(CNN) -- Former world champion Lewis Hamilton tops the timesheets after Friday's practice session for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
The 25-year-old Briton -- who won in China on his way to taking the 2008 world title -- recorded a time of one minute 35.217 seconds, a quarter of a second quicker than the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton's McLaren teammate and current world champion Jenson Button was third with Michael Schumacher fourth for Mercedes.
The Red Bulls of Malaysia winner Sebastian Vettel and his teammate Mark Webber were fifth and sixth.
Despite his performance, Hamilton sounded a word of warning about his hopes of winning on Sunday.
"We may have topped the timesheets in each session, but I don't necessarily think today's times make us favorites for this race," Hamilton told the official Formula One Web site.
"The car does feel good, but our pace looks pretty similar to some of the other cars on long runs. We'll now keep our heads down and concentrate on gaining a strong qualifying position on Saturday."
Meanwhile, Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi was fortunate to walk away unhurt after his front suspension completely collapsed going into a corner, resulting in both front wheels spinning off and bouncing into the spectator area
The 21-year-old's car veered into the barriers at high-speed in the morning session, meaning he had to sit out the rest of practice while engineers repaired the defect.