Hamilton edges Raikkonen in practice

The 33-year-old driver poses for a selfie with a fan on Tuesday before heading inside

The 33-year-old driver poses for a selfie with a fan on Tuesday before heading inside

Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Max Verstappen in the buildup to the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend after their clash at the last round in Bahrain.

It wasn't just Hamilton and Raikkonen who were closely matched, with Valtteri Bottas in third only 0.033s off his teammate and Sebastian Vettel 0.108s adrift of the fastest time in fourth place as Ferrari again looked competitive after back-to-back wins for Vettel so far this season.

The Brit ended the 90-minute session at an overcast Shanghai International Circuit 0.359 seconds ahead of Raikkonen with Bottas almost half a second down on his team-mate.

A mere 0.108 seconds separated the top four in Friday's practice.

Despite the gap to Mercedes, Red Bull will be pleased with their impressive pace on the medium tyre in the first phase of the session where they were comfortably the quickest on this weekend's most durable compound. "Ferrari have got a very fast auto and there are millimetres between us".

Asked whether he felt the need to have a conversation with Hamilton, Verstappen replied: "I might have a talk with him if it's really necessary. A little bit of fine tuning on the short runs to get the balance better and we should be alright".


"We just managed to fit in a longer stint before the rain came towards the end of the second session", he said.

"Ferrari are still quite quick".

He also accused the Red Bull driver of lacking respect and went on to suggest Verstappen's inexperience was costing the former champions crucial points. "It is good in sport to see some emotion", he said. In addition to that, it has several technical sections with corner complexes where unique corners, such as T1 and T13, lead straight into further corners requiring a good vehicle balance and precise driving. "The vehicle, even though it was quick, it wasn't easy to drive at all", the Finn said.

"I think it's important, if you want to fight for the championship, to score a lot of points in every race - the more, the better - but, at this point, it's nonsense to even be thinking of where you might be. Hopefully [we can make] another step for tomorrow".

Romain Grosjean and Lance Stroll propped up the timesheet after having spun during their qualifying simulation attempts - Stroll lost control at the high-speed right-hander of Turn 8, while Grosjean lost the rear at Turn 11. The session will be broadcast live on Star Sports Select 2 HD.

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