It was all go for the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team on day one of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix as they scored top five finishes in both free practice sessions and turned away a track invader who wanted to do a spot of testing.
Free Practice One saw the prancing horse finish best of the rest behind Mercedes with Sebastian Vettel leading home Kimi Raikkonen in third and fourth respectively. Two very good finishes considering the team were working on aerodynamics and mechanical set ups to keep extracting the best from the Ferrari.
Vettel said: “Generally I feel happy in the car, but I think we can improve it for tomorrow, that is usually what Friday is for. So ideally I would have loved to do more laps, but all in all it was a solid session, for the team as well. I think we can do a step forward tomorrow and then we can see what we can do. First of all it is only the third race of season; second, it is a different track compared to Malaysia, therefore the most important thing is to look after ourselves. The target is that we are right behind Mercedes, you have to accept that they are very strong, as the season gets on we try to get closer and closer.”
The second session saw race simulations under the spotlight and Kimi Raikkonen made the most of it to finish in second 0.443 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton and put him in a good position come qualifying and the race. Vettel would finish the session fourth behind Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.
After his second place finish Raikkonen was positive he could do well for the rest of the weekend: “Overall it has been a good day of work.In the afternoon we had a problem with the brakes but the mechanics did a very good job and managed to fix it, then I was able to go back on track and go on with the programme. It’s a bit early to make predictions, we still have things to improve, tomorrow we have to make sure that everything works and have another good day without any issues or problems and then we’ll do our best for qualifying and the race.”
A rare occurrence in modern Formula One also took place during practice with a track invader sprinting across the track, making a perfect vault into the pit lane and shouting about wanting to test a car in Mandarin. He tried to make it into the Ferrari garage but was collared by a number of the team’s mechanics, needless to say he was quickly handed over to the authorities.