Hulkenberg F1

FP2 Results

1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m36.896s 35 laps

2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m37.005s +0.109s 33 laps

3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m37.133s +0.237s 33 laps

4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m37.329s +0.433s 33 laps

5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m38.143s +1.247s 31 laps

6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1m38.268s +1.372s 28 laps

7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m38.527s +1.631s 31 laps

8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m38.542s +1.646s 32 laps

9 Sergio Perez Force India 1m38.569s +1.673s 31 laps

10 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m38.723s +1.827s 34 laps

11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m38.728s +1.832s 31 laps

12 Jenson Button McLaren 1m38.828s +1.932s 28 laps

13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1m39.178s +2.282s 31 laps

14 Felipe Massa Williams 1m39.214s +2.318s 34 laps

15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m39.774s +2.878s 32 laps

16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1m39.890s +2.994s 22 laps

17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1m39.941s +3.045s 36 laps

18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m39.979s +3.083s 35 laps

19 Rio Haryanto Manor 1m40.550s +3.654s 33 laps

20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1m41.066s +4.170s 32 laps

21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1m42.954s +6.058s 4 laps

22 Kevin Magnussen Renault No time set
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