Hamilton fastest again in Chinese GP second practice

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Lewis Hamilton has doubled up ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix by finishing as the fastest driver in the second free practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit on Friday afternoon.

The Mercedes driver posted a fastest lap time of 1:37.219 on the soft tire to finish four-tenths of a second clear of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo at the top of the timesheets in FP2.

Hamilton enjoyed a trouble-free session, and although he struggled for grip at points, the three-time winner of the Chinese Grand Prix heads into the rest of the race weekend with plenty of momentum.

The same cannot be said of his teammate, Nico Rosberg, though. The German driver finished down in fifth place after making a mistake on his quickest lap, leaving him 1.1 seconds down on Hamilton in the final standings.

FP2 was something of a truncated session as a number of drivers had problems or issues to contend with. Sebastian Vettel’s day nearly came to an early end when he spun on his first flying lap of FP2, but the German driver kept his car out of the wall. He eventually finished the day in fourth place.

Williams’ Felipe Massa was less fortunate. The Brazilian driver lost control at turn 14 and hit the wall, damaging his front wing and warranting a red flag. Daniil Kvyat’s day also came to an early end thanks to a brake failure at the end of the back straight, but his car was recovered under local yellow flags.

In spite of the issue, Kvyat managed to finish sixth for Red Bull, capping off a good day in terms of pace for the former world champions. Valtteri Bottas ended as the lead Williams in P7 ahead of Felipe Nasr and Romain Grosjean, whilst Jenson Button gave McLaren a faint hope of points by finishing tenth.

The advantage firmly lies with Mercedes once again across one lap, but Ferrari’s long-run pace suggests that the Silver Arrows may not have it all their own way on race day. Hamilton remains the man to beat for now, but Rosberg, Raikkonen and Vettel will all head into tomorrow’s qualifying session with a point to prove.

You can join us for the third and final practice session at 12a ET on NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday ahead of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix live on NBCSN at 3a ET.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.