Hamilton Tops Practice 1 in China, McLaren Debut Interim Diffuser

Who said Brawn GP can't be touched? McLaren sure didn't, as reigning champion Lewis Hamilton stormed to the top of the first practice session in China, some 0.116 seconds clear of championship favorite and fellow countryman Jenson Button.

While keeping quiet over the events that happened over the past few days – and we obviously refer to the International Court of Appeal ruling the double-decker diffuser designs – McLaren have walked the walk and came up with an interim rear diffuser ready for the very Chinese Grand Prix. Hamilton's revised McLaren MP4-24 was the fastest car of the morning session, while joined by teammate Heikki Kovalainen inside the Top 5.

Hamilton lapped the Shanghai International Circuit in a best time of 1:37.334, while followed by Button with his 1:37.450. Completing the morning session podium was Brawn GP's veteran Rubens Barrichello (1:37.566), ahead of Kovalainen (1:37.672) and Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber (1: 37.752).

Practice Session 1 of the Chinese GP this weekend was affected, as expected, by several tire-related problems. During the course of the 90-minute on-track action, the temperatures climbed by more than 6 degrees (reaching over 33 Celsius in the late minutes) causing poor track adherence to the tires.

As a result, no less than 8 cars spun during the hour-and-a-half practice, including Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (Ferrari), Timo Glock, (Toyota), Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber), Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet (Renault), Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima (Williams). As reported by Formula 1's official website, no cars were damaged in the process.

Here are the complete timesheet of today's Practice 1 in China:

1. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes)              1:37.334
2. Jenson Button (Brawn GP-Mercedes)             1:37.450
3. Rubens Barrichello (Brawn GP-Mercedes)      1:37.566
4. Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren-Mercedes)          1:37.672
5. Mark  Webber (Red Bull-Renault)                    1:37.752
6. Jarno Trulli (Toyota)                                          1:37.764
7. Nico Rosberg ( Williams-Toyota)                      1:37.860
8. Timo Glock (Toyota)                                          1:37.894
9. Fernando Alonso (Renault)                               1:38.089
10. Sebastien Bourdais (Toro Rosso-Ferrari)       1:38.195
11. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)                                 1:38.223
12. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault)               1:38.274
13. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso-Ferrari)           1:38.307
14. Adrian Sutil (Force India-Mercedes)               1:38.319
15. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)                                     1:38.418
16. Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber)                          1:38.456
17. Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India-Mercedes)  1:38.460
18. Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber)                        1:38.463
19. Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota)                1:38.730
20. Nelson Piquet (Renault)                                  1:38.825
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