SHANGHAI (AP) — Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both practice sessions on Friday for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Englishman has won five times in China – including last year – and will be looking for his first victory of the season on Sunday. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain.
Hamilton of Mercedes clocked 1 minute, 33.999 seconds in the morning on the 5.451-kilometer circuit. In the afternoon he was slightly quicker with a time of 1:33.482.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen was the second quickest in both sessions, and in the afternoon he was only 0.007 behind Hamilton. Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third in both sessions.
Vettel was sixth in the first session, but moved up to fourth in the second.
Hamilton has dominated in a decade of racing in China. In addition to five victories, he’s taken pole six times in 11 attempts.
A light rain coated the track in the final minutes of the second session. The first session was dry despite the threat of rain on a chilly, windy day.
Rain is forecast for Saturday qualifying, with race day expected to be dry.
The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.
IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.
This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.
INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists
IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.
“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.
“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”
It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.