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Vodafone McLaren Mercedes leads second free practice of Chinese Grand Prix

The 2008 Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton scored today (16.4.2010) the fastest time (1:35.217) in the second round of the free practice held on the Shanghai circuit. It was a continuation of what happened in the first round of the free practice, when 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button topped the time sheets driving his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes around the track in 1:36.77.

After the two free practice sessions where over Lewis Hamilton (P1 - 1:36.775, 3rd; P2 - 1:35.217, 1st) said “we may have topped the timesheets in each session, but I don’t necessarily think today’s times make us the favourites for this race. The car does feel good, but our pace looks pretty similar to some of the other cars on long runs. Everyone talks about us having a straight-line advantage, but that’s not true - other cars have the same speed as us at the end of the straight. We’re a little bit quicker than some teams, but, equally, they’re able to run more downforce. It’s about getting a good balance - and we feel we’ve got that. We’re continuing with the good feeling we felt in Malaysia, but we’ve made some further subtle changes and they were encouraging. I come out of today with a positive feeling - we’ll now keep our heads down and concentrate on gaining a strong qualifying position tomorrow.�

Jenson Button (P1 - 1:36.677, 1st; P2 - 1:35.593, 3rd) on the other hand said "Today’s been good. This afternoon was a little frustrating: on my new-tyre run I ran into traffic - which you seem to get in every session - but the actual work we’ve done, and the direction we’ve taken, has been positive. There are a few more things we need to do, but we’re almost getting the maximum out of the car - especially on the long runs. We’re moving in the right direction. There are a few things we can still tweak over the course of this evening, but I think we’ve come here with a pretty good car from lap one. Of course, some of the teams haven’t shown their hand yet, but you can tell from the long-run times that they’re competitive. Maybe we’re not on their pace yet, but we’ve got tonight to make further improvements to the car.�

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal added “A successful day for Jenson and Lewis - they were both happy with the balance and performance of their cars. We’re aware that some of the other teams have yet to show their true pace, but we’re confident that we’ll be able to maintain the positive progress we’ve been making over the past few races. Our aim for this weekend is further to improve our performance in qualifying and also to enjoy a trouble-free race in order to pick up the maximum possible points - in that respect, we feel we’ve got off to a perfect start.�

Nico Rosberg on Mercedes GP separated the MP4-25 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes duo in the second run with 1m 35.465s.

Seven times Formula 1 world champion Michael Schumacher, who holds the lap record of the Shanghai since 2004, placed the second Mercedes GP with 1m 35.602s on forth place of the time sheets, with the two Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber following with respective times of 1m 35.791s and 1m 35.995s.

Adrian Sutil on Force India was again quick scoring the seventh fastest time of 1m 36.254s, while Toro Rosso ran only Jaime Alguersuari while Sebastien Buemi’s STR5 was repaired after his horrifying crash during the morning session. This crash, who kept spectators breathless, was traced back to a failure of the right front upright, its counterpart immediately failing too, as all the weight was transferred from one side to the other.

Jamie Alguersuari scored a respectable eighth fastest time of 1m 36.377s, ahead of Robert Kubica on Renault on 1m 36.389s and in front of the two Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on 1m 36.604s and 1m 36.944s respectively. Vitaly Petrov was 12th in the second Renault on 1m 36.986s.

Pedro de la Rosa “outpaced� BMW Sauber team mate Kamui Kobayash here with 1m 37.421s to 1m 37.431s, with Williams' Rubens Barrichello taking 15th on 1m 37.657s ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi in the second Force India on 1m 37.804s and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg on 1m 37.867s.

After Karun Chandhok had enjoyed the privilege of placing HRT as the fastest of the newcomer teams, Jarno Trulli pipped him for Lotus with 1m 39.624s ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen on 1m 39.947s. The Finn caused one of the rare moments of suspense, when he left the track to the end of the session with mechanical problems.

In the end the two Virgins were separated by Chandhok, Timo Glock lapping his VR-01 in 1m 40.233s to the Indian’s 1m 41.008s and Lucas di Grassi’s 1m 41.107s. Bruno Senna was 23rd on 1m 41.345s, and Buemi did not run as his car was still under repair.

The complete result of the qualifying (17.4.2010) will be published shortly here on


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