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As it happened: Friday Practice
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
01:30 Hello and welcome to Live, for the penultimate round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship - the Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Today on Live we will be bring you text commentary and updates from the Friday practice sessions. The schedule (GMT) looks like this:

01:30 - 02:00 Setting the scene to ease you into the Formula One weekend.
02:00 - 03:30 Live commentary and updates from the first practice session.
03:30 - 06:00 Continuing track and weather updates and any breaking news from the circuit during the interval.
06:00 - 07:30 Live commentary and updates from the second practice session of the day.
07:30 - 08:00 End of day reaction and round-up, where we go from here, and what to look out for on Saturday.
08:00 Live commentary ends for today.

01:32 Share your views on the race weekend as it happens ...

Will Ferrari or McLaren get the early advantage on the first day of running? Robert Kubica needs to produce the performance of his career this weekend. Will the BMW Sauber enable him to hold a candle to the top two teams? Can Nelson Piquet and Fernando Alonso continue their rich vein of form in the much-improved Renault R28?

If you are an forum member, you can do this by clicking the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of the page. Join the lively debate and share your hopes and fears for the race weekend while the action takes place on track.

01:35 Dry and mainly sunny conditions await the teams and drivers on this first day of competition in Shanghai, with the maximum temperature just nudging 26 degrees Celsius later this afternoon.

During the afternoon session, some patches of cloud are likely to build, but conditions are expected to remain bright.

Track temperatures will rise in the prolonged sunny periods. The Shanghai surface usually reflects the heat from the sun away quite well, resulting in track temps typically under the 40 degree mark - even on sunny days.

Shanghai01:40 Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers' championship by five points as the series reaches its penultimate stop at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Hamilton also led the championship arriving at this round in 2007, with an exceptional wet-weather drive in Fuji giving him a 12-point margin over then teammate Fernando Alonso. Disaster struck in the race when Lewis slid his McLaren into the pit lane gravel trap on severely worn tyres, having led comfortably in the wet opening stages. This year he will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing Fuji performance to have a stronger weekend in Shanghai.

There is a chance of Hamilton securing the crown on Sunday. He must score six points more than Felipe Massa and prevent Kubica closing the gap by more than two points to avoid a decisive final round in Brazil.

Massa trimmed Hamilton's lead by two points after a dramatic race for the pair in Japan. Ferrari are expected to perform well in Shanghai and the Brazilian has a very good chance of travelling to his home country for a title showdown at the end of the month.

Robert Kubica is the third and final championship contender and the Pole closed to 12 points behind Hamilton after a determined drive at Fuji. He must take more points out of Hamilton on Sunday to remain in the fight, but the ever-consistent BMW driver will certainly give it his best shot.

Kimi Raikkonen is now out of contention to defend his championship, but Kubica can take heart from the Finn's incredible comeback from a 17 point deficit at this stage last year, although he did win the final two races to help secure the title.

The drama in Fuji saw Ferrari re-take the lead in the constructors' race with a six point advantage over McLaren. BMW remain in a strong third and still have a chance of the title if the top two teams continue to drop points as they battle aggressively.

Renault's recent upsurge in pace - and Alonso's impressive pair of race wins - sees the team well clear of rivals Toyota in the battle for fourth. The closest battle in the mid-field is now Red Bull vs Williams for seventh, with Toro Rosso now edging away from the pair in an impressive sixth.

Nico Rosberg gets ready for action01:45 AT&T Williams arrive in Shanghai this week embroiled in a battle with Red Bull Renault and Scuderia Toro Rosso over sixth place in the constructors' championship.

Promising early-season form and strong qualifying performances ebbed away during the meat of the European season, as rivals such as Toyota, Renault and Toro Rosso found increased performance from their cars. But recently at the Singapore Grand Prix Nico Rosberg clinched a marvellous podium for the team, hauling them back into the fight against the Red Bull-backed teams.

Rosberg spoke to a scrum of reporters in the tranquil surroundings of the Shanghai paddock on Thursday afternoon, expressing disappointment - even astonishment at the recent upturn in form, particularly from Renault.

"I find it very disappointing because Renault was our competition in the first few races," said Rosberg. "Even after Bahrain, the third race of the season, we were quicker than Renault and it was our direct competition. It is quite shocking for me to see now that they are fighting for race wins and we are absolutely nowhere. It's really not a good thing for us.

"On this track it is going to be very difficult again for us, it is not a good track for Williams. Last year was one of our worst races here so I'm not really expecting too much from this weekend, but still we'll try and do our best and I think Brazil we will have better chances."

Rosberg has participated in two of the four Chinese Grands Prix since the event's addition to the Formula One calendar in 2004, finishing out of the points on both occasions. Despite this, the German is very positive about the circuit - and its designer.

"It is a very nice track for sure," he said. "Hermann Tilke, the architect, has done a great job, it is really exciting to drive, and I think it is also a track where you can see some overtaking, like we did in Fuji which is very nice, good for Formula One, so that is positive and I think we will have a great race on Sunday."

Inevitably, almost every driver in the paddock was asked yesterday on their thoughts regrading the world championship battle between Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica.

"We've seen so many mistakes this year from different drivers - myself included actually," said Rosberg, breaking into a laugh, "and so it would not be surprising if we see more of them now towards the end of the season, and I think it is going to be the one who wins is the one who is not making mistakes probably."

Tyres01:50 Tyres have played a crucial role in the balance of power throughout 2008 and are again set to be a talking point in China.

Bridgestone have arrived in Shanghai with the Hard and Medium compounds - the hardest possible selection of tyres from the four available specifications.

"The Shanghai International Circuit is very severe on tyres and that is why we are bringing the two hardest compounds from our range," said Hirohide Hamashima of Bridgestone. "There are very high lateral forces and we expect to see graining on the front left tyres."

Graining, a particularly notable feature of the grooved tyres that are making their penultimate appearance at a Grand Prix, is caused when pieces of rubber peel off and move around the tread surface, especially near the grooves.

The race in Fuji saw heavy tyre degredation on another circuit with long, flowing curves that also gave the left front tyre a hard time. Race pace fluctuated throughout the field as each car got the best from its tyres and then faded away as the rubber grained and wore out.

Although ambient temperatures in Shanghai are set to be higher than Fuji - in the mid-20s Celsius range - the harder tyre selection here is also more difficult to heat effectively on the circuit for a single flying lap.

Lewis Hamilton stormed to pole in Japan with an excellent lap in the Mclaren while Felipe Massa admitted that he struggled to get the best out of his tyres in the decisive final phase of qualifying. On Sunday, Ferrari's ultimate race pace was never fully unleashed after the mayhem of the opening laps but the lap times that they did achieve suggested they again had the best package over a long run of laps.

Today's sessions will tell us a little more about the relative pace of the two top teams as they work on evaluating the tyres. It won't be too much of a surprise if the pattern from Japan is repeated this weekend.

01:53 Some patchy cloud cover is floating around the circuit, giving the sunshine a hazy appearance. A strong breeze is fluttering the flags of the sparse crowd in the immense main grandstand.

01:55 There are five minutes to go until the penultimate Formula One weekend of the season gets underway in Shanghai.

01:57 The track temperature is pegged back at 23 Celsius as the hazy conditions block out direct sunshine. The air temperature is 24 degrees with the breeze clocked at 2.2 metres per second.

01:58 Singapore and Japan winner Fernando Alonso climbs aboard his Renault and is ready to go out early in the session.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Giancarlo Fisichella as usual is the first of the 20 drivers to take to the circuit this morning.

1 min: Lewis Hamilton pulls out of the McLaren garage and makes a practice start at the end of the pit lane as he gets his running underway.

1 min: Adrian Sutil, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Bourdais join the Italian on track, with more drivers also coming out to check over their cars.

3 min: Installation laps are now in progress. The cars were very quickly packed up on Sunday evening following the Japanese Grand Prix, flown over to China, transferred to the circuit and reassembled ready for action this morning, so checking of the cars is very important to make sure that all systems are functioning correctly.

5 min: Jenson Button and Kazuki Nakajima have crossed the start-finish line and begin a timed lap.

Honda have a tendency to complete two laps for the installation process, and indeed Button returns to the pits.

6 min: The sunshine is now breaking through the clouds at parts of the circuit as the conditions of haze and patchy cloud continue through the installation laps.

6 min: Nakajima also returns to the pits following a double installation lap.

Nico Rosberg is out on track and he also comes back into pitlane at the end of his second tour of the circuit.

7 min: Nelson Piquet reported on his team radio that the track was: "okay, clean but not too grippy."

8 min: Rubens Barrichello is the only driver on track currently in the Honda.

Running on the hard tyre, the Brazilian rounds turn 16 and crosses the start-finish line. We anticipate him coming into the pits at the end of this lap.

8 min: Only the Ferrari cars have yet to complete an installation lap. The team tend to forgo this procedure and come out a little later in the session for a short run.

10 min: Barrichello pits the Honda, confirming a two-lap installation process.

No cars on track.

12 min: As the track falls silent, most of the drivers are looking in no hurry to return to the circuit while the teams check over the cars.

A quiet start to the session looks to be in prospect.

14 min: At Ferrari, the mechanics are all standing in the back of the garage and patiently waiting, while at Toyota, Timo Glock is sitting in his TF108, watching the monitor.

15 min: Jarno Trulli is also sitting in his Toyota, but with his helmet off as he keeps cool in the cockpit.

16 min: Official weather forecast: No rain expected during first practice.

17 min: Sebsastian Vettel waits in his Toro Rosso and is told that the checks of the car after the installation lap look okay.

18 min: Kazuki Nakajima stands close to his car in the Williams garage, as we hear an engine fire in the distance.

Sebastien Bourdais comes out onto the track for a run in the Toro Rosso.

18 min: The Frenchman is using the harder tyre as he continues round on his lap out of the pits.

19 min: Bourdais crosses the start-finish line and begins what should be the first timed lap of the event.

20 min: Kimi Raikkonen, celebrating his 29th birthday, has arrived in the Ferrari garage and is beginning to prepare himself for his first run of the event.

21 min: Sebastien Bourdais clocks the first lap of the weekend, and it is 1:39.496. He currently has the track all to himself.

22 min: Felipe Massa is sitting in the corner of the Ferrari garage, quietly contemplating the vital weekend that lies ahead.

22 min: Nelson Piquet joins Bourdais on the circuit, choosing to perform a practice start at the end of the pitlane.

22 min: Bourdais completes his second timed lap and he lowers the mark down to 1:38.547.

23 min: Piquet - like Bourdais - is using the harder tyre for his first run. He begins his first timed lap of the day.

24 min: Kimi Raikkonen gets himself strapped in to the Ferrari as he moves closer to getting out on track in a typically leisurely start to the session for the Scuderia.

24 min: Sebastien Bourdais completes his third timed lap and improves further to 1:37.958 as he continues to learn the circuit.

25 min: Timo Glock makes it threee cars on track, as Piquet crosses the line in 1:40.710 at the end of his first effort.

26 min: Nico Rosberg and Jarno Trulli also come out onto the circuit.

Meantime, Sebastien Bourdais completes his fourth timed lap and it's another improvement - 1:37.686.

27 min: Nelson Piquet improves on his second lap but remains second to Bourdais, with these the only two drivers to have set a time so far.

More drivers are out there, including Nico Rosberg, who posts a 1:38.709 to go second in the Williams.

28 min: The fifth timed lap for Bourdais nets no improvement in laptime.

He remains fastest so far as we approach the half-hour mark in the first session.

29 min: The harder tyre is the standard choice for these early laps as they work to clean the circuit and lay some rubber on the asphalt surface.

29 min: Timo Glock posts a 1:39.849 to go fourth, with his teammate Trulli slotting into fifth.

Up front, Bourdais finds more time on his sixth timed lap - 1:37.101.

30 min: Kimi Raikkonen joins the circuit for the first time.

31 min: Nelson Piquet lowers his best time down to 1:38.058, but remains second to Bourdais, who has just come back into the pits at the end of his first run - a run consisting of six timed laps.

32 min: Raikkonen flashes over the line as he starts his first timed lap of the day.

33 min: Honda duo Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are out on the track, on their first run of today.

Barrichello goes fifth, which is quickly demoted to sixth as Jenson goes fourth in the sister car.

Further up the timesheet Mark Webber has completed his first timed lap and he immediately goes third with 1:38.103.

34 min: Kimi's first lap is fully committed and he clocks a 1:37.298 to go second fastest at the moment.

35 min: Raikkonen improves to a 1:36.625 as he tops the session then spins in the first corner complex ...

36 min: Raikkonen resumes without damage after losing the back end of the Ferrari as he ran slightly wide in turn two. He is back underway with dirty tyres but no damage to the Ferrari.

38 min: Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen are all on track now as running gets underway in earnest.

38 min: Sebastian Vettel goes fourth in the Toro Rosso, slotting in just behind Mark Webber with 1:37.581.

39 min: Heikki Kovalainen slots in second quickest after a promising early effort of 1:36.977 from the Finn.

39 min: Sebastien Bourdais' early benchmark is now slipping down the order as the top teams come out on their first runs.

40 min: Fernando Alonso goes fourth in the Renault with 1:37.252, just ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

40 min: Lewis Hamilton starts his day with a fourth-place effort of 1:37.350 as teammate Kovalainen sneaks past Raikkonen to top the session.

41 min: Felipe Massa clocks a 1:36.368 for his opening effort to take the quickest time so far.

42 min: Robert Kubica has completed just a couple of timed laps so far this morning. The BMW Sauber driver is out there at the moment on his first serious run today, and is currently 10th with 1:37.867.

He is set for an improvement on his next lap, and indeed he moves up, but only to ninth with 1:37.598.

43 min: Lewis Hamilton is upping his pace after a strong middle sector of the lap in the McLaren. He runs wide on to the green run-off area on the banked exit of turn 13 as he pushes hard.

The off-track moment cost the McLaren a lot of speed on to the final straight and the lap was only 1:38.285.

44 min: Early pacesetter Sebastien Bourdais leaves the garage to commence his second run today.

The Frenchman has slipped down to sixth place as the McLarens, Ferraris and Fernando Alonso have come out for their first run of laps.

44 min: Heikki Kovalainen tops the session with a 1:36.103 as the leading teams put on a show for the fans with a series of quick laps.

Behind him on the road, Hamilton puts together a clean lap of 1:36.044 to edge ahead of his teammate and make it a McLaren one-two after the first runs.

45 min: Robert Kubica moves up to seventh position with 1:37.185 in the BMW, as he moves closer to the pace of the leading teams.

47 min: Felipe Massa responds as he contines to lap in the Ferrari. His 1:36.020 is the next lap to top an ever-changing timesheet.

48 min: Kazuki Nakajimma is currently last of the 20 drivers, three seconds shy of the leading pace following his first run.

On the Williams team radio the Japanese driver reports that he is struggling with rear grip on the entry and exit of slow speed corners and understeer on the medium and high speed corners - possibly a drivers worst nightmare as they work to try and reach a neutral balance.

49 min: Nakajima comes out onto the track for his second run, following some set-up adjustments.

50 min: Lewis Hamilton is the quickest man in the first sector so far, with teammate Kovalainen on top in the middle portion of the lap.

Ferrari's strength is in the final sector as the team unleash their potent engine and efficient aerodynamics on the the long straight, with Massa topping the times in that part of the lap.

The early runs certainly point to a close battle between the top two teams. 

50 min: Robert Kubica has continued to improve in the BMW Sauber, moving ahead of Sebastien Bourdais and Fernando Alonso. The Pole is now fifth on a 1:36.507 - just under half-a-second away from Massa's benchmark time so far.

51 min: The speed trap at the end of the long straight shows Ferrari on top of the pile with Raikkonen clocking 316 km/hr, five clicks faster than the pair of McLarens.

52 min: Sebastian Vettel reports on the Toro Rosso team radio that following his first run the track is still quite green and there is insufficient grip level.

53 min: Kazuki Nakajima completes the first timed lap of his second run today, but as yet is unable to improve following those set-up tweaks. He remains in 20th position.

54 min: Robert Kubica has come into the pits at the end of his first run. He is fifth so far in the BMW, but behind him in the classification Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Bourdais, Nelson Piquet, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber are all on track for their second run of laps.

55 min: Sebastien Bourdais comes into the pitlane in the Toro Rosso, having found no improvement in time during his second run.

56 min: Robert Kubica reports on the BMW team radio that he has: "graining on the first timed lap, not on the inside but the outside of the grooves."

56 min: Kazuki Nakajima has subsequently improved his time to 1:38.596. He is now 18th.

57 min: Jarno Trulli is off track in the Toyota ...

58 min: Jarno Trulli is stranded sideways at the side of the track. We see the Italian spin coming through the chicane complex at turns 11 and 12.

59 min: Trulli has managed to rejoin the circuit and has continued on this run of laps.

60 min: Robert Kubica leaves the pits and begins his second run of the morning.

61 min: With half an hour remaining in opening practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, Felipe Massa is fractions quicker than Lewis Hamilton at the top of the standings. Finns Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen lie third and fourth with Robert Kubica fifth quickest in the BMW.

The top five are all now rolling out for a second round of laps.

63 min: Lewis Hamilton edges to the top of the order as he shaves a fraction from his time to clock a 1:35.966.

65 min: Mark Webber spun sideways at turn 11 on his 16th lap of the morning. The Australian lost the rear end of the Red Bull Renault as he was turning left at corner 11 and spun to the outside of the circuit.

He rejoined and immediately came back into the pits.

65 min: Kimi Raikkonen tops the second and third sectors of the lap to move up to third quickest on a 1:36.052.

66 min: Hamilton improves the best time again with a strong run through the final sector to finish the lap in 1:35.839.

67 min: Sebastien Bourdais locks up and understeers straight on at turn 14 - the first go get the tight hairpin at the end of the back straight wrong so far.

Bourdais has continued on this latest run of laps and is currently seventh, just behind Fernando Alonso in sixth.

70 min: Hamilton continues to set a strong pace as the top five continue to lap on worn tyres.

He is told on the radio that he may be able to find more time in turns 8 and 11.

Nonetheless, he improves once again to make the benchmark time a 1:35.630.

70 min: Robert Kubica is also out on track in the BMW. The title outsider is in a strong fifth place, with his best time so far a 1:36.507, which is now eight-tenths of a second away from the fastest time following Lewis Hamilton's recent improvement.

70 min: Kubica pits at the end of that run, remaining in fifth position.

72 min: Nick Heidfeld has jumped up into seventh place in the other BMW Sauber F1.08. 'Quick Nick' has struggled occasionally with his qualifying performances this season, and needs a good weekend here, as the team look for as many points as possible in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

74 min: Rubens Barrichello has run wide in turn 12 as he looks to improve on his current 14th position in the standings.

The Brazilian runs out onto the grass and takes a bumpy ride back onto the circuit. He continues on this current run of laps.

74 min: Conditions remain hazy and slightly overcast in Shanghai with the track temperature matching the ambient at 25 Celsius.

75 min: Felipe Massa has been out of his car for the last couple of minutes but is getting seated once again for a run in the final minutes of the session.

79 min: Toyota duo Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli are currently down the order in 15th and 17th positions.

Followiing Glock round the circuit, his front tyres look well past their best, with severe wear on the left front, which is the corner that takes most of the load round this punishing circuit, from the hard right-handers such as turns one and two, and also the long turn 13 leading on to the back straight.

79 min: The entire row of grandstands at turn 13 have been pressed into service as a massive advertising board, with huge white letters covering the seats to promote the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

81 min: Nelson Piquet takes a trip over the infamous gravel trap in the pit lane ...

82 min: It was a near-identical incident to Lewis Hamilton's retirement from last year's Chinese Grand Prix, as Piquet slid straight on. He did manage to find some grip and keep his wheels rotating to drive out of the gravel and return safely to the Renault garage.

83 min: Hamilton, Massa, Kovalainen and Raikkonen are all now on track for their final run of the session.

85 min: Nick Heidfeld has come into the pits in the last couple of minutes following a long run of laps. The German is seventh on the board so far.

His BMW teammate Robert Kubica is back out for his final run of laps this morning. Kubica is fifth, with Fernando Alonso - also on track - splitting the BMW pair in sixth.

86 min: The top runners make no improvement on their earlier times at the start of these final runs as they lap on what appear to be the hard tyres used earlier in the session, saving the new set of hard rubber and the pair of softer tyre sets for better track conditions in the second practice session.

88 min: Adrian Sutil runs wide and off the track at turn six on his final run of the session. The Force India driver finds grip n the form of the extra tarmac area at the outside of the tight right-hander and continues without problem.

89 min: Kazuki Nakajima has moved up to 15th place on a 1:37.941.

90 min: Lewis Hamilton is picked up with a moment at turn 11. He locked the left front and lost the rear of the McLaren as he tried to slow it for the corner.

The championship leader continues on his way without too much trouble.

90 min: The session has ended. Cars that have already started a lap may complete it.

03:31 Robert Kubica comes flying into turn one and runs wide, out to the strip of green astroturf in the BMW as he tried for a final timed lap. The Pole loses around four seconds in the first sector, setting a 29.9 second first section of the track.

03:32 The cars trundle around after the flag to take advantage of practice starts from the grid.

03:33 The cars lay spectacular rubber stripes out of the final corner as they practice warming their rear tyres before launching from the grid.

03:34 Fernando Alonso draws up in pole position to practice a start in the Renault as most of the field head back to the pits.

03:36 Fernando Alonso is the last driver to bring his car back into the pits, and the track falls silent again following a busy session.

03:36 Lewis Hamilton tops the first session of practice in Shanghai with a best time of 1:35.630. His main title rival Felipe Massa was second in the Ferrari, just under four-tenths of a second behind the Briton. Kimi Raikkonen was third ahead of Heikki Kovalainen in fourth.

Robert Kubica was fifth, 0.877 seconds shy of Hamilton's benchmark time, with Fernando Alonso sixth and Nick Heidfeld seventh in the second of the BMWs.

03:38 The report on the first practice session is now available:

Hamilton leads first session in China

03:42 The GP2 Asia Series starts its second season here in Shanghai and the next track action is their first practice session, starting in around 15 minutes.

05:32 Conditions at the circuit remain dry, but mainly cloudy as we get within 30 minutes of the second session of practice. A stiff breeze is blowing, and this will affect the drivers and the handling of the cars as they continue their set-up work ahead of Sunday's race.

05:43 It was tight at the top in opening practice with both Ferrari and McLaren setting competitive lap times. The battle is set to continue in the second session as they try out new sets of both the harder and softer tyres.

05:55 There are five minutes to go before the start of the Friday afternoon practice session.

05:57 The track temperature remains as it was at the close of first practice - 29 Celsius - with an ambient of 26 degrees.

05:58 Lewis Hamilton is climbing aboard his McLaren to prepare for the start of the session.

0 min: Second practice for the Chinese Grand Prix is now underway.

0 min: Nelson Piquet is the first driver to join the track this afternoon.

1 min: Ten drivers have come out onto the track, and with the cars having run already this morning we expect some timed laps very earlly in the session.

2 min: Nelson Piquet and Sebastien Bourdais are the first two drivers to cross the start-finish line and begin a timed lap.

4 min: Piquet sets a 1:38.815 and Bourdais follows up with 1:38.405, before Fernando Alonso comes through to take the top spot with 1:37.650.

4 min: Jarno Trulli goes top of the list with 1:37.247 in the Toyota.

5 min: Robert Kubica is on his first flying lap of the session. He is again using the harder tyre in the early stages of this session, and he posts a 1:38.761 to move into seventh.

6 min: Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen are both out for early runs. Kimi Raikkonen is told on the radio that the team plan four timed laps for the Finn.

6 min: Kubica's first effort featured a wide run at turn 14. He ran onto the grass and extra tarmac area on the outside of the corner but continued.

8 min: Jarno Trulli moves up to second place with 1:37.134, before Sebastian Vettel takes that place away with 1:36.925.

9 min: A 1:36.101 gives Hamilton a solid benchmark time as he heads the session after the opening nine minutes.

10 min: Timo Glock goes third in the Toyota with a time of 1:37.118.

10 min: Felipe Massa is heading out of the pits and is about to start his first timed lap of the second session.

12 min: Hamilton bounces over the kerb in the final corner and he improves the leading time to a 1:35.750.

12 min: Lewis Hamilton is quickest after 12 minutes of the second session with a time of 1:35.750. Sebastian Vettel is second, Timo Glock third, Jarno Trulli fourth and Fernando Alonso in fifth place.

13 min: Initial efforts from Raikkonen and Massa slot them in seventh and eighth.

13 min: David Coulthard improves to ninth in the Red Bull Renault with a laptime of 1:37.652.

15 min: Robert Kubica tells his race engineer that oversteer at the rear of the car, and that the rear grip is very poor following his first run.

17 min: The slightly variable weather conditions continue in Shanghai with the sun currently breaking through the clouds.

18 min: Robert Kubica comes back out in the BMW Sauber for his second run this afternoon after some set-up changes to try and give the Pole more grip at the rear of the car.

18 min: Jarno Trulli jumps up to second quickest as he begins to lap with the softer tyre on his car.

20 min: Nico Rosberg vaults up the order to fifth place in the Williams following a lap of 1:36.978.

21 min: Sebastien Bourdais improves up the order to seventh position, setting a 1:37.131 using the softer tyre.

22 min: Mark Webber completes a lap using the softer tyre but does not improve in laptime.

23 min: The Ferrari and McLaren drivers are waiting in the pits at the moment, allowing the mid-field runners to move forward as they run on new tyres.

23 min: Fernando Alonso rounds turn 16 to begin another lap on soft tyres, but the Spaniard runs wide onto the astroturf and continues.

25 min: Lewis Hamilton heads out for his second run of the afternoon.

25 min: Sebastien Bourdais continues on the soft tyres but when starting his 10th lap the Frenchman runs wide, over the grass and on to the extra tarmac area. He continues.

26 min: Hamilton begins a flying lap on what may be a new set of the harder tyres.

28 min: Nick Heidfeld is currently 14th, two places ahead of his teammate Robert Kubica. The German completes an improving lap to move into 12th place on a 1:37.388.

29 min: Lewis clocks a 1:36.590, over a second down on his earlier benchmark. Meanwhile, Kimi Raikkonen is getting another flying lap underway.

30 min: Raikkonen moves himself up slightly to seventh with a 1:37.066.

33 min: Sebastien Bourdais is asked by his race engineer if he feels there are any reasons for him losing time. Bourdais explains over the team radio that on his last run the tyres weren't fully up to temperature on the first timed lap - as a result possibly of him not pushing hard enough on the soft tyres on the outlap.

33 min: Lewis Hamilton continues his run of laps with times around 1:36.8 as Felipe Massa slots in sixth quickest with a similar time. The top teams are now into their work on longer runs of laps to prepare for the race.

34 min: Robert Kubica is on the soft tyres for his latest run, and the Pole is set to shoot up the order ... and he does to sixth place with a 1:36.775.

35 min: Kimi Raikkonen has a moment in the Ferrari as he loops the machine around at turn 12. He gets going again after a slight delay resulting in a 1:52 lap time.

36 min: Kubica goes on for another lap on the soft tyres, but yields no improvement in laptime.

37 min: The long runs continue with lap times around a second slower than the current benchmark as they evaluate the longevity of the harder tyre.

39 min: Kimi Raikkonen in sixth puts in his best lap of the session as part of his long run on hard tyres.

39 min: Jarno Trulli is another who is using the softer tyre for a run of laps, and the Italian moves up to second place behind Lewis Hamilton, with a laptime of 1:36.159.

40 min: Lewis Hamilton clocks a similar pace to Kimi Raikkonen at 1:36.761, with the McLaren and Ferrari looking very evenly matched on the harder tyre option.

41 min: Rubens Barrichello sets his fastest lap of the session so far - 1:37.965, but the Brazilian remains down in 19th place, with only teammate Button behind him.

42 min: Massa is on a similar pace to Hamilton and Raikkonen with a 1:36.701 on the previous tour.

43 min: Sebastien Bourdais is again using the soft tyres. The Toro Rosso driver is pushing hard, probably trying to generate heat into the rubber, but he goes in too deep entering turn one and runs wide onto the extra tarmac area. He continues.

43 min: Bourdais has now pitted following that run in the Toro Rosso.

46 min: With half of the second practice session now complete, it is Lewis Hamilton on top of the order from Jarno Trulli, Sebastien Bourdais, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. The important race preparations continue with the slightly jumbled order a result of the varying tyre and fuel programmes being run by the teams.

47 min: Rubens Barrichello continues to pound round the circuit in 19th position, using hard tyres for his current run of laps. Pushing hard to gain as much data for the team as possible, he leaves his braking too late for turn six and spins to the outside of the corner. Barrichello recovers the situation and continues, but pits at the end of the lap.

51 min: There is a lull in action at the moment as long runs continue and many of the cars are in the pits to pour over the data from the earlier running.

51 min: Improvements in laptime are few and far between as the drivers continue with the serious work of performing long run stints and tyre comparison checks between the hard and soft tyres. Later towards the end of the session some may put on a further set of new tyres and go for a quicker laptime.

52 min: Lewis Hamilton emerges from the pits with the softer tyre on his McLaren. He is likely to have the fuel onboard to test a race stint on those tyres.

54 min: Sebastian Vettel runs very wide in turn 13, the long right-hander that leads on to the back straight. He continues on this run of laps and is currently 11th in the standings with 1:36.925 - just over one second off the pace set so far by Lewis Hamilton.

54 min: Hamilton puts his new rubber to good use with a lap of 1:36.472. He heads into the follow-up lap on the softer tyre.

55 min: Lewis slows to a 1:36.995 as the softer tyre gives up some grip on its second timed lap.

57 min: Kazuki Nakajima has a set of soft tyres bolted on to his Williams and he is on a fast lap, looking set to improve on his best laptime so far. The Japanese completes the lap and moves up from 13th to 12th with 1:36.975.

59 min: Hamilton's pace has stabilised around 1:36.8 as he continues a run on the softer tyres.

59 min: Kimi Raikkonen is next to try out the softer Bridgestone.

61 min: Nakajima is still on a long run using the soft tyres, but the Japanese driver spins at the first corner of the lap. He continues and remains in 12th position.

62 min: Nakajima pits at the end of the lap following that spin in turn one.

62 min: Kimi clocks a 1:36.733 on his first flying lap on the softer tyres, slightly slower than the 1:36.472 that Hamilton set earlier on the same tyres. The relative fuel loads between the two cars are of course unclear in this session.

63 min: Raikkonen slows to a 1:37.325 for his second flying lap on the softer rubber as teammate Massa gets a lap underway on the same type of tyre.

64 min: Massa's flying lap on the softer tyre is a 1:36.583, again very competitive with Hamilton's earlier time if the fuel levels are comparable.

66 min: Robert Kubica is on track using the soft rubber for his latest run. He looks set for an improvement in time, but encounters traffic in the form of his teammate Nick Heidfeld ironically. Kubica remains in eighth position on a 1:36.775 - one second behind Lewis Hamilton's time.

66 min: Felipe's time on the next lap is a 1:37.408, which is a more notable drop-off as compared to Raikkonen and Hamilton, perhaps the result of a mistake for the Brazilian.

67 min: Lewis Hamilton continues his long run on the softer tyre and is setting a solid pace with his final lap of the run in the mid 1:36s bracket.

69 min: The pair of Ferraris lap in the low 1:37s on their soft tyre long runs.

70 min: Sebastian Vetel runs wide at turn one with the hard tyres on his Toro Rosso STR3. The young German runs out to the extra tarmac area and continues. Vettel is some distance behind his teammate Sebastien Bourdais. They are separated by just under four tenths of a second.

71 min: Robert Kubica is also lapping in the low 1:37s bracket on the softer tyre, perhaps hinting that the Ferraris are running a lot of fuel for their race-day preparations

73 min: Nelson Piquet loses control of his Renault at turn 12 taking a touch too much kerb and losing the rear of the car on the dust in the apex.

75 min: Piquet has pitted soon after that spin. He is currently in 16th place, four tenths of a second behind teammate Fernando Alonso. Alonso has had a very quiet afternoon so far. He is 13th.

75 min: The session ticks down to the final fifteen minutes with many of the cars in the pits for a change of tyres ahead of the final runs.

78 min: Kimi Raikkonen exits the pitlane for another run in the Ferrari F2008, but as he does so Mark Webber begins a fast lap and commits his Red Bull Renault to the apex of turn one. Kimi slowly enters the first corner with Webber flashing past very close to him. Mark possibly had to make a quick reaction to the Ferrari via his steering wheel, but the result was a run wide in the corner and out to the extra tarmac area.

80 min: Sebastien Bourdais has spun his Toro Rosso and is out of the session ...

80 min: Moments after the Raikkonen, Webber incident, Sebastien Bourdais commences a hot lap in the Toro Rosso, carrying a lot of speed into the right-hander. The Frenchman runs out of grip and spins at high speed into the gravel trap, and is beached. Sebastien is forced to switch the engine off and his session is over.

81 min: Bourdais is talking to the marshals as a tractor unit arrives on the scene to lift away the stricken Toro Rosso. The session continues under waved yellows at the first corner.

82 min: Lewis Hamilton takes to the circuit for his final run of the day.

83 min: Lewis has chosen the soft tyre for his final string of laps.

84 min: Only five drivers remain in the pits, plus the retired Bourdais as the final runs of the day begin in earnest with just under six minutes remaining in the session.

86 min: Nick Heidfeld is on a fast lap in the BMW and looking set for an improvement as he tries the soft tyres. The German moves up to fourth with a 1:36.553.

87 min: Lewis Hamilton found no improvement in time on his first timed lap on this final run. Then, continuing on for a second lap, the Briton spins wildly at the first corner. He continues.

87 min: Nelson Piquet jumps up to second quickest after a late run on the softer tyre.

87 min: Mark Webber has moved up to fourth with 1:36.375 in the Red Bull Renault.

88 min: Kimi Raikkonen improves to a 1:36.542 on the soft tyre after the Finn's latest attempt on new rubber.

90 min: The chequered flag comes out, signalling the end of the practice session. Any driver that is already on a timed lap may complete it.

07:31 David Coulthard finds over half-a-second in the Red Bull to move up to 14th position, aided by the use of the softer tyre.

07:31 Fernando Alonso takes second place away from his teammate with a lap of 1:36.024.

07:32 Felipe Massa's late effort was a 1:36.480 on the softer tyres, moving him up to sixth quickest at the flag.

07:33 So Lewis Hamilton is fastest in both sessions of practice. His lap of 1:35.750 in this afternoon's session is over a quarter of a second ahead of Fernando Alonso in second. Nelson Piquet makes it a two-three for Renault, with Jarno Trulli fourth, Mark Webber fifth following a late lap on soft tyres, and Felipe Massa the first of the Ferraris in sixth position.

07:36 The session report and classification is now available:

Hamilton also tops second practice

07:40 Friday in Shanghai saw the teams busily preparing for the race, with the timesheet from the second session reflecting the various programmes of work undertaken ahead of Sunday's Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in both sessions, with his early lap of 1:35.750 - slightly slower than his first session best - remaining the quickest throughout second practice. Hamilton also set a strong pace during long runs on both types of tyre, indicating that a close battle with Ferrari may be on the cards for Sunday. Relative fuel loads are of course unknown and tomorrow's practice and qualifying sessions will give a further indication of the balance of power.

The Renaults of Alonso and Piquet placed well in the final classification after their late laps on soft rubber, with Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber both slipping in fast laps to get ahead of Massa and Raikkonen. The Ferraris did not deliver fast flying laps in the short runs on soft tyres at the end of the session and may have been solely concentrating on race pace today.

We appologise for the technical issue that disrupted live coverage of the second session. This has now been resolved and Live will return for full coverage of Saturday at the Chinese Grand Prix. Join us from 02:30 GMT tomorrow.

Session Length: 90 Minutes
 View official live timing
Mainly cloudy High Temp: 26°C / 79°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 13 Oct Start GMT
 Chinese Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 17 Oct
 Friday Practice 01:30
Saturday 18 Oct
 Final Practice and Qualifying 02:30
Sunday 19 Oct
 Raceday in Shanghai 03:00
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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