Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas topped the timing screens at the end of the first day of free practice of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, Round 3 of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship, at Shanghai International Circuit.

Bottas set a best lap of 1:33.330 which was enough to keep him top of the timing screens at the end of FP2, a couple of hundredths faster than Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen third quickest, two tenths down on the top time and suggesting a threeway team battle for top honours on Sunday.

It was not all good news for Verstappen as late in the session he reported that “something is not right” while suggesting over the radio a problem with his clutch.

Lewis Hamilton survived a spin to set the fourth fastest time, seven-tenths down on his teammate at the top of the timesheets. However, it should be noted the reigning F1 World Champion was baulked during his hot lap when Romain Grosjean’s Haas parted company with its front wing.

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Amid ongoing debate about the Formula 1 versus Formula E, Venturi team owner Susie Wolff believes the two single-seater series can exist side-by-side as the ethos of each series is vastly different as are the budgets.

It would be fair to assume that the wife of Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff will know a thing or two about where the marque is going with their motorsport programme, while her own experience as an owner offers an interesting insight into the great debate.

In her column for the Financial Times, Wolff wrote, “Since arriving in Formula E last year, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is: Will Formula E ever replace Formula One? The short answer, in my view, is no. More to the point, nor should it: the two series are so very different.”

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