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As it happened: Friday Morning Practice
By Geoff Creighton and Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
01:45 Hello everyone and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live for round three of the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The fortnight since Malaysia has been a busy period for the sport, with the International Court of Appeal ruling that the 'double-decker' diffusers are legal. The teams have flown back out to the far east and, with the fallout continuing from that verdict, we are ready for the 2009 Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit.

01:46 Today, we will guide you through the opening practice sessions with minute-by-minute commentary as the teams and drivers begin their build-up to the race.

First practice will begin shortly, with commentary ending 15 minutes after the session has concluded.

Later, at 05:45 GMT, we will return for live coverage of the second practice session. AUTOSPORT Live will end the day with a weekend weather forecast, on the Chinese Grand Prix weather page.

01:48 AUTOSPORT forum members are invited to join the fun throughout the weekend, offering thoughts and opinions as the event unfolds.

• Will the 'diffuser gang' face any stiffer competition than they did during the opening two rounds of the campaign?
• How will the tyres fare this weekend? - We will have more on this before the start of the practice session.
• No trick diffuser and no KERS, yet Red Bull Racing have been consistently fast so far in 2009. Can they maintain their challenge to the front-running teams?

Tell everyone what you think.

Click the SHOW LIVE FORUM link in the red bar at the bottom of your browser window if you'd like to join the debate.

Brawn win in Australia01:49 Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Brawn GP go into the third round of the season with a clear decision regarding the legality of their car and a handy lead in both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

Button leads the drivers' standings after two events with 15 points, five ahead of Barrichello. Jarno Trulli is third with 8.5 points, supported by his team-mate Timo Glock on eight points. Nick Heidfeld is fifth in the table with four points, and Fernando Alonso lies sixth, also on four points. Nico Rosberg, Sebastien Buemi, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Bourdais are the only other drivers to have scored in the two action-packed races so far.

To everyone's surprise, Ferrari have yet to finish in the top eight and prop up the constructors' table, along with Force India. Brawn GP have amassed 25 points and start the Shanghai weekend with a healthy lead over Toyota who have 16.5 points. These are the only two outfits to post double-figures, with BMW third in the table on four points.

01:50 Sunny skies and cool air temperatures will be perfect for the 2.4 litre V8 racing engines today as the drivers and teams get to grips with the 5.448 km Shanghai International Circuit.

Some clouds could be dotted around the skyline during this first session, but nothing to cause any real concern. Later this afternoon any cloud should move away, leaving clear skies. The maximum air temperature today is expected to reach 18 degrees Celsius.

01:51 Pitlane notes ahead of today's practice sessions:

Minor cosmetic surgery has been completed at the Shanghai International Circuit following the 2008 race in October.

• The artificial grass on the exit of Turn 10 has been renewed.
• The white lines marking the edge of the track surface have been doubled in width.
• The pit entry has been widened immediately before the pitlane itself.

BMW will run the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) on both cars for the first time today. Until now, Nick Heidfeld has run alone with the system, but today Robert Kubica will also have the system installed on his F1.09. A decision on whether to run KERS on Kubica's car for the remainder of the weekend will be taken following the Friday practice sessions.

Kubica to use KERS on Friday

In the opposite direction, Ferrari have ditched the controversial KERS system this weekend in China, following reliability problems experienced during the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Team Boss Stefano Domenicali outlined the reasons when he spoke to AUTOSPORT yesterday in the build-up to the event.

Ferrari will not run KERS in China

Soft tyres01:53 The selection of Bridgestone tyres for this event looks set to be a major factor, with concerns already raised that the super-soft compound will not be well suited to the Shanghai International Circuit.

Six months ago, on Formula 1's previous visit to China, Bridgestone supplied the hardest tyres in its range: the medium and hard. This year, the tyre supplier is offering the softest possible selection under the revised scheme of having two steps between the available compounds - the medium and super-soft.

With the super-soft tyre proving particularly fragile in Australia, the concern is that Shanghai's range of challenging corners corners will quickly destroy the softer option tyre.

This, allied with cool temperatures due to the early-season date of the race this year, could see a lot of driver complaints about the state of their tyres after only a handful of laps - particularly during today's sessions when there is little rubber on the asphalt surface.

Alonso slams 'ridiculous' tyre choice

01:55 Practice in China gets underway in five minutes.

01:56 The ambient temperature is a chilly 16 Celsius, with the track only 25 degrees despite it being a sunny day at the circuit.

01:57 McLaren has already taken advantage of the recent diffuser ruling by fitting revised parts at the rear of the MP4-24. The Renault team is also expected to introduce diffuser changes this weekend.

02:00 A sparse crowd is on hand at the circuit, with the keen Chinese followers ready for the first practice session.

0 min: The practice session is underway.

0 min: Adrian Sutil and Sebastian Vettel are the first two drivers to take to the track this morning.

2 min: The drivers slowly bring their machines out onto the circuit for the first time this weekend. Installation laps are in progress as they check over the systems on the cars to make sure everything functions properly.

5 min: Felipe Massa is out on track and weaving from side to side as he puts a heat cycle through a set of the medium compound Bridgestone tyres.

Exiting Turn 14 Felipe gives a blast of acceleration to check the grip level underneath him, and quickly finds out that there is not much, as the Ferrari F60 darts and twitches around under power.

5 min: Lewis Hamilton heads out of the McLaren garage in the revised MP4-24. The world champion is testing a new front wing this morning as part of a new aerodynamic package.

6 min: Felipe Massa has stepped out of his Ferrari and clearly won't be running again for quite a while.

8 min: In the garages, the teams will now be checking over the cars and telemetry data to ensure everything is in working order.

Rubens Barrichello is currently the only driver on the circuit, as he makes his way round on his installation lap.

8 min: Barrichello returns to the pits, and the track falls silent.

10 min: Nick Heidfeld is now on track for his first lap of the weekend.

11 min: Timo Glock also emerges from the pits in the Toyota. He is the last of the 20 drivers to take a lap around the circuit.

12 min: Glock has come out with the super-soft tyre bolted on, and he is taking his installation lap very cautiously.

He returns to the pitlane, and the track is empty of cars once again.

14 min: There seems to be a lack of urgency to get the main running of the practice session underway. Many of the drivers are out of their cars and it looks like there will be a long wait for the action to resume.

16 min: Fernando Alonso is one of the few to remain in his car, while along the pitlane routine work continues.

17 min: Lewis Hamilton breaks the silence as he heads out in the McLaren. The team are clearly keen to get on with testing the aerodynamic revisions to the car, including a revised diffuser design.

17 min: Sebastien Buemi has also come out in the Toro Rosso entry.

18 min: Hamilton has the super-soft tyre on his McLaren.

19 min: Buemi continues on his outlap from the pits, meantime Robert Kubica looks relaxed in the BMW garage.

19 min: Lewis crosses the line and looks to be going for a timed lap.

19 min: Sebastien Buemi crosses the line to start his first timed lap of the weekend.

21 min: Kazuki Nakajima has also joined the racetrack, as Buemi completes his first timed effort. The time is 1:41.316.

21 min: Hamilton slows at the end of his lap to let Buemi through and his time is only a 1:55.796.

23 min: Nakajima starts his first timed lap, as Buemi charges on in the Toro Rosso, and lowers his time to 1:39.959 on his second lap.

23 min: Hamilton continues with a gentle series of laps as he is told over the radio to test the controls for his new front wing.

24 min: Timo Glock comes out, as Nakajima posts his first time on the board. 1:42.651 is a couple of seconds slower than Buemi so far, with Hamilton third.

25 min: Sebastien Buemi does not improve on his third timed lap. The tour included a moment where he ran slightly wide exiting the final corner - Turn 16.

25 min: Heikki Kovalainen heads out in his McLaren. The Finn's car does not yet have all the revised components that his team-mate is testing at the moment.

26 min: Kimi Raikkonen is also heading into a timed lap with the harder tyres on his Ferrari.

27 min: Replays show Raikkonen braked a little late into Turn 14 at the end of the long back straight. He recovered via the run-off and continues on this lap.

28 min: Kazuki Nakajima improves on his second timed lap to 1:39.976, just 0.017s behind current pacesetter Sebastien Buemi. The transponder on the car didn't trigger the timing beam initially, but soon the time appeared, once the data was gathered from the back-up system.

28 min: Raikkonen clocks a 1:39.532 for his first time of the day.

29 min: Sebastien Buemi improves slightly to a 1:39.395 as the pace increases.

Only four drivers have posted times so far, but more are coming out and laps wil soon be put on the board by most of the competitors.

29 min: Felipe Massa joins his team-mate on the circuit and was weaving heavily in the pitlane as he headed out on to the circuit.

30 min: Jarno Trulli goes fastest in the Toyota with his first flying lap of the day. 1:39.269 is just over a tenth of a second ahead of Buemi, with Nakajima third and Hamilton in the pits in fourth.

30 min: Sebastien Bourdais is on his first flyer, and he posts 1:41.532 to move into fifth position.

31 min: Felipe Massa slots in fifth quickest with a time of 1:39.514.

34 min: Jarno Trulli is fastest again following a brief appearance at the top of the order by Kimi Raikkonen.

However, there are problems for the Italian and he is now touring slowly back to the pits with a technical issue.

35 min: Trulli reported on the team radio that his steering wheel display had disappeared, so he was cautiously bring the TF109 back to the pits.

36 min: Felipe Massa is up to second quickest in the Ferrari as these very early times continue to improve.

36 min: Trulli coaxes his Toyota back to the pitlane, and the mechanics will now go to work on the problem that cut short his first run of the day.

37 min: Meantime, Nico Rosberg has moved up into second place with a time of 1:38.174, with the Ferraris third and fourth, Sebastien Bourdais fifth and Fernando Alonso in sixth position.

38 min: Felipe Massa reports a bit of graining and loss of grip from his set of the harder Bridgestone tyre option.

40 min: Fernando Alonso is now on a quicker lap in the Renault. He rounds the final corners of the lap, crosses the line and moves up into third place with 1:38.089.

Jarno Trulli is in the pits but remains fastest so far, with Nico Rosberg second in the Williams.

40 min: Lewis Hamilton is back out in the McLaren and was on for a quick time before running wide at the Turn 14 hairpin. He is seventh quickest at the moment.

41 min: Timo Glock has moved into fourth in the Red Bull Renault, with Mark Webber fifth and Sebastian Vettel in sixth position as the early laps continue.

41 min: Hamilton is now using the harder tyre, having tested the softer option early in the session.

Lewis clocks a 1:38.270 to edge up to sixth quickest.

42 min: Brawn GP have been quiet so far in the session, but both drivers are now on their first flying laps of the weekend. We can expect to see them post a time on the board very soon.

44 min: Heikki Kovalainen sets a 1:37.871 to move up to fifth quickest.

45 min: Lewis Hamilton meanwhile tops the order with a lap of 1:37.603.

46 min: Mark Webber moves up behind Hamilton into second place with 1:37.752.

Timo Glock misses his braking point for Turn 11 while pushing hard in the Toyota. He goes across the extra tarmac and continues on this run of laps.

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello have completed their first laps and have moved into sixth and seventh positions.

47 min: Timo Glock has been off the road for a second time at Turn 14. He runs wide, off the track but continues seemingly without damage. Again, he stays out and continues this run of laps.

48 min: Jenson Button now gets going, and the Briton moves up to head the list with 1:37.450.

49 min: Jenson pushes on for another lap, and his mirrors are wobbling wildly on the long back straight. He is out there using the medium compound tyre, but fails to improve on his latest lap.

49 min: Track conditions remain poor in these early stages and grip levels appear to be very low in the cool temperatures.

50 min: Rubens Barrichello makes it a Brawn GP one-two with a time of 1:37.593, with the McLarens of Hamilton and Kovalainen third and fourth.

52 min: The majority of the field have their cars in the pits at the moment as the teams analyse data collected during the first runs and look at how to improve the handling.

54 min: Force India drivers Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella are both on track and continuing with a run of laps on the medium compound tyre.

Sutil is currently 16th in the standings, and was set for an improving laptime, but at the end of the long straight he left his braking slightly late and missed the Turn 14 apex by a distance. He has continued, but has just been demoted by Kazuki Nakajima who has moved into 16th. Fisichella is faring better - the Italian is 14th at the moment.

54 min: Sutil gets a clean lap on his next attempt and moves up to 11th with a time of 1:38.345.

55 min: Up front, the top ten drivers remain in the pits, as Sutil pushes on. His first sector time is the fastest of all so far, but again his is wide at Turn 14. Ultimately there is no improvement in laptime, but he can go quicker if he can keep it together.

56 min: Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa head out for another run.

57 min: Mark Webber also comes out onto the track for his second run of the day.

58 min: Adrian Sutil has improved slightly but remains in 11th place, as Mark Webber now commences his first timed lap on this latest run.

58 min: Massa is again weaving his Ferrari from side-to-side on the long back straight ahead of this timed lap. He is clearly hoping this builds some heat into his set of the harder tyre option.

60 min: Webber completes that effort but there is no improvement in time. He remains fifth fastest behind the Brawn GP and McLaren Mercedes cars.

Jarno Trulli is sixth and still in the pits with that technical problem, with Rosberg seventh, Glock eighth, Alonso ninth and Sebastien Bourdais moving up into the top ten.

61 min: Lewis Hamilton demonstrates power oversteer in his McLaren at Turn 4 as he exits the opening complex of corners, laying an impressive stripe of rubber on the circuit.

61 min: Jenson Button emerges from the Brawn GP garage, and we wait to see if he can maintain his position at the top of the leaderboard.

61 min: Hamilton goes to top the order with a 1:37.334 in the McLaren.

62 min: Many of the drivers are now on track as we move into the final 30 minutes of the session.

62 min: Massa meanwhile clocks a poor 1:39.000, with the front left tyre of his Ferrari looking particularly unhealthy.

63 min: Jarno Trulli has come out of the pits in the Toyota. He was forced to end his first run early when the TF109 slowed on the circuit.

63 min: "The graining is just huge - much worse than before," reports Massa on the radio as he struggles on using the harder tyre.

64 min: Nelson Piquet locks up his front left tyre heavily entering Turn 11 and slides onward to the extra tarmac area. No damage done and he stays out there on this current run of laps. Piquet is currently 19th in the standings.

65 min: Hamilton pits his McLaren after the latest run that has put him on top of the session so far.

66 min: Jarno Trulli is setting quick sector times on his second run of laps - the earlier problem appearing to be fixed so far.

So far, Jenson Button has not been able to improve in the Brawn. Lewis Hamilton's 1:37.334 is just over one-tenth of a second faster than him.

68 min: Heikki Kovalainen has clear graining on the rear tyres of his McLaren and he clocks a 1:38.247 on his latest tour - almost a second slower than his team-mate's benchmark.

68 min: Felipe Massa meanwhile has pitted the Ferrari after a quick spin at the Turn 14 hairpin.

71 min: Jenson Button has returned to the pits in the Brawn. A short run of laps for the championship leader on that occasion, resulting in no overall improvement in laptime. He remains second to Hamilton.

Meantime his team-mate Rubens Barrichello is flying in the middle sector, but ultimately he does not improve and remains third.

74 min: The field spread in the session is close - as it has been during most of the practice sessions in 2009. 1.1 seconds covers first down to 17th place, as we see Kazuki Nakajima running wide at Turn 1 and taking to the run-off area.

The Japanese driver rejoins without damage in the Williams.

74 min: Heikki Kovalainen pits the McLaren after his latest run of laps, which eventually yielded a 1:37.672 to put him fourth quickest.

76 min: With 15 minutes remaining in the first practice session, Lewis Hamilton is fastest with 1:37.334. Jenson Button is second in the Brawn with his team-mate Barrichello still third. Heikki Kovalainen is fourth with Mark Webber fifth and Jarno Trulli in sixth place.

77 min: Lewis Hamilton has set the pace in this session so far and is now out for another run in the revised McLaren.

78 min: Kazuki Nakajima is having an adventure on this current run of laps. Earlier, he ran wide at Turn 1, and then a moment ago the Williams driver missed his braking point for Turn 14 and slid on towards the extra tarmac area.

He has since returned to the pits and is down in 18th position in the standings.

79 min: Hamilton clocks a slow 1:39.557 to start this run as Kimi Raikkonen heads out.

80 min: The Brawn GP duo, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, come out of the pits for their final run of laps in the first session.

82 min: Mark Webber also heads out in the Red Bull RB5, with more drivers following him for their final runs.

82 min: Nick Heidfeld is 15th quickest at the moment in the BMW and is another car lapping with visible graining on his medium compound tyres.

The German fails to slow enough and runs wide at the Turn 14 hairpin on his latest lap.

85 min: Rubens Barrichello posts his fastest sector time of the session in the first section, but cannot carry that speed through to the end of the lap. No improvement for the Brazilian and he remains third fastest behind Lewis Hamilton, and his team-mate Jenson Button.

85 min: The teams continue to favour the harder tyre option at this point, despite the widespread troubles with graining.

The super-soft compound is expected to be particularly fragile, so they will be waiting until the track conditions improve further in the second session before deploying the softer rubber.

88 min: Sebastien Buemi is at the foot of the list, but he improves to 19th fastest with 1:38.768. Sebastien of course has spent much of the session learning this, one of the most technical circuits in the world with a tremendously difficult first series of corners, in a Formula 1 car for the first time. Undoubtedly it will have taken a few laps for the Swiss to find the best line through the tricky first few corners, but so far he has acquitted himself well, and is just 1.4 seconds off the leading pace.

89 min: Heikki Kovalainen is on a lap in his McLaren, setting the fastest first sector. A lock-up into turn 11 slows his effort to a 1:37.716 and he remains fourth.

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

03:32 Lewis Hamilton bounces back to form in the McLaren Mercedes, clocking the fastest time in the first practice session for Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix. 1:37.334 sees the world champion edge his fellow-Briton Jenson Button into second place, with Rubens Barrichello making it a Brawn GP two-three.

Heikki Kovalainen is fourth in the second McLaren, with Mark Webber fifth, Jarno Trulli sixth and Nico Rosberg in seventh position.

03:33 All cars are now back in the pits. The teams and drivers will spend most of the break assessing the tyre wear and discussing set-ups, with a view to improving the balance of their cars in the second session later this afternoon.

03:34 Sebastien Buemi put in a cracking performance on his final lap of the session, moving up from 19th to 13th position with a laptime of 1:38.307 - less than one second away from Hamilton's leading practice pace.

03:35 There is plenty for the teams to do in the break as they consider a lot of problems with the tyre performance with the current track conditions.

The lack of rubber on the circuit and the cool temperatures are already providing the tyre troubles that were expected before the session.

03:36 The session report is now available:

Hamilton sets the early pace in China

03:40 With the diffuser ruling now final, the teams came to Shanghai in various states of development - especially at the rear of their cars.

Judging from the timesheet, McLaren would appear to have bounced back with upgrades to the MP4-24, but Brawn GP still look like the cars to beat.

Behind them, Toyota look strong despite technical problems for Jarno Trulli and off-track excursions hampering Timo Glock's morning. Ferrari continue their run outside the top ten, and are clearly struggling with their tyres, but will be looking to move up the order in session two.

Will it be the McLaren and Brawn show again later? Join us at 05:45 GMT to find out.

Session length: 90 minutes
Clear skies High Temp: 18°C / 64°F
Track: Dry
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Monday 13 Apr Start GMT
 Chinese Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 17 Apr
 Friday Morning Practice 01:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 05:45
Saturday 18 Apr
 Saturday Practice 02:45
 Qualifying 05:45
Sunday 19 Apr
 Race day at Shanghai International Circuit 05:30
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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