Hamilton bests Massa in first Chinese Grand Prix practice
Lewis Hamilton, the leader in the Formula One world championship race, turned in the fastest time Friday in the first practice run ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing well ahead of his closest rival, Felipe Massa, reports dpa.
The fastest of 23 laps in Shanghai by the British McLaren-Mercedes driver was 1 minute, 35.63 seconds.
In second was the man directly trailing him in the world championship standings, Massa of Brazil, who finished 0.39 seconds behind Hamilton in his Ferrari.
Defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen - who was already too far behind in this year's rankings to remain in contention with two races left in the season - finished third on the 5.45-kilometre Shanghai International Circuit.
The Finn and Ferrari pilot ran 0.42 seconds behind Hamilton while Hamilton's team member Heikki Kovalainen, also from Finland, was 0.47 seconds behind the leader.
Hamilton sits atop the world championship rankings ahead of Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix and the November 2 Brazilian Grand Prix with 84 points, five more than Massa.
The only other driver with a chance at the title is Pole Robert Kubica, who is in third place with 72 points.
The BMW-Sauber driver finished fifth in Friday's first practice run behind fourth-placed Fernando Alonso, the two-time former world champion.
A second practice run is to be held Friday afternoon and a third Saturday morning before qualifying rounds on Saturday afternoon.