Raikkonen leads way as Ferrari dominate China practice

Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:30pm EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SHANGHAI, (Reuters) - Kimi Raikkonen set the pace ahead of Sebastian Vettel in Friday practice for the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix as the Ferrari pair dislodged the dominant Mercedes duo.

Finn Raikkonen, a former winner for Ferrari in China, jumped to the top of the order with a one minute 36.896 second lap in the second session, beating German team mate Vettel by 0.109 seconds.

Ferrari were tipped pre-season to challenge Mercedes’ two-year dominance and the Italian team desperately need a trouble-free weekend if they are two live up to that promise after suffering reliability issues in the season’s opening two races.

Raikkonen and Vettel initially appeared to be struggling, with the Finn in particular repeatedly complaining over the radio about his car’s handling.

But the duo turned the tables on their German rivals in the afternoon with their runs on the fastest, red-walled, super-soft compound tire, making that session just the second time this season that a Mercedes has not finished at the top.

“It’s been quite a tricky day,” Raikkonen said.

“I don’t know if it’s the conditions or the wind or something but I was sliding a lot and obviously not feeling very nice.

“Once we put the supersoft tires on we have more grip from the tires and that helps. For whatever reason we’ve been quite struggling apart from the supersoft tire.”   Continued...

Formula One - Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai, China - 4/15/16 - Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland drives during the first practice session. REUTERS/Aly Song