Shanghai : Lewis Hamilton put Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in his place before the Chinese Grand Prix by dominating Friday’s free practice for Mercedes, as a track invader gave organisers a major fright.
World champion Hamilton, who has won three times in Shanghai including last year, topped the timesheets, clocking a fastest lap of one minute, 37.219 seconds in the afternoon after also flexing his muscles in the morning session.
There was a heart-stopping security scare in the afternoon when a man scaled a fence, ran across the tarmac between the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson and Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and climbed over the pit wall, before being tackled by officials.
The fan made his way to the Ferrari pit and reportedly shouted “I’ve got a ticket, I want a car!” before being nabbed by stewards and handed over to the police.
Vettel stunned Mercedes pair Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to win in Malaysia two weeks ago but normal service looked to have been resumed in far cooler conditions in China, at least in the early going.
Rosberg was second quickest in the morning but Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen produced a lap of 1.37.662 to finish second in an afternoon run briefly halted by red flags after Felipe Massa’s Williams skidded into a wall. —PTI