Practice One - McLaren come alive in China 17 Apr 2009
McLaren put their recent troubles behind them on Friday morning, as Lewis Hamilton topped the times in opening practice for the Chinese Grand Prix. Team mate Heikki Kovalainen was fourth fastest, with the two silver cars separated by the Brawns of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.
Hamilton lapped the Shanghai International Circuit in 1m 37.334s - 0.116s clear of championship leader Buttons 1m 37.450s best - driving a McLaren MP4-24 equipped with an interim diffuser in the wake of the FIA Court of Appeal rulings in Brawns favour in the middle of the week.
Rubens Barrichello backed Button with 1m 37.566s to Kovalainens 1m 37.672s, and this quartet was chased by Red Bulls Mark Webber (1m 37.752s), Toyotas Jarno Trulli (1m 37.764s), Williams Nico Rosberg (1m 37.860s), Toyotas Timo Glock (1m 37.894s), Renaults Fernando Alonso (1m 38.089s) and Toro Rossos Sebastien Bourdais (1m 38.195s).
As the track temperature climbed from 27 degrees Celsius to 33 over the course of the 90 minutes, several drivers slid off track or spun: Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa in the Ferraris, Glock, twice, Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber, Alonso and Nelson Piquet in the Renaults, and Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima in the Williams. Nobody sustained any damage.
Raikkonen ended up 11th on 1m 38.223s, Massa 15th on 1m 38.418s. Neither F60 used KERS.
Sebastian Vettel (1m 38.274s) was 12th in his Red Bull ahead of Sebastien Buemis Toro Rosso (1m 38.307) and Adrian Sutils Force India (1m 38.319s), then behind Massa came Heidfeld in 1m 38.456s and team mate Robert Kubica on 1m 38.463s, the BMW Sauber duo sandwiching Giancarlo Fisichella who recorded 1m 38.460s for Force India. Both BMWs ran KERS.
At the back, Nakajima lapped his FW31 in 1m 38.730s ahead of Piquets Renault on 1m 38.825s.