First practice abandoned after visibility problems

2017 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

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Max Verstappen headed a badly disrupted first practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Chinese Grand Prix practice in pictures
The red flags flew for much of the session due to repeated problems caused by poor visibility at the circuit which prevented the medical helicopter from being able to reach the nearby hospital.

Practice was suspended after just four minutes of running and did not resume until half its alloted 90-minute slot has expired. Once it resumed the session was brought to another stop with 20 minutes to go and finally abandoned five minutes before it was scheduled to end.

Damp conditions at the track made for a tricky session during the brief periods when the cars did run. Both Haas drivers slipped up at turn nine and Kevin Magnussen went off the circuit at two other points as well.

Nico Hulkenberg spun into a gravel trap shortly before the session was stopped for good. The Renault driver had been told his intermediate tyres were “heavily damaged already” just before he went off.

Max Verstappen set the quickest time of the session, one-and-a-half seconds clear of the two Williams drivers. All the cars managed to do at least one installation lap, but only six of them set times.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’50.491 4
2 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’52.086 1.595 7
3 18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’52.507 2.016 7
4 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso-Renault 1’52.840 2.349 5
5 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’53.039 2.548 6
6 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’53.314 2.823 4
7 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Honda 1’53.520 3.029 5
8 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’54.038 3.547 7
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’54.664 4.173 4
10 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’55.104 4.613 8
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’55.608 5.117 6
12 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda 1’57.445 6.954 4
13 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 2’15.138 24.647 4
14 36 Antonio Giovinazzi Sauber-Ferrari 2’15.281 24.790 4
15 30 Jolyon Palmer Renault 3
16 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2
17 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1
18 31 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 2
19 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 3
20 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 8’00.000 369.509 2

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “First practice abandoned after visibility problems”

  1. Mark (@melmgreen)
    7th April 2017, 4:39

    Shouldnt it be “only six of them, didn’t set a time”?

  2. What is up with Hamilton’s time? Was he pushing his car instead of driving it? 😳

    1. It was so slow that they put him behind all the people that even didn’t set a lap time

      1. Don’t quite understand that. He should be above those who have set a time at least.

        1. They normally use sector times for those cars, I guess Lewis was slower in all sectors, so he comes below then

    2. Guess he was pushing it really hard! Guess nobody can push as hard as Ham.

      But on this circuit he has shortened his life with a few years, because breathing so much pollution isn’t very healthy…

    3. I have seen this before – I guess he went on an outlap followed by an inlap, stayed in the pits for a few minutes, and again had an outlap followed by an inlap. Sometimes the time in the pits is not registered correctly, and the time between thw two crossings of the finish line is counted.

  3. Yesterday one of the Ferrari riders was complaining they had no idea how good the rain tires are in the new tire era. That makes it hard to understand lots of teams did not do any serious running at the moments that was possible.

    1. And Hulkenbergs’ intermediate tyres being quickly gone doesn’t sound like good news there (unless w. them gone so quickly, teams will need to stay on wets longer, then switch to slicks earlier – unlike last years?) @mosquito

  4. Mike (@grippgoat)
    7th April 2017, 7:02

    I wonder China’s pollution problem had something to do with the helicopter not being able to fly.

  5. I don’t understand: you have a brand new car concept, you complain about very limited testing and ‘unknown’ new rain tyres, you have at least a thousand fans on the grandstands and you decide not to drive even though you are allowed to? Very bad publicity.

    Actually I do understand: it’s about money and about the possibility of crashing the car but still.

    1. I think the heli has to be able to fly from the track to the hospital in case of an emergency and if the heli can’t fly the drivers can’t drive.

      1. @robbie In FP1 they were allowed to drive (for a period) but then some drivers still refused to.

  6. um keith it looks like 12 of them actually set a peoper flying lap time, not 6.

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