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SHANGHAI, China -- Mercedes set the fastest practice times again at the Chinese Grand Prix on Friday, though rivals Ferrari and Red Bull may have closed the gap somewhat on Formula Ones runaway leader. Jamaal Tinsley Jersey . Mercedes Lewis Hamilton, winner of the past two F1 races, was quickest around the Shanghai International Circuit in the afternoon session after a suspension problem limited him to only nine laps in the morning session. Ferraris Fernando Alonso, however, was just 0.141 seconds behind Hamilton under the watch of new team principal Marco Mattiacci, who arrived in Shanghai to take charge following Stefano Domenicalis abrupt departure this week. Alonso also set the quickest time during the morning practice. Hamilton was delayed in the garage for a half hour in the afternoon session while his crew tried to resolve the suspension trouble. "Its great to be still up front even though we have those issues," he said. "But, still, you want to get the car ready, you want to get the long runs feeling a little better, so theres some work to do." Teammate Nico Rosberg had the third-fastest practice time, about 0.4 seconds behind Hamilton. He said Mercedes still expects to win the race on Sunday, even if its rivals performed well in practice. "Were still looking pretty decent at the moment," he said. "The competitors are pushing -- today, Ferrari was very close." Mercedes has dominated the season, with Hamilton winning in Bahrain and Malaysia and Rosberg in Australia. Only an engine problem on Hamiltons car in the opening race in Melbourne prevented three successive one-two finishes. But Alonso, the defending Chinese GP champion, kept pace with them in the cool conditions of Shanghai, indicating his struggling team may just emerge as a challenger on Sunday. Ferrari has lagged behind Mercedes following the series switch to V6 turbo hybrid engines, and new fuel-saving regulations. The slow start prompted Ferrari to part ways with Domenicali after six years, replacing him with Mattiacci, formerly president of Ferrari North America. Red Bull also kept up the pace on Friday, with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Ricciardo said, however, he believes Mercedes may have been holding back during practice. "We have to see where they are tomorrow. The gap seems a bit too close for now," he said. "I would like to say weve caught up but theyve got a bit more in there." He was pleased with Red Bulls improvement since Bahrain, where both drivers finished off the podium. "Were making small improvements," Ricciardo said. "I mean, the gap is a big one so its not going to come over one race, but weve crept up a little bit more." Felipe Massa of Williams was sixth fastest in afternoon practice, followed by Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen, who missed the morning session due to a mechanical problem. McLarens Jenson Button, Lotus Romain Grosjean and Toro Rossos Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top 10. Smog hampered visibility at the circuit on Thursday, but conditions were relatively clear for Fridays practice. Rain and cool temperatures were forecast for Saturdays qualifying session. Glenn Robinson III Jersey . -- DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points, nine rebounds and six steals to lead the Sacramento Kings to their third straight preseason win, a 107-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night. Bob Netolicky Jersey . Hamels threw seven sharp innings to earn his 100th career victory, Domonic Brown had a career-best five RBIs and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-1 on Saturday night to end a four-game losing streak. https://www.cheappacers.com/ . A wide-eyed 18-year-old visiting North America for only the second time in his young life, Caboclo immediately noticed the "big tower" his new home is best known for. GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes knew Mike Ribeiro had behavioural issues when they signed him before last season, but hoped a reunion with coach Dave Tippett would help him. It didnt, at least not to the Coyotes satisfaction. The Coyotes initiated a buyout of the final three years of Ribeiros contract on Friday, parting ways with their top off-season acquisition from a year ago. "Mike had some real behavioural issues we felt we could not tolerate going forward," Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. The Coyotes had sought a playmaking centre for years and appeared to have landed one when they signed Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million contract last off-season. He was one of the top free agents on the market last year and was considered a major couup for the franchises new ownership group, IceArizona, which had agreed on a lease agreement to keep the team in Glendale just three days earlier. JaKarr Sampson Jersey. The 34-year-old Ribeiro showed flashes of the brilliance he had in Washington, where he played at a point-per-game pace during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. But as the season wore on, Ribeiro became less effective and struggled with personal problems despite playing for Tippett, his former coach in Dallas. Ribeiro was a healthy scratch in games against Pittsburgh and New Jersey late in the season while the Coyotes were fighting for a playoff spot and was largely ineffective down the stretch. He finished with 16 goals and 31 assists in 80 games. The Coyotes became the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. ' ' '
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