Shanghai – Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton Friday topped the timesheets in the first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver completed the fastest round of the 5.451-kilometre Shanghai circuit in 1:37.334 minutes, 0.116 seconds ahead of GP Brawn driver Jenson Button.
Button’s Brazilian teammate Rubens Barrichello came third, followed by McLaren’s Heikki Kovaleinen, indicating a closing gap between the two teams.
Earlier this week a Formula One court ruled diffusers improving downforce used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams legal, McLaren and other teams now may have to catch up to emulate the technology.
Hamilton’s performance was also good news for McLaren, as the world champion’s team was disqualified after the Australian GP for misleading race stewards.
Marc Webber in Red Bull came in fifth, followed by Toyota driver Jarno Trulli and Nico Rosberg in Williams.
Ferrari pilot Kimi Raikkonen was only 11th, his teammate Felipe Massa made 15th position. (dpa)