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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2014 CHINESE GRAND PRIX - FRIDAY - PRACTICE
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Friday - Practice
By Pablo Elizalde, Matt Beer, Edd Straw, Glenn Freeman, Ben Anderson and Dan Cross
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
01:33 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live's coverage of the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix, starting with Friday practice from Shanghai.

01:35 We've had a fortnight to catch our breath after the events of Bahrain, and now there's 25 minutes to go before free practice one begins at a cold and cloudy Shanghai circuit.

01:40 This time 12 months ago, the opening session produced a commanding Mercedes one-two, with Nico Rosberg ahead of Lewis Hamilton, and Red Bull leading the chasing pack.

That was a bit of an anomaly in 2013, but is pretty standard right now.

For reference, Rosberg's practice one benchmark a year ago was a 1m36.717s.

01:46 Here's how they stand coming into this weekend:

Championship positions after three of 19 rounds:

1 Nico Rosberg 61 points
2 Lewis Hamilton 50
3 Nico Hulkenberg 28
4 Fernando Alonso 26
5 Jenson Button 23
6 Sebastian Vettel 23

(25 points for a win)
Full 2014 season statistics on FORIX

01:55 Bit chilly in Shanghai this morning, so says Caterham anyway:

"10 minutes until FP1 in Shanghai and it's proper parky! Track temp 18c, air temp 13c.... Brrrrrrrr!"

02:01 We're underway in China, and it's Kevin Magnussen in the McLaren who hits the track first.

02:01 Ferrari confirms that Raikkonen won't be participating in the early phase of the session:

"A problem has been found on Kimi's car. He will not run in the first part of the session."

Marco02:07 Raikkonen's non-running this morning will give him time to meet Marco Mattiacci, who has just rocked up in the paddock.

02:07 As usual, no times yet from anyone, with teams focusing on installation runs for now. Most of the field has done one exploratory tour so far.

02:09 Pastor Maldonado has the ignominy of giving us the first spin of the session.

02:10 Replays indicate he was concentrating more on his steering wheel than the approaching corner...

02:15 Danil Kvyat's car is without much bodywork at the moment as he waits in the garage.

02:16 A couple of mechanical problems developing already this morning - a clutch issue is likely to mean a 40-minute delay for Esteban Gutierrez, says Sauber, and Marussia's Jules Bianchi encountered a fuel system problem on his installation lap so is now out of the car.

02:17 BEN ANDERSON: Williams has brought some upgrades to China and will spend today evaluating the new parts.

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are hopeful they will alleviate the rear grip issues they've been suffering so far in 2014.

Massa said: "Maybe it will be a tough race, but it’s also a track where you use the front tyres a bit more and maybe this can be a help for our car.

"We have some new parts and I hope we can see better grip at the rear.

"We have a long straight that’s not bad for us, but we need the downforce as well. We’ll see how it’s going to be."

The weather forecast suggests there will be rain over the weekend, which has proved difficult for the Williams so far this season.

"We have some new bits to try here and hopefully that will lift up performance in the wet also," added Bottas.

"We’ll try those on Friday and if they work normally that should help us in the wet."

02:18 EDD STRAW: "Remember that new-for-2014 regulations allow an extra use of whichever harder-compound (prime) tyre for use only in the first 30 minutes of FP1. So, assuming it stays dry (no foregone conclusion given that we are seeing a few spots of rain), you'll see drivers using one set of medium Pirellis in the first 30 minutes, then a second set of mediums for the final hour."

02:18 Speaking of Williams, Bottas will be sitting out this session while reserve driver Felipe Nasr has a run. The GP2 driver has completed an installation run, as has Massa.

02:19 Incoming rain? Rosberg radios in to say his visor has a few spots of water on it.

02:19 Button knocks team-mate Magnussen off top spot, logging a 1m42.482s.

02:20 And Rosberg goes top, with a 1m41.063s as more drivers lodge their first times. Alonso is now second, 0.372s down.

02:23 So far, 13 drivers have registered times, with Rosberg looking set to improve his best mark imminently.

02:23 Kvyat's car is fired up and the Russian is poised to join this morning's action.

02:24 And sure enough, Rosberg posts a 1m40.840s, making him the first driver to get under the 1m41 mark.

02:28 There are a couple of reserve drivers out in this session. Giedo van der Garde is out in Sutil's Suber, with Nasr in the Bottas Williams.

02:30 Half an hour in, the main developments are:

* Rosberg heads the timesheets ahead of Alonso and Hamilton.
* Lots of drivers are struggling on the brakes in cool temperatures.
* Air temperature is a chilly 15 degrees Celsius, while track temp is 18.
* Mechanical issues for Raikkonen, Bianchi and Gutierrez mean they have yet to join the action.

02:31 So, with 30 minutes gone, everyone has had their first set of medium-compound Pirellis. With Bianchi, Raikkonen and Gutierrez all yet to post times thanks to problems, here's how the timesheets look:

1 Rosberg, 1m40.840s
2 Alonso +0.464s
3 Hamilton, +0.720s
4 Hulkenberg, +1.025s
5 Massa, +1.136s
6 Button, +1.199s
7 Ricciardo, +1.425s
8 Magnussen, +1.855s
9 Vettel, +2.418s
10 Vergne, +2.429s
11 Perez, +2.805s
12 Grosjean, +2.841s
13 Nasr, +3.059s
14 Van der Garde, +3.063s
15 Maldonado, +3.162s
16 Kobayashi, +4.471s
17 Kvyat, +4.819s
18 Chilton, +5.415s
19 Ericsson, +6.829s

02:34 EDD STRAW: "It's not going to be a warm weekend in China. Various forecasts predict rain, either today or tomorrow. Even if it stays dry, track temperatures are going to be pretty low throughout."

02:34 Raikkonen heads out of the Ferrari garage and embarks upon his installation lap.

02:36 EDD STRAW: "Current fastest time is Rosberg's 1m40.840s. By comparison, the quickest lap in FP1 here last year was a 1m36.717s, also set by Rosberg. The gap will be smaller by the end of the session, provided track conditions allow it."

02:39 After a pause with no cars on track, Grosjean's Lotus comes back out.

02:41 EDD STRAW: "It will be interesting to see how Lotus gets on this weekend. In Malaysia, it seemed that it had turned a corner by at least getting the cars running reliably enough to get some serious work done. But in Bahrain, things were much harder with poor pace during the race weekend and serious problems during the two-day test that followed. The car looked horrible to drive as well."

02:42 Grosjean's lap is an improvement, a 1m42.090s taking him from 12th to seventh.

02:43 The Frenchman is still the only driver on the circuit. His team-mate Maldonado managed a proper run after that bizarre early spin and is 15th.

02:44 Gutierrez is being belted into the cockpit of his Sauber and looks ready to join FP1.

02:48 A spin for Kvyat at Turn 12. The Russian manages to keep the engine going and resumes running.

02:49 Vergne brings Toro Rosso up to third quickest with a 1m41.505s, 0.7s off pacesetter Rosberg.

02:50 Alonso sets the best first sector time so far - does the Ferrari have a shot at toppling Rosberg?

02:51 Vettel is also on a better lap. He's currently 12th.

02:51 Vettel pops up in fifth place for Red Bull.

02:52 Alonso and Ferrari take over on top with a 1m39.783s, which is 1.057s faster than Rosberg's previous best.

02:53 Button is the next to improve, bringing his McLaren from eighth to third.

02:53 But Button immediately loses a place as Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull shoots up to second, 0.989s down on Alonso.

02:54 Magnussen also makes progress in the other McLaren, going sixth quickest, 1.7s off the pace and 0.6s slower than Button.

02:57 A wall of mechanics shield Raikkonen's car as they go about fixing his mechanical issue. The Finn has yet to post a time this morning.

02:57 Alonso stayed out and went quicker than before in the middle sector, but his 1m39.783s still stands as the best time of the morning.

02:57 EDD STRAW: "As always, it has been interesting to watch the progress of the rookie drivers this year. Magnussen grabbed the headlines with a fine second place (after Ricciardo was excluded) on debut in Australia and he has made a big impact.

"But Daniil Kvyat has also been very impressive. He had a spin a few minutes ago and was fortunate to get his Toro Rosso out of the gravel, but with points in his first two races, plus an 11th place last time out in Bahrain, he has done a fine job so far. He's certainly delighted the team with his approach and performances, which is remarkable for a driver who won't be 20 until later this month."

03:02 Just under half an hour to go, headlines so far:

* Alonso leads ahead of Ricciardo and Rosberg.
* Air and track temperatures are 15 and 16 degrees Celsius respectively.
* Raikkonen and Bianchi have yet to set a time due to mechanical issues.

03:02 Here's the order heading into the final half hour:

1 Alonso 1m39.783s
2 Ricciardo +0.989s
3 Rosberg +1.057s
4 Button +1.187s
5 Hulkenberg +1.392s
6 Magnussen +1.583s
7 Vergne +1.722s
8 Hamilton +1.777s
9 Vettel +1.846s
10 Massa +2.193s
11 Kvyat +2.194s
12 Grosjean +2.307s
13 van der Garde +2.832s
14 Perez +2.950s
15 Maldonado +3.948s
16 Nasr +4.116s
17 Kobayashi +4.255s
18 Ericsson +5.290s
19 Chilton +5.352s
20 Gutierrez +5.797s
No time: Bianchi, Raikkonen

03:03 BEN ANDERSON: "In terms of drivers who have impressed this year, it's worth mentioning Ricciardo. McLaren's Jenson Button - the most experienced driver on the current grid - said Red Bull's new Australian signing had impressed him most so far in 2014."

"It's not the most competitive car at the moment, a lot of it is on the straights, but he's done a good job," said Button.

"It's always more difficult for a four-time world champion in that situation when the car's not strong. It's a lot easier for a guy who's come up to race alongside a four-time world champion.

"He's excited, his aim is to beat that guy, and for Sebastian I'm sure it's frustrating that he just can't get near a win.

"I'm sure there are different mindsets in the team but Daniel has been aggressive and strong in the races. He's done a good job."

03:05 Just Grosjean on the track now, as Ericsson comes into the pits. The Caterham driver had been steadily chipping away at his times.

03:07 EDD STRAW: "The TV footage from this track gives everyone a long, hard look at the DRS when it is open. The side of the DRS flap opening has increased this year from 50mm to 65mm.

"The reason for this is that the regs cut downforce levels and therefore the size of the gap needed to get a similar level of drag reduction to what we saw in 2013 needed to be increased."

03:09 Grosjean pits, so we have an empty track with 20 minutes to go.

03:11 That was only a brief quiet spell, as Ricciardo and Kvyat emerge.

03:13 Pacesetter Alonso is among the other cars back on track.

03:13 Ricciardo is told to "get stuck into these tyres on the first lap," as he embarks upon a race-like run.

03:17 Temperature update, courtesy of Caterham:

"The official air temp has gone up by a mighty 1c from 13 to 14... while track temps are positively racing up from 18 to 21c!"

03:19 Perez isn't running at the moment due to a reported DRS problem with his rear wing.

03:20 Rosberg improves and reduces Alonso's advantage to 0.398s. The second-placed Mercedes is now on 1m39.783s.

03:21 Marussia says it is "pushing like mad to get Jules out on track" at the end of this session.

03:21 Best lap so far from Williams number three Nasr, who does a 1m42.265s and goes up to 13th. Massa is 10th in the sister car.

03:22 The only other driver finding time at present is Gutierrez, who is creeping forward after his earlier clutch problems.

He is still behind Kobayashi's Caterham in 18th. Reserve driver van der Garde is 14th in the other Sauber.

03:23 Marussia succeeds! Bianchi joins the session with seven minutes left.

03:28 Massive lock-up for Kvyat as he approaches Turn 14. The Russian spins as a result but no harm done.

03:29 Bianchi is making up for lost time and goes 18th, 0.2s behind Kobayashi and ahead of Gutierrez, Chilton, Ericsson and Raikkonen.

03:29 Raikkonen clearly won't be out at all this morning.

03:30 Grosjean is another man who runs wide at Turn 14.

03:31 And with that, FP1 finishes with Alonso at the top of the timesheets, ahead of Rosberg and Ricciardo.

03:34 Here's how the top six stacked up in that first session:

1 Alonso 1m39.783s
2 Rosberg +0.398s
3 Ricciardo +0.989s
4 Button +1.187s
5 Hulkenberg +1.392s
6 Magnussen +1.583s

03:36 Raikkonen was the only driver not to set a timed lap due to a technical issue, while Vergne had the most productive morning with 26 laps under his belt.

03:38 Stick with us on AUTOSPORT Live as we keep you up to date with everything going on in China between now and FP2.

Alonso03:43 Here's our comprehensive report from FP1, with Alonso beating Rosberg to the top spot in the opening session at the Chinese Grand Prix.

buttonAlonso and Ferrari lead first Friday practice

03:54 This hasn't been a bad venue for Alonso over the years.

With two wins in China (2005 and last year), he ties Lewis Hamilton for the most Shanghai triumphs, and he's led more laps here than anyone else with 119 at the head of the field over the years (32 more than next-best man Hamilton).

Alonso and Button are the only drivers who have finished every single time in the 10 Chinese GPs held to date.

More Chinese GP stats on FORIX

03:58 The expectation was that the news would be dominated by Mercedes' incredible intra-team Bahrain battle and the Red Bull Australian GP appeal hearing in the fortnight between Sakhir and Shanghai, but then Ferrari burst into the headlines on Monday with news of Stefano Domencali's shock departure.

His replacement Marco Mattiacci was swamped by photographers as he made his way into the paddock this morning during practice.

But Mattiacci's star employees seem nonplussed so far. Both Alonso and Raikkonen were quick to pay tribute to Domenicali when quizzed yesterday, and Raikkonen's "I don't know him. I've probably met him" summary of Mattiacci was pretty telling.

The F1 world gets to find out more about Mattiacci when he appears in the official press conference later today, and here are EDD STRAW's thoughts on why he got the nod:

ANALYSIS: Why Ferrari picked Mattiacci

Valtteri Bottas04:15 Valtteri Bottas was among the drivers absent from practice one as his Williams was in the hands of reserve driver Felipe Nasr.

But Bottas says missing the first session shouldn't be a huge handicap.

"Of course it's not ideal and it hurts a little bit but you just need to focus really well for FP2 and FP3 because in the end it is what it is and you can't change it.

"It's not a big problem so I'm not worried that it will hurt my performance on Sunday."

Back when it was Bottas on the Williams subs bench in 2012, he hopped in Bruno Senna's car on Friday mornings more often than not, which began to grate for the Brazilian after a while.

04:40 FIA president Jean Todt was present at the last round in Bahrain, and as usual when a big chief is in the paddock, it doesn't take many words to trigger a host of major news stories.

One of Todt's revelations a fortnight ago was that F1's latest cost cap plan had been abandoned.

That prompted anger and concern from the smaller teams in particular, and JONATHAN NOBLE has been hearing more from Sauber chief Monisha Kaltenborn this weekend. Kaltenborn reckons the big teams needs to stop thinking of themselves and think of the sport...

Sauber: F1's big teams have cost-cut duty

04:49 Todt's visit to the paddock came as the spats over the 2014 F1 spectacle and sound were coming to a head. Thankfully all of that was overshadowed by the spectacular race that followed - which Jenson Button was still raving about when BEN ANDERSON heard from him yesterday:

"I thought it was great – one of the most exciting races I've watched," said Button.

"It was unusual to see team-by-team all the way down to 10th – apart from me! I enjoyed being in the mix.

"I don't know if it's going to happen again this year, but there was some really good team rivalries out there. It was close to the edge but it all looked pretty good.

"It was great for the sport. We've had too much talk about the sound of the cars, but nobody noticed they were quiet when the cars were fighting and people were cheering at the TV."

But will it be the same again this weekend...?

"Bahrain was strange because we don't normally see that much overtaking. It was good to see.

"The first two [in Australia and Malaysia] weren't fantastic but they never are.

"This one should be better with the long straight, but hopefully it won't be too easy. With they way the power unit works there should be other opportunities to use the extra power to throw it up the inside.

"It should be a good race, I just hope we're all close in pace because it makes it more fun."

AUTOSPORT04:51 There's plenty more from Button in this week's AUTOSPORT magazine, where the cover star speaks at length about his F1 career and prospects for the future, having passed the milestone of 250 grands prix last time out.

05:08 Button has also had his say on Ferrari's appointment of Mattiacci, pointing out that it was an easier transition for McLaren's new racing chief Eric Boullier as he transferred from Lotus this year.

"It's different with everyone. Obviously with Eric, he's more experienced in Formula 1 whereas the guy who's taking over at Ferrari I don't think has that much experience of motor racing,

"But I don't think they would have employed him if they didn't think he was correct for the job and he'll be up to speed quickly.

"It's sad to see Stefano leave the sport, he's a real character and I got on with him very well, but this is a very tricky sport and a very competitive sport and when things aren't going right things need to change."

05:09 And here's long-time Maranello man Massa's view:

"Ferrari made some changes in a few months: me and some changes on the technical side as well.

"I have a great relationship with Stefano, I wish the best for him, I hope he has a great future even if it's not in Formula 1.

"He's a big professional and he can be very important for many different companies.

"I hope the best for Marco Mattiacci, who I know from Ferrari. He was working on the road cars.

"I hope he can help Ferrari to be better."

05:31 Just over half an hour to go until practice two begins. Last year it was Massa setting the pace in this session for Ferrari, with a 1m35.340s.

Meanwhile dawn is breaking across Europe, which means several major racing paddocks are stirring into life.

There's a huge amount going on around the racing world over the next three days, and in AUTOSPORT Race Centre Live you'll be able to follow commentary and updates from the British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park, the World Touring Car Championship and Auto GP at Paul Ricard, the Blancpain Sprint Series at Nogaro, and top of the bill, the opening round of the World Endurance Championship at Silverstone.

With Porsche, the 2014 WEC is hugely anticipated. In fact, according to AUTOSPORT's sportscar specialist GARY WATKINS, it's "the most eagerly-anticipated season of international sportscar racing ever":

WEC 2014: a sportscar fan's dream

05:42 EDD STRAW: "Track temperature is up to 21C now, that's slightly warmer than this morning's first session. Ambient up to 14C. Again, tyre warm-up will be a challenge."

05:44 We're expecting the full explanation from the FIA of its rejection of Red Bull's appeal to be published at some point today.

The team contended that Daniel Ricciardo's car had stayed within the fuel-flow limits based on its own data during the Australian GP, but the court disagreed.

Here's EDD STRAW's summary of how events unfolded in court, and his analysis of what the judgement means for F1.

Meanwhile Red Bull has made clear it will be sticking to what the fuel sensors say from now on - even when it thinks they're not working...

05:55 Hamilton was eighth fastest overall in FP1 and could only complete nine laps. The reason?

"It was a suspension issue this morning that limited running," says Mercedes. "Hoping to be back out in FP2!"

05:55 Five minutes to go until practice two. Practice one was all about Ferrari: the new boss turned up (and kept his sunglasses on), Alonso was quickest, but Raikkonen didn't run at all due to a technical problem.

06:00 Marginally warmer conditions this afternoon, with air and track temperatures 14 and 21 degrees Celsius respectively.

06:01 We're underway for practice two, with Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi first to exit the pitlane.

06:04 Drivers ran on the medium tyres in FP1 and struggled to get heat into them, but they should find the going a little easier when they switch to the softer option in this afternoon's session.

06:05 Adrian Sutil is our initial pacesetter on a 1m45.104s. He had to hand his Sauber to reserve driver Giedo van der Garde this morning so is in catch-up mode.

06:06 Daniil Kvyat now goes fastest with a 1m41.279s, with Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne slotting into second.

06:06 Raikkonen looks poised to join the action. He desperately needs to make up for the laps he lost this morning.

06:07 Grosjean sets 'purple' times in the first and third sectors, but is only third overall, 0.4s off Kvyat and 0.001s off Vergne.

06:07 We've had 12 cars out so far, still waiting to see Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes, Williams, Gutierrez and Hulkenberg.

06:08 Magnussen goes second for McLaren, 0.104s slower than Kvyat.

06:09 Button also improves and is now third fastest, 0.018s down on his McLaren team-mate.

06:10 EDD STRAW: "As usual, we are seeing everyone running on medium rubber early on in this session. Later on, they will bolt on the soft tyre for the first time, so it will be interesting to see how that behaves. We'll also see some more long runs this afternoon."

06:13 A host of cars have joined the fray in recent minutes, taking the list of no-shows so far down to Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton.

06:13 Now it's just Raikkonen and Hamilton left as Ricciardo and Alonso begin their first runs. Both the pitbound men had technical problems in practice one.

06:14 Good lap brewing from Vettel, could take him to the top or close to it.

06:14 The mechanics are still working on Hamilton's car at the moment as they try to fix his suspension issue.

06:15 Vettel does indeed go fastest, a 1m41.087s then beats Kvyat by two tenths.

06:15 The track temperature has inched up to its highest so far today at 22C.

06:15 But now here comes the Mercedes response, as Rosberg set a new benchmark in sector one.

06:16 Now it's Felipe Massa and Williams on top with a 1m40.788s, beating Vettel by a tenth and a half.

06:17 Rosberg comes through to beat everyone again, though. His Mercedes in 0.996s faster than Massa.

06:17 Ricciardo slips into the gap between Rosberg and Massa to take second.

06:17 And Raikkonen finally joins the fray.

06:17 Now it's Alonso back on top - he does a 1m39.251s and beats Rosberg by 0.541s.

06:19 Improvement from Bottas, bringing his Williams into sixth.

06:21 Raikkonen's first flying lap of the day puts him 15th.

06:22 Maldonado is the first to go out on the soft Pirellis this weekend.

06:24 That soft-tyre lap from Maldonado thrusts the Lotus up to fourth.

06:25 Meanwhile Raikkonen has moved up to seventh as he gets the Ferrari up to speed.

06:28 Hamilton's suspension problem is solved and the Mercedes takes to the track.

06:30 Rosberg is now out on the soft-compound Pirellis, so expect to see him hit top spot in the not-too-distant future.

06:30 Half an hour of the session completed and the main developments are:

* Alonso, Rosberg and Ricciardo are the current top three.
* Raikkonen's technical issue has been addressed and he is seventh fastest
* Hamilton had a suspension problem and missed the first 30 mins

06:32 Maldonado appears to have crashed into the wall on the approach to the pitlane.

06:33 Perez is now on softs and has moved up to third for Force India.

06:33 EDD STRAW: "We've seen Maldonado and Perez improve by two seconds on the softs compared to their medium-compound run. Rosberg improved by a second."

06:33 Rosberg shoots to first place on softs with a 1m38.726s, 0.525s quicker than Alonso's time on mediums.

Maldonado 200706:35 EDD STRAW: "That's not the first time we've seen Maldonado crash in a pit entry. He also did so during Friday practice in Malaysia when driving for Williams a few years ago.

06:36 Maldonado's mishap had shades of Hamilton's infamous crash at the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix which scuppered the Englishman's hopes of landing the title in his maiden year.

The Venezuelan is trundling back to the Lotus garage as his vehicle is extracted from the (minuscule) gravel trap.

06:37 Hamilton has completed his first run in the repaired Mercedes and is in fifth place.

06:41 Ricciardo takes second on soft tyres, his 1m38.811s just 0.085s off Rosberg.

06:41 But now Alonso beats them both, he puts Ferrari back on top by lapping in 1m38.456s, 0.270s ahead of Rosberg.

06:43 Further improvements on soft tyres bring Vettel, Massa and Grosjean into fourth, fifth and sixth.

06:46 Rosberg radios in for some future assistance: "Is there any way for you to help me out on the pit exit? I can't see anyone on the pit exit."

06:47 Hamilton goes top with a 1m38.315s, which is 0.141s faster than Alonso.

06:49 Magnussen moves back into the top 10 for McLaren (in 10th) with his soft tyre run, having slipped deep into the midfield as others changed rubber.

06:51 Ericsson and Raikkonen are the only drivers who have yet to run on the softs.

06:51 Now Magnussen is back down to 11th as his team-mate Button jumps to seventh.

06:56 Raikkonen embarks upon his second run and is now sampling the soft tyres.

06:59 That lap brings Raikkonen up to seventh place.

07:01 With half an hour left and everyone having done a soft-tyre run, here's the order:

1 Hamilton 1m38.315s
2 Alonso 1m38.456s
3 Rosberg 1m38.726s
4 Ricciardo 1m38.811s
5 Vettel 1m39.015s
6 Massa 1m39.118s
7 Raikkonen 1m39.283s
8 Button 1m39.491s
9 Grosjean 1m39.537s
10 Kvyat 1m39.648s
11 Hulkenberg 1m39.736s
12 Magnussen 1m39.744s
13 Vergne 1m39.759s
14 Bottas 1m39.930s
15 Perez 1m40.124s
16 Gutierrez 1m40.359s
17 Sutil 1m40.395s
18 Maldonado 1m40.455s
19 Bianchi 1m42.327s
20 Chilton 1m43.473s
21 Kobayashi 1m43.530s
22 Ericsson 1m43.679s

07:03 The main talking points with less than 30 minutes to go:

* Hamilton leads Alonso and Rosberg at the top of the timesheets
* Maldonado crashed into into the barriers on entry to the pitlane - à la Hamilton in the 2007 race.

07:05 "Other cars are having similar problems to yours," says Vettel's engineer, in reference to the graining issue he is encountering.

07:09 Replays show Hamilton accumulating a small flat spot on his front left tyre after locking up at Turn 14.

07:10 Everyone is out on long runs now bar Raikkonen, who is currently in the Ferrari pit. Missing out on practice one means his programme is slightly out of sync.

07:10 Rosberg pits before going back onto the medium tyres.

07:11 AUTOSPORT's EDD STRAW and GARY ANDERSON are already number-crunching their way through the times from these long runs to prepare their regular GP Form Guide feature later today.

07:12 Hamilton has a minor off-track moment, this time at Turn 6.

07:15 Chilton has a spin at Turn 2. The Briton is currently 20th, behind team-mate Bianchi.

07:19 Just over 10 minutes of the session to go and all 21 cars are on the track at the moment.

Romain Grosjean07:20 While the Lotus crew didn't sound too pleased at news of Maldonado's pitlane crash, Grosjean is giving it some definite encouragement.

When he jumped up the order earlier this afternoon, it seemed it might be an artificial effect of an early move to soft tyres, but he's hanging on in ninth.

This time a year ago, Kimi Raikkonen was second in this session for Lotus, but this is 2014 and any hint of top 10 presence is good news for Enstone right now.

07:23 "We're looking to extend this run for five more laps to get more info," Bottas is told over the radio. The Williams duo has been hurt by tyre issues this season.

07:27 Hamilton doesn't sound too happy at the end of his run: "Something is not right with this car at all - I'm coming in."

07:29 He dives into the pitlane, but rather than allow his mechanics to look at his car, does a practice getaway instead.

07:32 And that's the second session done and dusted, with Hamilton resuming Mercedes' practice domination by setting the fastest time in FP2.

07:34 Here's the top 10 from FP2:

1 Hamilton 1m38.135s
2 Alonso +0.141s
3 Rosberg +0.411s
4 Ricciardo +0.496s
5 Vettel +0.700s
6 Massa +0.803s
7 Raikkonen +0.968s
8 Button +1.176s
9 Grosjean +1.222s
10 Kvyat +1.333s

07:35 AUTOSPORT Live will be running for another few hours to bring you all the news, insight and reaction from the paddock.

Hamilton07:38 The full report from the second practice session is now available for you to read - full times and laps included:

buttonHamilton recovers to lead practice two

07:55 That was our 11th free practice session of F1 2014, and the ninth to be topped by a Mercedes driver.

But Alonso's quickest time this morning did break a string of top practice times for the Silver Arrows stretching back to Melbourne FP2. Alonso is the only man other than Hamilton or Rosberg to end a practice session fastest so far in 2014, having led first practice in both Australia and China.

Hamilton has had the edge in practice so far overall this year, topping six sessions to date compared to Rosberg's three.

08:00 The first non-F1 action of the weekend is already beginning, with the European Rally Championship contenders poised to start stage one of the 2014 Circuit of Ireland in just a few minutes.

AUTOSPORT's rally specialist DAVID EVANS is in the thick of it all and will be tweeting updates throughout the event.

You can also watch highlights videos on the AUTOSPORT rallying page, and we'll have full reports at the end of each day, as championship leader and local hero Craig Breen aims for the win he wants most of all.

08:06 Back in China, the media have gathered for this afternoon's FIA press conference, which will focus heavily on engines. As well as all four manufacturers currently running F1 engine programmes (including Honda), the FIA's Charlie Whiting is on hand to offer some insight.

08:06 Here's the press conference line-up in full:

Yasuhisa Arai (Honda)
Andrew Cowell (Mercedes)
Pat Fry (Ferrari)
Rob White (Renault Sport)
Charlie Whiting (FIA)

08:07 Both Red Bulls ended today in the top five, 0.8s off Hamilton, but closer to Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo thinks Mercedes should be aware that Red Bull "is coming"... but there won't be any deposing going on this weekend.

"I would like to think we have caught up, but I think they have got a bit more in there.

"We are making small improvements. The gap is a big one so it is not going to come over one race, but I feel we have crept up a little bit more.

"It is still a big one but we are coming. Bit by bit we will get there, and hopefully before too long we will get close."

08:10 Have Rosberg and Hamilton had the 'clear the air' chat about their Bahrain GP battle that the German suggested they would yesterday?

Well it's turning into a bit of a mystery. EDD STRAW is just back from the Mercedes drivers' post-session press scrums in which both men were asked if the meeting happened.

Hamilton replied: "No"...

...Rosberg replied: "Yeah, we sat down and went through everything. It's all behind us, so it's flat out full speed ahead."

Did Hamilton slip an imposter in to replace him? Has he forgotten the conversation? We'll have to try to find out...

08:11 Whiting kicks things off in the press conference, reminding everyone of why such a significant change of engine regulations was necessary for F1's future:

"F1 should be at the forefront of technology. It was clear that the manufacturers were looking towards conservation, so we felt we had to go that way.

"To ignore that would have been rather silly and we would have lost manufacturers, and possibly deterred others from coming in."

Whiting adds that when the discussions on the new rules started four years ago, the original target was to make them 50 per cent more efficient than the old V8 units, but that number has ended up being around 35 per cent.

Mercedes engine chief Andy Cowell adds that what has been achieved with the new rules still represents "a giant leap" for the sport.

Sebastian Vettel08:14 Here's Vettel's verdict on whether Red Bull is on Mercedes' heels this weekend - and it's a bit sceptical:

"Maybe they didn't run full beans today, so it's difficult to say. They are still the favourites and they are still quite far away.

"I was behind the Mercedes on the long run and it looked like they could do what they want.

"I think for us it was a good day but not yet at their level."

08:17 Renault has had a troubled start to these new engine regulations, but Rob White is full of support for the new rules.

"The main problem is that Mercedes has won more than we would like them to! I think the numbers involved were well-judged.

"The fuel limits play out more or less as was predicted, and there hasn't been an excessive amount of fuel saving that has damaged the show."

08:22 Ferrari's Pat Fry is asked if the Italian manufacturer has managed to get its engine down to the minimum weight limit, as there has been speculation since before pre-season testing that the Ferrari engine is overweight.

"We are fairly close to the weight limit," says Fry. "I'm sure everyone is struggling. It's quite a challenge, and we are just on that limit."

08:22 Latest on and off-track updates in the AUTOSPORT gallery from China include Nico Hulkenberg showing how sideways a 2014 F1 car can get and Rob Smedley showing off a sleek new haircut:

Chinese GP weekend in pictures

08:27 The engine representatives are currently being cagey on how this new generation of engines will develop over the next few years, particularly in terms of efficiency.

Cowell of Mercedes shies away from a prediction, but as an example of the rate of progress in F1, he points out that in the normally-aspirated era (from 1989-2013) "we used to think 13,000rpm was impressive, and we ended up getting them up to 20,000rpm".

White adds that we should expect the progress, this year and with newly-homologated units for 2015, to be "rapid".

08:39 Unsurprisingly for a press conference devoted to engines, the subject of noise has been brought up (by AUTOSPORT's Gary Anderson, no less).

The first meetings of a "consultancy process" to look into the issue of noise are taking place this afternoon in China, but the manufacturers are warning against expecting much of a change.

"I don't see the need to change the noise," says Cowell. "The reason the engine is quieter is the turbine wheel and the muffling effect you get from that. That's one of the key technologies for recycling waste energy, but perhaps there are other things we can do to help the noise."

White adds: "Tailpipe changes could be the way to go. The scope to fundamentally change the noise is limited by the type of technology we have deployed. Therefore we need to be realistic about the scope of any action we take. But we are sensitive to the subject and we will participate in any discussions, like those that are taking place today."

08:42 Honda's Arai is pushed on the Japanese firm's plans to supply customer teams as its stay in F1 develops beyond 2015:

"In 2015 McLaren is our only customer. I don't think about the future. We want to concentrate on next season - we want to get good results. If a team wants to use our engine [in the future] we can deliver that, but right now there are no plans."

08:47 Today's FIA press conference on the subject of engines concludes with the topic of manufacturers being granted concessions in this first year of the new regulations.

Charlie Whiting is asked how the FIA can be sure that teams are not gaining performance when applying for engine changes on reliability grounds:

"We are confident that the changes we have allowed so far are purely for reliability reasons. When changes are made we circulate them to the other manufacturers, which gives them the opportunity to highlight any 'back door' treatment that could gain performance."

08:50 Jean-Eric Vergne thinks Toro Rosso "look pretty good" on race pace, but not so sharp for qualifying at present.

"After today's sessions we feel confident we can have a good car for Sunday. As for tomorrow, I think we still have some work to do."

He was seventh in practice one and 13th in practice two, while team-mate Daniil Kvyat was 11th and 10th.

09:04 JONATHAN NOBLE is heading off to what might be the most eagerly-anticipated event of the weekend - new Ferrari boss Matteo Mattiacci's first F1 media session. We'll bring you all the news from the briefing on AUTOSPORT as soon as it's over.

09:12 Is Jenson Button satisfied with McLaren's form today?

"No, definitely not. There are a few things we can do overnight, but I'm not sure we're as competitive as the last race.

"But then in Bahrain we weren't that competitive on the long runs in FP2."

He cites front tyre graining as a worry, but also adds: "there are a lot of cars that seem out of place - some too fast, some too slow - so we'll have to see the picture tomorrow."

09:20 No major issues for Caterham today, with plenty of running both for Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericcson.

The Japanese admits his car's balance still needs work though.

"Over lunch we made a couple of changes to the car but in the first FP2 run it was a lot more snappy than it had been in the morning session so we made some more mechanical changes for the second run and there was an improvement, still a bit too much oversteer but definitely a step in the right direction. "

09:25 Sauber believes it will be closer to its rivals than it was in Bahrain thanks to an improve top speed.

Adrian Sutil, however, concedes there is still work to do.

"The driveability of the car is still not easy. I am struggling with the tyres to get them to work.

"There is still a lot of work ahead of us. In comparison to Bahrain, I think we had more straight line top speed, which brings us closer to the teams in front of us."

09:33 Felipe Massa is very positive about Williams' form thanks to the introduction of new pieces which he reckons have helped the team take a step forward.

"All of the upgrades we brought here have improved performance which is really positive. Having new parts that we will use is good news as we have made some good steps forward."

09:56 Pastor Maldonado has taken responsibility for his crash during second practice:

Maldonado takes full blame for practice crash

11:27 That's it from AUTOSPORT's live coverage from China today. We'll see you bright and early tomorrow for coverage of final practice and qualifying, with our usual new-for-2014 pre and post-session updates from the paddock as well. Enjoy the rest of your day.

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Friday 18 Apr Start GMT
 Friday - Practice 01:30
Saturday 19 Apr
 Saturday - Qualifying 02:30
Sunday 20 Apr
 Sunday - Chinese GP 05:30
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