Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher rolled back the years on Friday in his rejuvenated Mercedes as he clocked the fastest time in practice for the Chinese Grand Prix. 

Formula One attempted to get back to the business of racing in Shanghai after all the talk about Bahrain, with the German setting the pace at a damp and cool Shanghai Circuit. 

Schumacher roared around the 5.45-kilometre (3.4 miles) circuit in one min 35.973sec, as he goes in search of his first pole position and race victory since coming out of retirement in 2010.

Briton's Lewis Hamilton, who topped the time charts in the first practice earlier in the day, was second to Schumacher, 0.172sec off in his McLaren. 

Sebastian Vettel, the two-time reigning world champion, was third quickest, followed by Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber. Nico Rosberg, Schumacher's Mercedes team-mate, was fifth-fastest. Jenson Button was sixth. 

Championship leader Fernando Alonso is back in tenth, but in a Ferrari that clearly seems to be lacking in pace again compared to their rivals.