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China GP: Practice notes - Bridgestone

NEWS STORY
17/10/2008

Lewis Hamilton set the marker on the opening day of running for the Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix by using Bridgestone's hard compound Potenza tyre to set Friday's fastest lap time at the 5.45km Shanghai International Circuit for the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Hamilton set his time – a 1min 35.630secs – in the morning 90 minute practice session. Felipe Massa (Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro) was second fastest with a time almost four tenths slower than Hamilton's. Raikkonen was third fastest.

In the afternoon Hamilton was also fastest, with a time of 1min 35.750secs, also set on the hard compound. He was over two tenths faster than the next driver, Fernando Alonso (ING Renault F1 Team), who used the medium tyre for his best time. Alonso's team-mate, Nelson Piquet, went third fastest in this session.

Lap times were quick today at Shanghai. In the morning practice session the fastest lap time was almost 1.4 seconds faster than the Friday morning fastest from 2007, whilst Hamilton's afternoon time was over eight tenths faster than the fastest Friday time last year, a 1min 36.607secs, set by Raikkonen on the medium compound in the afternoon session.

Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development: Today the circuit provided reasonable grip and the GP2 Asia Series test which took place here last week has meant the circuit is cleaner than we would usually see on a Friday, with more rubber on the surface. The hard compound gave nice consistency today, however some drivers felt there was a lack of grip. We do not know why they feel like this as the lap times are much quicker than last year's. With the medium compound particularly there was a general tendency to increasing understeer, however teams will now have sufficient data to make changes to set-up for tomorrow's sessions. The graining we usually see here was better than expected on the first day.

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