Bottas, Vettel lead Chinese GP practice sessions

Jolyon Palmer calls Vettel an amateur who panics in the heat of battle

Hamilton and championship-leading team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who was fifth, set their fastest laps on the grippier soft tyre with Vettel and Leclerc setting their best efforts on the less sticky but more durable medium compound rubber.

During the race, Leclerc ignored a team order to stay behind Vettel.

"I was just trying to follow the Ferrari in front of me and trying to be nice", said Verstappen.

The Chinese race will be the 1,000th F1 grand prix since the inaugural race was held at the United Kingdom's Silverstone Circuit in May of 1950.

Leclerc's team-mate Sebastian Vettel led the way in the first practice session before trailing Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas by just 0.027s in the second session. "This time it caught me out". Ferrari are hot on their heels though and Red Bull look to have their most promising set-up of the year behind them so we should be in for an action-packed couple of hours.

"Being the first to adopt the two-stop with Max allowed us to beat Charles Leclerc today", said Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner after the race.

As Britain's auto industry thrived during the latter 20 century added with the world's leading engineers, this was reflected on the grid as Tyrell, Lotus, Williams and McLaren took centre stage, to showpiece some of the most enthralling cars and title wins the sport has seen.




But here in Shanghai, the four-time world champion set the quickest time of the first running, finishing 0.207 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton with Leclerc third.

Leclerc dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend but his Ferrari SF90 lost a cylinder during the closing stages, which was eventually traced to a never-before-seen short circuit within an injection system control unit. Liberty is in the middle of negotiating a new, hard contract with its 10 teams that would go into effect with the 2021 season.

"It's absolutely no different to any other race weekend for me".

"It was disappointing as I was very close to my first grand prix victory in Formula 1, but on the other hand, to have an issue and to still finish third is something we should be happy about".

Binotto said Vettel's four years at Ferrari meant he would be prioritised "if there is any 50-50 situation where we need to take a decision".

Every season, it takes a right few races before you kind of get a gist of where it all is but I anticipate it's going to be back and forth between the two of us.

But a solid time in Shanghai is welcome news for Gasly, who after just three outings for Red Bull since his winter switch from Toro Rosso is already facing growing rumours that he could be dropped in favour of Alex Albon.

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