F1 China: Verstappen leads disrupted opening practice in Shanghai

Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

The weather played havoc with proceedings during the opening free practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix, with the session twice being affected by red flags.

Both stoppages were due to the conditions being unsuitable for the medical helicopter being able to land at the hospital should it be needed, something that is mandatory in Formula 1, with the first stoppage lasting around forty-five minutes and the second ending the session for good.

The disruptions meant drivers were unable to get a decent amount of laps on board, with the maximum amount being completed being eight laps by Kevin Magnussen, with Max Verstappen setting the fastest time of the session for Red Bull Racing with a 1:50.491, set on the intermediate tyre.

The Dutchman ended ahead of the two Williams Martini Racing drivers, Felipe Massa ahead of Lance Stroll, with Carlos Sainz Jr and Daniil Kvyat fourth and sixth respectively for Scuderia Toro Rosso, either side of Romain Grosjean of the Haas F1 Team.

Fernando Alonso was seventh for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the second Red Bull, while Valtteri Bottas and Magnussen completed the top ten.

Times meant very little during the session, with six drivers failing to set a time at all, including both Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, as well as Lewis Hamilton of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.

Despite the limited running, there was still time for spins for the Haas duo of Magnussen and Grosjean as they found it tricky after switching from full wets to intermediates, as well as for Nico Hülkenberg, who spun into the turn three gravel trap in his Renault Sport Formula 1 Team RS17, which necessitated the use of the Virtual Safety Car while it was removed. Unfortunately by the time the German’s car was retrieved, the session was red flagged again, never to resume.

Shanghai International Circuit Free Practice 1 Result

133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:50.491-4
219Felipe MassaBRZWilliams Martini Racing1:52.086+1.595s7
318Lance StrollCANWilliams Martini Racing1:52.507+2.016s7
455Carlos Sainz JrESPScuderia Toro Rosso1:52.840+2.349s5
58Romain GrosjeanFRAHaas F1 Team1:53.039+2.548s6
626Daniil KvyatRUSScuderia Toro Rosso1:53.314+2.823s4
714Fernando AlonsoESPMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:53.520+3.029s5
83Daniel RicciardoAUSRed Bull Racing1:54.038+3.547s7
977Valtteri BottasFINMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:54.664+4.173s4
1020Kevin MagnussenDENHaas F1 Team1:55.104+4.613s8
1127Nico HulkenbergGERRenault Sport Formula 1 Team1:55.608+5.117s6
122Stoffel VandoorneBELMcLaren Honda Formula 1 Team1:57.445+6.954s4
139Marcus EricssonSWESauber F1 Team2:15.138+24.647s4
1494Pascal WehrleinGERSauber F1 Team2:15.281+24.790s4
1530Jolyon PalmerGBRRenault Sport Formula 1 TeamNo Time-3
165Sebastian VettelGBRScuderia FerrariNo Time-2
177Kimi RaikkonenFINScuderia FerrariNo Time-1
1831Esteban OconFRASahara Force India F1 TeamNo Time-2
1911Sergio PerezMEXSahara Force India F1 TeamNo Time-3
2044Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas Formula One TeamNo Time-2