Lewis Hamilton topped the unofficial timesheets in both of today’s practice sessions ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, keeping title rival Felipe Massa and double race-winner Fernando Alonso behind him.
In the first session, during which the track was fastest, Hamilton laid down a lap of 1:35.630 with title rival Massa close behind him on 1:36.020.
In third place was Massa’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, little more than three hundredths of a second behind him, while Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren was fourth.
In fifth was Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber while Renault’s Fernando Alonso, fresh from his Fuji victory came sixth during a dry morning.
Jenson Button secured 12th place in a crowded midfield with a time of 1:37.619, more than two tenths of a second ahead of Honda team-mate Rubens Barrichello. The two would, however, perform much worse in the second session.
David Coulthard came 14th for Red Bull with a time of 1:37.638, less than two-tenths of a second behind team-mate Mark Webber in 11th.
In the afternoon session Hamilton again drove fastest, albeit around a tenth of a second slower than his best performance from his morning at the office.
Behind him, heading off challenges from both Ferrari drivers and from Heikki Kovalainen’s McLaren were the Renault duo of Fernando Alonso and Nelson A Piquet. Neither could follow Hamilton through the 1:36 barrier, but their performance should certainly make for an entertaining qualifying session tomorrow.
Fourth was Jarno Trulli for Toyota, roaring back from a horrible performance in the morning session that saw him move up from his previous 18th place.
Mark Webber and Felipe Massa were next with Kimi Raikkonen a subdued eighth and Heikki Kovalainen 13th with David Coulthard fractionally behind him.
However, perhaps the biggest shock of the afternoon was the performance put in by the two Hondas. Button and Barrichello, as they have been threatening to do all season, finally fell behind the Force Indias.
Meanwhile Sebastien Bourdais, who is still waiting for his prospective 2009 drive with Toro Rosso to be confirmed, outperformed team-mate Sebastian Vettel in both sessions.
Practice two times:
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:35.750 (33 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:36.024 (36 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:36.094 (38 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:36.159 (32 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:36.375 (38 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.480 (31 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:36.529 (32 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:36.542 (34 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:36.553 (38 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:36.556 (33 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:36.615 (33 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:36.775 (37 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:36.797 (33 laps)
- David Coulthard, Red Bull: 1:36.808 (36 laps
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:36.925 (38 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:36.975 (31 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:37.473 (38 laps
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:37.617 (33 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda: 1:37.800 0.183 2.050
- Rubens Barrichello, Honda: 1:37.904 (36 laps)
Practice one times:
- Lewis Hamilton, McLaren: 1:35.630 (23 laps)
- Felipe Massa, Ferrari: 1:36.020 (24 laps)
- Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari: 1:36.052 (23 laps)
- Heikki Kovalainen, McLaren: 1:36.103 (21 laps)
- Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber: 1:36.507 (25 laps)
- Fernando Alonso, Renault: 1:36.661 (25 laps)
- Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber: 1:37.040 (23 laps)
- Sebastien Bourdais, Toro Rosso: 1:37.070 (32 laps)
- Nelson A Piquet, Renault: 1:37.180 (30 laps)
- Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso: 1:37.278 (25 laps)
- Mark Webber, Red Bull: 1:37.491 (26 laps)
- Jenson Button, Honda: 1:37.619 (25 laps)
- Kazuki Nakajima, Williams: 1:37.630 (23 laps)
- David Coulthard, Red Bull-: 1:37.638 (22 laps)
- Nico Rosberg, Williams: 1:37.638 (26 laps)
- Timo Glock, Toyota: 1:37.664 (29 laps)
- Rubens Barrichello, Honda: 1:37.827 (28 laps)
- Jarno Trulli, Toyota: 1:38.219 (24 laps)
- Adrian Sutil, Force India: 1:38.285 (25 laps)
- Giancarlo Fisichella, Force India: 1:38.479 (26 laps)