Chinese GP: Vettel beats Hamilton to lead Practice 1

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Sebastian Vettel sent an early warning to his rivals by setting the quickest time in Practice 1 at the Chinese Grand Prix.

In a session where Ferrari used the medium C3 compared to the Mercedes on soft C4 throughout, the pace of the Prancing Horse was still superior as the German posted a 1m33.911s.

That gave Vettel a 0.2s advantage over Lewis Hamilton in second with teammate Charles Leclerc a further half a tenth back in third for the Italian team.

Also in the mix are Red Bull as Max Verstappen would be the fastest man through the first two sectors using the C4 tyre. But the RB15 would lose half a second compared to the Ferrari on the back straight, dropping the Dutchman to fourth.

Valtteri Bottas would be half a second down on his Mercedes teammate in fifth with Daniel Ricciardo showing promise in sixth for Renault, two-tenths clear of Pierre Gasly in the second Red Bull.

Four different midfield teams would feature in the top 10 with Daniil Kvyat eighth for Toro Rosso, just ahead of Lance Stroll, who recovered from a spin at the final corner early on to take ninth.

More impressively both those drivers would be on the medium tyre compared to Romain Grosjean on the soft in P10 for Haas.

The gaps remain incredibly tight though with less than 0.7s covering Ricciardo in P5 to Sergio Perez in 17th.

Notables outside the top 10 include Lando Norris only 13th in the McLaren, which is a few places down on where the Briton has typically featured this season.

Teammate Carlos Sainz had warned the Shanghai layout may not suit the British team as well as Bahrain, and the Spaniard being down in 16th also backs up that theory.

Also struggling was Alfa Romeo with Kimi Raikkonen 15th and Antonio Giovinazzi completing just two installation laps as an apparent engine issue left the Italian stranded in the garage.

Williams' wild performance swings also continue with Robert Kubica a second down on the rest of the field in 18th but 0.8s clear of teammate George Russell.

Full results from a routine start to the 1000th Grand Prix weekend can be seen below: