Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Hamilton heads Raikkonen by tiny margin in second practice

2018 Chinese Grand Prix second practice

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Lewis Hamilton led Kimi Raikkonen for the second session in a row in China but this time just seven-thousandths of a second separated the two drivers.

Their team mates joined them at the top of the times sheets, both Mercedes and Ferraris covered by a tenth of a second.

Max Verstappen was also in touch with the front runners, lapping within four-tenths of Hamilton’s time. However his team mate Daniel Ricciardo didn’t get the best from his ultra-soft rubber, and as the tyres only appeared to be good for a single run, he ended the session ninth.

The Red Bulls were separated by the two Renaults, led by Nico Hulkenberg, who in turn had Kevin Magnussen’s Haas between them. An error by Romain Grosjean left him well behind his team mate.

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren made it into the top 10 thanks to a slipstream from team mate Stoffel Vandoorne. The team asked Vandoorne to help his team mate with a tow on the long back straight.

However Vandoorne’s session came to an early end when he had to stop with a loose wheel. Not for the first time in 2018, a team is under investigation for releasing a car from the pits in an unsafe condition.

For the second session in a row Lance Stroll finished at the bottom of the times. A high-speed spin underlined his continuing struggles with the Williams.

Rain began to fall with just over 10 minutes of the session left sent several drivers into the pits. A handful re-emerged with intermediate tyres on their cars for some extra running.

Pos. No. Driver Car Best lap Gap Laps
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’33.482 26
2 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’33.489 0.007 26
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’33.515 0.033 27
4 5 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’33.590 0.108 27
5 33 Max Verstappen Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’33.823 0.341 26
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’34.313 0.831 30
7 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’34.458 0.976 26
8 55 Carlos Sainz Jnr Renault 1’34.473 0.991 28
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-TAG Heuer 1’34.557 1.075 26
10 14 Fernando Alonso McLaren-Renault 1’34.632 1.150 23
11 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’34.792 1.310 30
12 10 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso-Honda 1’34.849 1.367 33
13 31 Esteban Ocon Force India-Mercedes 1’34.874 1.392 30
14 2 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Renault 1’35.163 1.681 22
15 28 Brendon Hartley Toro Rosso-Honda 1’35.333 1.851 37
16 35 Sergey Sirotkin Williams-Mercedes 1’35.340 1.858 31
17 9 Marcus Ericsson Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.624 2.142 29
18 16 Charles Leclerc Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.916 2.434 26
19 8 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 1’36.471 2.989 26
20 18 Lance Stroll Williams-Mercedes 1’37.147 3.665 19

Second practice visual gaps

Lewis Hamilton – 1’33.482

+0.007 Kimi Raikkonen – 1’33.489

+0.033 Valtteri Bottas – 1’33.515

+0.108 Sebastian Vettel – 1’33.590

+0.341 Max Verstappen – 1’33.823

+0.831 Nico Hulkenberg – 1’34.313

+0.976 Kevin Magnussen – 1’34.458

+0.991 Carlos Sainz Jnr – 1’34.473

+1.075 Daniel Ricciardo – 1’34.557

+1.150 Fernando Alonso – 1’34.632

+1.310 Sergio Perez – 1’34.792

+1.367 Pierre Gasly – 1’34.849

+1.392 Esteban Ocon – 1’34.874

+1.681 Stoffel Vandoorne – 1’35.163

+1.851 Brendon Hartley – 1’35.333

+1.858 Sergey Sirotkin – 1’35.340

+2.142 Marcus Ericsson – 1’35.624

+2.434 Charles Leclerc – 1’35.916

+2.989 Romain Grosjean – 1’36.471

+3.665 Lance Stroll – 1’37.147

Drivers more then ten seconds off the pace omitted.

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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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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113 comments on “Hamilton heads Raikkonen by tiny margin in second practice”

  1. Highly encouraged by the long run pace, with the Red Bull fastest, and by the way the Merc couldn’t sustain US pace even for an entire quali lap. Merc looks the fastest, but with the way it’s chewing the tyres it looks to be another interesting and very close race.

    1. They look very good on the medium tyres though .. perhaps they will ditch the US in the race all together and run Soft tyres in Q2 to start the race with!

      1. Possible, but also encouraging at least that the usual Merc quali pace may not be there if they can’t keep the tyres working an entire lap.

        1. Is what you mean by “encouraging” that Mercedes have no way of winning this race ? Firstly, I doubt they even have the pace for pole and even if they do there’s no way they can keep Ferrari behind and possibly RedBull. This is a two way fight between Ferrari and RedBull. But people still subscribe to the narrative that Mercedes are the best car…

          1. You’re probably making the assumption that because the Ferarris locked out the front row in Bahrain that it will definitely happen again and the fact that they won in Bahrain means that that will definitely happen again.
            You need to consider the possibility that Hamilton, knowing he had a penalty couldn’t optimize his car for quali and had to focus on the race and Bottas just wasn’t fast enough.
            And the fact about the race was that Ferrari reacted brilliantly, Vettel mainly and deceived Mercedes and even then it was very close.

          2. There’s no reply button to hans, but I think china is a good track for hamilton, so in this difficult situation in the standings he has to win here, a bit like in silverstone 2017 after some bad race.

            As for merc vs ferrari vs red bull, in australia mercedes was the best car by a few tenths, we didn’t see much of red bull but they at least seemed as quick as ferrari, and in bahrain there wasn’t much between mercedes and ferrari on the same tyre, I couldn’t see red bull but the fact verstappen had briefly overtaken hamilton says they were up there on pace, and also ricciardo was attacking raikkonen before the problem.

  2. McLaren are again the slowest team on the straights. They even try to use tow. And they seem to be the third worst team. Only Sauber and Williams behind.
    I expect 10th place at best in the race only if Alonso again gets lucky. Otherwise, they will be 13-16.

    1. I suspect that they’re running more downforce than the others and that their Renault isn’t running at full potential because if reliability concerns. I have a feeling they haven’t fully fixed it from testing. Waiting for that upgrade to sort if out

      1. We’ll see tomorrow. Renault allowed all the clients to use more power for more time.

        1. saving the engine?

  3. Red Bull really don’t look as strong here as they did in the first 2 races of the season. Especially considering Mercedes and Ferrari will find more time on Saturday. Seems pretty even between the Mercs and Ferraris, although I expect Mercedes to crank it up in Q3 and probably lock out the front row.

    It really seems that Haas and Renault are the teams capable of closing that gap between the top 3 and midfield. It’s pretty impressive of them to get within 1 second of Mercedes’ time at this circuit. I’m not sure about what compounds they were running though, I’m assuming all teams did a time on the Ultrasofts.

    It’s absolutely crazy to think that McLaren are fighting in the bottom of the midfield, along with Force India and Toro Rosso out of all teams. This must be massively embarrassing for them. Alonso put in a glory run with a tow from his teammate, but I would actually put them level, if not behind, Force India and Toro Rosso.

    Really glad to see Sauber moving up from last on the grid and becoming midfield hopefuls again.

    Grosjean is looking uncharacteristically off the pace and error prone as compared to his teammate. I would think he needs to get his act together after getting thrashed by Kmag in Bahrain.

    Lance Stroll is in a league of his own. There’s a category of drivers that are absolute rubbish and then there’s a category lower than that called the Stroll league.

    1. @todfod
      A) not crazy to me. Rather expected.
      B) in all seriousness, that’s not True. Stroll sucks but he is no Yuji Ide

      1. @mrboerns
        I completely forgot about Yuji Ide. I agree Ide was definitely in a league of his own. There were drivers in the past like Inoue, Rosset, etc. who were really bad too. Over the last decade though, I can’t think of any horrendously bad drivers. There were Karthikeyan, Chandhok, Yamamoto, Palmer etc. but I feel they all had some sort of saving grace to them. Karthikeyan was quick on rare occasions, and he managed to complete race distances without any fundamental problems. Chandhok was incredibly slow but reliable. Yamamoto .. I don’t remember much of what he did because he never ran for an entire season. Palmer had maybe 2 or 3 races in his F1 career where he was genuinely good.

        Lance Stroll currently looks like he’s in the Karthikeyan, Chandhok and Yamamoto league. As compared to every other driver on the current grid, you would have to agree that he’s the least skilled for F1. Honestly, if it wasn’t for a fluke podium and a good quali session at Monza, he’d have absolutely no one denying the fact that he isn’t F1 material to begin with.

        1. @todfod What about Max Chilton?

          1. @flatsix
            Man.. completely forgot about him. He’s a modern day legend. His silver lining is that he was the only rookie to complete every race in his debut season.

          2. Bobby Balboa
            13th April 2018, 21:52

            I can’t believe everyone is forgetting Luca Badoer with his Ferrari bow out. I was at a GP that season & everyone was standing up, waving their arms & saying «Easy Luca» when he drove past a mile behind 2nd to last in his Ferrari!!!

        2. How about Giedo van der Garde, Allan McNish… But I don’t really agree. Stroll may not be the best race driver on the grid, but he had couple of very good races last year. While one would argue podium in Baku was his best race albeit got there by luck, it was not the one off. And yeah, he still is teenager after all so give him a little bit more time to mature.

    2. @todfod – Apparently Grosjean was asked why KMag is so much faster. The answer: “KMag likes an understeering car. I don’t.”

      1. @jimmi-cynic

        I like Romain, but the guy has an excuse for everything.

        1. @todfod To continue your tone: I usually like your posts but this one is totally awful. What he’s supposed to say? When the drivers speak corporate PR speak we want them to tell the truth. When the driver just plainly tells the truth then “he has an excuse for everything”

          It’s universally accepted that different drivers in F1 like different car characteristics. Some prefer a bit a strong rear end above all(understeer), some prefer a strong front end above all and can live with a lively tail(oversteer). Very select few can adapt to any car characteristics and those are usually all time greats. We know of only 2 who are definitely in that category racing in F1 today: Hamilton and Alonso. But even they have their natural preferences: Alonso towards understeer, Hamilton towards oversteer.

          So, the Haas has currently an inherently understeery balance and a naturally oversteery driver namely Grosjean is struggling with it.And he tells it like it is! Shocking!

          Btw, if the car has chronic understeer then Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Sainz and probably half the grid would get destroyed by KMag in it.

          Grosjean is not my favorite driver and I rarely defend him, but yours was an unfair comment so I did :)

          1. I would have to agree with Todfod. When you are vocal as a driver you inherently sound whiney, as unfortunate as it is. I like Romain though, he’s a great driver on his day, and I would probably be as passionate and honest as he is about issues. Do you remember how many times he complained about his brakes with Haas in 2016? As whiney as it sounded, I couldn’t blame him!

          2. @montreal95
            Even if an ‘understeery’ car doesn’t suit him it doesn’t quite justify being a second slower than your teammate in quali, and then having a scrappy race to finish 10 positions behind him. It wasn’t that great a weekend for Romain. I would much rather hear him say he hasn’t adapted to the car as well (Ala Vettel’s answer), and had a scrappy performance, instead of saying “Magnussen likes an understeery car and I don’t” .

            As I said. I like Romain. The hulk and him are my favourite midfield drivers, but he always has ready excuses for poor weekends… very Jenson Button-ish in that manner.

          3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            13th April 2018, 12:47

            This could be a very bad year for Grosjean’s stock if this pattern continues; and if Kevin keeps parking it behind the big 3, there’s very little reason for Haas to change philosophy to help Romain out.
            I’m a big Mag fan but rate them as one of the most even pairings on the grid.
            A noticeable results gap over the course of a season could see the highs of late 2013 quickly forgotten for Romain, and any slim chance of that Ferrari seat evaporate.

          4. @todfod Well depends on the levels of understeery. If the car is extremely understeery, grouped with circuit characteristics it sometimes can pile problems one over the other. In qualifying there were others problems such as traffic as well. In the race the tire usage on such a car is making the problems much worse and Grosjean also sustained car damage.

            My point is that probably RG just summarized it all in one sentence, that he believes the root of all his problems in Bahrain came from an understeery car. You can agree or disagree, you can prefer SV style answer, but it’s a very valid answer to a question he was asked. And it should be judged in it’s own right not dismissed like “oh he moans a lot all the time”

        2. @rpiian So they should say nothing but corporate PR speak? I’d rather they tell the truth. As they see it and it’s good that we can see different personalities and Grosjean’s is like this. It was a perfectly valid comment by him totally coherent with universally accepted truths about F1.

          And if @todfod and @rpiian think it’s just another excuse? Well, I couldn’t care less…

          1. @montreal95 On the contrary, it sounds like you care a lot – hence your reply. Drivers can say what they want. Some drivers prefer to get on with it, buckle down and do their homework. Others prefer to be more vocal about it. Todfod’s “awful” post is simply a statement of fact… Grosjean literally has an excuse for everything, right or wrong, honest or not. To be a pedantic, the very definition of excuse is to defend or justify, which shouldn’t have negative connotation. But when it seemingly happens often…

            Regardless, none of this is a bad thing in my eyes. It adds to the drama that is F1.

          2. @rpiian I care a lot about the subject in question here not specifically about your two opinions I disagree with. As the saying goes: “opinions are like …holes, everybody has one”. No offence.

            Now Todfod’s post is indeed awful because it fails to consider Grosjean’s perfectly logical and legit answer to a question he was asked in it’s own right without falling on past association. Oh RG moans a lot this is more moaning, right?

            The only properly logical thing, is to consider each statement in its own right. Is it right or is it wrong? So if Grosjean makes a statement that’s just pure whining he should be called on it. But the above statement is nothing like it, so RG’s whining past shouldn’t be used to judge him for it.

          3. @montreal95 I completely understand. But it depends on your perspective. For us on here it is entertainment and interesting to hear driver insight. For me at work if somebody speaks to me constantly about how broken our company is (complaining IMO) while I’m trying to get work done, I tend to tune them out. As an engineer I just wonder what the race engineers are thinking every time a driver says something like that.

            On the other hand though, clearly in this case RG was speaking his mind on what he prefers. The drivers words can also be overpublicized by the media which doesn’t help things.

          4. @montreal95
            Let’s just agree to disagree on this one. I feel he should be doing better even if the car doesn’t suit his style. He’s an F1 driver for Pete’s sake, so he should be able to work around issues and maximise his performance. His explanation works for you, but I don’t think it entirely works for me.

          5. @rpiian Yeah I completely agree that when someone is constantly complaining about everything it’s hard to take them seriously and during work routine it’s really hard.

            But we’re not discussing work now and , as you say, drivers are public personas and media has their agenda(just look at their shameless attempt to paint Raikkonen as insensitive in the wake of the Bahrain pit incident). So I try to stay logical and judge each thing separately

          6. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            13th April 2018, 13:26

            I saw Kimi paint himself as insensitive

          7. @todfod I agree he should have been doing better. I agree that Bahrain was a very bad weekend for him regardless of the car traits. But adapting to a car that doesn’t suit their style is not a requisite requirement of an F1 driver. Not even an F1 world champion. It’s only a requisite requirement for one to be considered an all time F1 great. Drivers like Raikkonen for example cannot be considered because he lacks the “adapatability” skill completely. Button too and many other WDC’s were found lacking in this. I’m not sure Vettel can be considered either because he clearly lacks in this department. But that’s OT and for another time. Let’s get back to Grosjean

            RG is a legit F1 driver, extremely fast on his day and with a car that suits him. nothing more nothing less. No one would dream of considering him an F1 great. So in that context I think his is a valid explanation for Bahrain struggles though it doesn’t make his weekend look any better

          8. fullcoursecaution How so?

          9. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            13th April 2018, 13:45

            @montreal my immediate impression was that Kimi came across as more concerned about his own misfortune than that of his mechanic. There was no opportunity for media bias to corrupt my perspective

          10. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            13th April 2018, 13:48

            @montreal95 even
            (between the two of us we’ll get the hang of these @handles yet)

          11. @fullcoursecaution If that’s your unbiased opinion that’s fine. IMO it was just “lost in translation” from him to you. That’s not how I saw it, whether at the time or now. But that’s not the point I was making. I’d just agree to disagree and that’s all. My point was that the yellow press took this and made it so that those who did have the opportunity for their perspective to be corrupted by media bias, only could see one side of the picture inflated to balloon like proportions

        3. great drivers adapt to all car conditions – forget understeer/oversteer, adjust your car setup to compensate, and then adjust your driving style to not lose time.

    3. @todfod Maybe its just people’s expectations of McLaren. I feel McLaren are doing really well since they have switched to a new engine. I do not see McLaren as a top team but a potential to be a good top midfield team. The current corp of top 3 teams are just too good for a team like McLaren which is going through a transition period.

    4. Stroll is a embarrassment to F1 and surely the FIA can do something about this type of “paying rubbish driver” blight on the Sport.

    5. is unfair from you to say that Stroll is in a league of his own. It’s unfair because he’s in Taki Inoue League, wich i consider to be head to head with him…

      1. @montreal95 I think the way it generally works is that if we like a driver, then what they say about, for example, a race in which they struggled, we would call reasons they struggled. If we don’t like a driver, or a team, then we say of what they have said, that they are making excuses for their struggle.

        I think some fans have a knack for boiling things down to portray a picture of F1 that is more akin to schoolyard stuff rather than seeing F1 as being very complex and full of amazingly smart and talented people, who, in spite of that intelligence and talent, obviously can’t just snap their fingers and put themselves competing for wins and the WDC.

        Example, to say McLaren should be embarrassed, after Friday’s practice of race 3 of their new marriage with Renault, forgets very quickly that they are already doing so much better than the truly embarrassing last 3 years they spent with Honda. I think Mac is likely closer to feeling huge relief and hope and potential, within reason since they aren’t a factory team, than feeling embarrassed already in their new chapter. But if you just don’t like their drivers or the team, then you’re going to say schoolyard stuff like this and boil F1 down to some amateur hour with fools as the players, and forget that it is a constant work in progress.

        1. @robbie

          I think Mac is likely closer to feeling huge relief and hope and potential, within reason since they aren’t a factory team, than feeling embarrassed already in their new chapter. But if you just don’t like their drivers or the team, then you’re going to say schoolyard stuff like this and boil F1 down to some amateur hour with fools as the players, and forget that it is a constant work in progress.

          To set the record straight – I like McLaren and their drivers. I support them unconditionally every race. But I don’t turn a blind eye to their situation.

          I really hope for McLaren’s sake that they aren’t “relieved” right now. There is no time for them to feel “relief” . They still have a long way to go, and I’m hopeful they’ll get there, but there are no laurels to rest on. I wouldn’t pat them on the back and give them a huge thumbs up like a fan with low expectations. You might call yourself a supporter, but I don’t think you have enough respect for them if you’re satisfied with them finishing behind a Toro Rosso in Bahrain.

          I pray they get their act together and start beating Renault and Haas from Monaco onwards.

          1. @todfod And again, in order to support your argument you have decided that I am ‘satisfied’ that Mac should remain behind STR, not that they are, and you have picked only the word ‘relieved,’ like I have said they should just stand pat with that, and have ignored the words I’ve also used ‘hope’ and ‘potential’ which they have not felt for over 3 years. I’ve also called it a work in progress, as it is with all teams and with F1 itself all the time. But you can turn all that, my positive spin on Mac, into me having low expectations and having no respect for them?

            If you truly supported Mac then you wouldn’t have applied the words ‘massively embarrassing’ to them. You may actually support them, I don’t know, it is hard to tell because you sound more like you can’t wait for them to fail, like there’s some ‘see I told you so’ moment that you can’t wait for.

            You ‘pray’ (ya right) that they ‘get their act together’…again, making it sound like they’re a bunch of bumbling unfocused fools. With friends like you, Mac certainly doesn’t need enemies.

          2. @robbie
            What is wrong with the words ‘massively embarrassing’? It is embarrassing for McLaren to finish behind Toro Rosso. Do you don’t think the Mclaren staff are proud of this moment? I can guarantee you they’re not, and that they are trying everything to change their situation. So why does me mentioning the obvious make me less or a supporter?

            What I find immature is your toddler like approach to supporting your team. They’re the best with their huge “potential” and “hope” and “pride at not being a manufacturer”. Man, recognise that fans are entitled to be critical of the team they support and not everyone adopts your approach of support.

            I don’t know how my ‘praying’ translates in to an insult to Mclaren. I really have no idea about how you interpret normal English.

            With friends like you, Mac certainly doesn’t need enemies.

            With fans like you… Mclaren would be proud if it never won a championship ever again.

        2. @robbie +1

          I could not have said it better

          1. @todfod What I find strange is that you can claim to guarantee they’re not proud of an STR finishing ahead of them, and that they’re doing everything to change that, and I’m sure that’s the case too, and yet you speak like their situation is written in stone or like they indeed don’t get their own situation. They need to ‘get their act together’….well duh…didn’t you just say they are working on it? Why talk like they don’t know what they need to do?

            Why would they be massively embarrassed over what they expect will be a temporary thing…this being day one of the third race weekend only of their new relationship with Renault? Massively embarrassed was what they were with Honda. Now they sit 4th in the WCC and FA 5th, with the feeling that they finally, after too long, have some tools with which to progress, for a change. There is absolutely nothing for them to be embarrassed about, let alone massively so.

            You have a real problem twisting words to suit your argument. Where did I say ‘they’re the best’ or ‘pride at not being a manufacturer?’ Please show me. Of course you are entitled to your opinion and to be critical however you want of a team, and I think your criticism is sometimes misguided and misdirected. That’s why you end up putting words in people’s mouths to suit your argument. Or over the top traits or characteristics upon drivers or teams to do the same. Everyone has excuses, not reasons, with you.

          2. @robbie
            When on earth did I say anything is written in stone?!? I don’t know where you read this between the lines.
            Don’t understand why you would criticise a statement like they “need to get their act together”. Why would you look at that like an insult? It might be obvious.. but so are 99% of the comments on this site.
            Friend, I might have a problem of twisting words…. but you have a problem of twisting your interpretation to find the negativity in comments.

          3. @todfod I didn’t say you said it is written in stone, I said you speak ‘like’ their situation is written in stone. And where did I get that from? It all started with your ‘massively embarrassed’ comment and if that is not negative I don’t know what is. So if you want to know where my interpretation has come from, look strictly at your own posts and your own wording.

          4. @robbie

            Can’t go through this ordeal with you every time I post anything mentioning Mclaren.
            You’re right. My bad. I’ll think twice before posting anything mildly critical, or potentially offensive, about them.

          5. @todfod That’s fine. It’s a discussion. Don’t think twice on my behalf, because you gotta be you, but when you post something that is far from mildly critical, be prepared for a discussion. Or if you only mean mild criticism, say something like Mac might be a tad embarrassed to finish behind an STR, however, it is early days and always a work in progress. ‘Massively embarrassed’ is far from mild criticism. ‘A tad embarrassed’ might had had me agreeing with your post or not responding at all.

          6. Oh…and…peace!!

      2. @matiascasali I saw Inoue drive live and consider your comment very unfair on Stroll. He’s nowhere near 6 seconds off the pace that Taki frequently was. And no way, would have Taki won a Euro F3 title even with Stroll money support

        1. well, i may have to start my comments with a disclaimer “don’t take it literally, it’s a joke”

          1. @matiascasali that was a nice one then! 1-0 you win :)

    6. @todfod Why is it crazy to think McLaren are fighting at the bottom of the midfield? Where were they fighting the past 3 years?

  4. Something seriously needs doing about cars being unsafely released.

    Either a severe penalty like zero constructor points for that race, race bans for multiple infractions, or mandatory sensors in the wheels that kill the power unit of the wheel isn’t on correctly.

    It’s getting too common and I can’t help think the bigger, heavier wheels are to blame.

    1. It’s getting too common and I can’t help think the bigger, heavier wheels are to blame.

      Every investigation into an unsafe release this year has found it to be something other than the size of the wheels though. You just can’t beat F1 “fans” for making it up as they go along.

  5. Why was Romain so much off the pace?

    I have to say that Magnussen seems to be the more impressive of the two drivers (not just due to this, but general performance and attitude in recent races).

    1. he spun like stroll did – results in slow lap time.

    2. During the sky broadcast they mentioned that Romain got that exact question posed and answered that Kevin likes an understeery car, while he himself has to work around that a bit as an explanation why it has so far rather been Kevin who was the faster of the two @phylyp. In this session, I think Grosjean damaged part of his floor on kerbings which hurt the times and his running.

  6. Laurence Stroll seen behind the garages burning $100 notes with a cigarette lighter.

    1. Ha ha, still a better ROI.

      1. Spot on! Haha, COTD!

    2. AntonioCorleone
      13th April 2018, 11:16

      Still a better investment

    3. Like a BOSS

  7. The long run pace on Ultrasofts is very good for Merc, given that Ham said they were finished after one lap… Ferrari seems unable to make them work as fast, with Red Bull doing a better job there. So uncharacteristically first race stint in Merc favour.

    1. SparkyAMG (@)
      13th April 2018, 9:12

      @makana I doubt Mercedes are going to complete Q2 on the US, pretty sure they’ll do it on the softs.

      1. @sparkyamg You’re actually right, and with Ferrari having only 2 softs at their disposal… they might be in trouble.

        1. not 2, 3 sets in total..

  8. While I hope McLaren get their act together, it would be funny if at the end of the season Australia turns out to have been their high point, rather than their low point like Alonso predicted. It’s starting to look like it might be.

    Btw with all the talk about cars not being able to follow each other, how can a tow even work? Love the concept though.

    1. @krommenaas – you need grip to turn in to corners effectively, and this is offered by the front wing pressing the front axle down. This is the grip that is affected when running closely behind another car due to the turbulent air coming off the car in front.

      A tow offers a benefit on the straights, since the car in front punches a hole in the air, giving a lower pressure zone for the car behind to slipstream.

      1. Thanks for that explanation! Didn’t realise slipstreaming was still a thing.

        1. It’s the entire reason a lot of passing happens.

        2. The Earth’s atmosphere is still a thing. :)

    2. Pretty sure AUS will be like their highest point this season. On merit they’re somewhere around P10-P11. Must be some sort of crazy race to get a P5 again or better. A podium is completely out of reach in my opinion.

      1. Never say never. If Lance Stroll can take a podium in 2017, then Alonso can probably take a race win in 2018. It’s highly unlikely, but anything can happen in crazy circumstances.

        Having said that I think they’ll luck in to one podium at some point in time this season.

        1. @todfod Bring him a rainy Canada! Or rainy anything!!

          1. Then Verstappen will probably end P1…

  9. Missed both sessions this morning, but Stroll seems shockingly slow. I know he’s pretty bad, but he’s generally been close to Sirotkin so far this year. Is there an issue with the car or is he just not hooking it up. He made Q3 here last year, so it’s likely not the track that’s the problem.

    On a more positive note, Raikkonen seems to really like the 2018 Ferrari… just a shame he hasn’t yet had a totally clean and VSC-free weekend to show how close he is to Vettel in race trim. It’d be good to see him win a race or two this year and (possibly) go out on a high at the end of the season. The only way that can realistically happen is if he somehow manages to put a Mercedes between himself and Vettel, which will be difficult.

    1. Is there an issue with the car or is he just not hooking it up. He made Q3 here last year, so it’s likely not the track that’s the problem.

      @ben-n – Maybe Massa offered better feedback that was used to set up both cars? And with his absence it looks like the Williams has gone backwards.

      Or else, its the known issue that they’re running his PU conservatively given they used up all of its party mode in the Australian FP.

    2. he hasn’t yet had a totally clean and VSC-free weekend

      I think he need VET-free weekend too…

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        13th April 2018, 12:35

        Yup he’ll just get screwed over with a sup-par strategy to aid the anointed fingerboy again

    3. It can also be a red bull between ferraris, ben, don’t forget red bull, like raikkonen, is fast this year and never had anything go right.

      Btw, seems odd to me they would already let vettel past raikkonen, even mercedes let bottas finish 2nd and hamilton 3rd last race, even though the difference between 1st and 2nd is greater in points.

  10. Alonso jinxed it. Now they had a problem too

    1. He always does doesn’t He?

    2. So I’m gonna jinx renault too: don’t recall them having a problem this year, so alonso’s statement was overkill that mclaren were the only one.

  11. I’ll do the unexpected here and come to Stroll’s defence: he’s in a situation of his own making. He never should have joined F1 so soon, never should have allowed the team he de facto owns to put a rookie in next to him. It’s all inexperience, not necessarily lack of talent. Talent he has (a little), but what’s killing him now is having to develop a dog of car without any real know-how, experience or feel. His driving is the wildest, least controlled, weird steering inputs and everything, but it’s largely because he has nobody to learn from during race weekends.

    1. Why do you say it’s a dog of a car, @hahostolze ? It’s only an incremental evolution over last year’s car, isn’t it? And with a generous helping of Paddy Lowe’s input as well.

      1. Just based on what I see. Last year’s car was hardly great, it was nervous in corners and not well balanced. It’s not an incremental evolution, if anything Williams have changed their car the most this season (look how different so many elements are) and I think they have changed quite a few things ‘on a whim’ by copying last season’s fast cars but without achieving a balance. Paddy Lowe is a very good engineer but he’s not a miracle worker, especially in that period. Couple a relatively renewed car with a relatively short period of review by the engineering team led by Lowe and with two very inexperienced drivers and I’ll bet you they haven’t learned enough yet about how to iron out the kinks. It shows during any session so far this season, the car looks so nervous and unwieldy. Sirotkin isn’t Kubica, but he’s not bad. He hasn’t extracted anything from the car, and I’m more and more inclined to put that down to it being a difficult car.

      2. Basil (@flyingbasil)
        13th April 2018, 15:39

        Actually no. This years car is built around a different concept, Paddy Lowe actually said that a few times even before the first tests and to be fare he also warned that it might not be great at first))
        Judging by the way Sirotkin’s car behaved in Bahrain (the only real footage we have right now) its very unstable under braking and has very little grip at the front generally.

        1. @flyingbasil – ah, ok. So they are then probably paying the price for not being able to get effective development feedback, or else the fixes required require more time to go through a development lifecycle.

          1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
            13th April 2018, 16:58

            In terms of development Sirotkin should be more or less ready. He spent his time at renault as a test driver, he also drove SMP’s LMP1 when they started developing it. His development\testing mileage is actually somewhat good, plus he got a degree in “F1 car setup” ( literary, his final university paper was called exactly that).
            He also gives a lot of technical info to the russian press which sounds way more mature than I expected. The guy might not be the new super fast rookie like Verstappen was, but he seems to know a thing or two about setting cars up.
            Plus they have Kubica in simulator and looking at drivers telemetry…
            BTW, Sirotkin just said in a post practice interview they’ll need weeks to turn the info they gathered so far into progress…..

          2. Cheers @flyingbasil – good to know Sirotkin is there to offer development feedback from the physical car, and that it’s just the lead time to design and build the requisite parts.

    2. If the situation Stroll finds himself is his own making, then is there any point in defending? Without the requisite skills/talent, one cannot just skip elementary school and join high school, using wealth.

      1. @pinakghosh

        Well one can join the high school using wealth and even buy himself all A-s, but RL is gonna hit hard if the person really needs the knowledge not gained. See Stroll.

        Or maybe Stroll is S(uper)troll.

      2. Not so much defending Stroll and his actions as defending his talent. He’s rubbish now because of the situation he’s put himself in.

        1. Thanks for that clarification @hahostolze – with that, I have to agree. I still think Monza shows he has the pace, but he isn’t (yet? let’s hope) good at getting it out regularly.

    3. you can defend stroll as much as you want, but the fact is he would never get into f1 on merit, money did it. Us low paid humans of the world do not like the concept of pay drivers – it is very unfair that talented people in the world do not get opportunities, because someone with lots of money buys a position ahead of them. it is a disgusting “classist” thing, ie “rich out rank the poor”. pay drivers are a disgusting consequence of greedy capitalism. I have no sympathy for Stroll in any case, the rich that are too rich at some point lose touch with reality, and don’t deserve the same level of sympathy as normal human beings that have to “work for a living”. entitlement is a most disgusting human attribute, and I’m hearing it in Strolls interviews this year.. he seems to believe he deserved progress at Williams this year, like he deserves to be in 8th in practice instead of 20th. complete joke of a driver in the highest level of motorsport, embarrassing for the world of F1 that F1 still has pay drivers- how can it be the elite of motorsport with this going on?? Stroll should step down and retire and save face, before his name gets even more besieged. He would not even be in the top 200 drivers in world motorsport today.

      1. Who has gotten to F1 without money? Kimi, Lewis, Vettel, Alonso, Daniel, Max all have been sponsored to F1 only difference is F1 teams lumped up the cash.
        Being born with a silver spoon is not a bad thing.

    4. If stroll doesn’t have the experience to provide the necessary feedback to improve the car, why did he make a comment like, massa wasn’t helping me with setup etc. to which massa answered: better not to comment?

      I mean, he doesn’t seem to miss massa, yet then suffers the consequences.

  12. Stroll almost two seconds slower than Sirotkin 🤭🤭 Stroll needs to be kicked out of the team ASAP. @keithcollantine What is your opinion about Stroll shameless performance ?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th April 2018, 14:42

      Some people are seriously over reacting. This is practice!! He may hve been out qualiied by his team mate last qualifying, but in the race (where it matters), finished well ahead. And I think Stroll did a lot better last race than many realise. I d think that car is dreadful at the moment but Stroll did gain quite a few places.

      1. Basil (@flyingbasil)
        13th April 2018, 15:41

        well ahead? Sirotkin caught him up by .6 of a second, and realisticaly he pitted just to try the softer tire. If not for an unnecceray stop Sirtokin would be at least 10 seconds ahead.

        1. this bloke must be canadian. there is no other way to explain.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th April 2018, 20:34

          I certainly was incorrect about that. But I do remember seeing Stroll doing some pretty good racing at times. He often had to back off as it was clear his car was worse than those around him. I was wrong about being a lot better than his team mate, but he did have a pretty good start to the race.
          I disagree about that pit stop being unnecessary for Sirotkin. And on the planet f1 forum, there is a team mate wars poll for each team each race this year. Over twice as many people voted for Stroll for his weekend performance over his team mate. I certainly don’t think Sirotkin was better that race. But he was in qualifying.

  13. He’s probably over driving like he did in the first 3 races last year, nervous inputs on a sensitive car will never help him. That and the fact that he looks mentally weak to cope with the situation, and probably not good feedbacks on how to setup the car. Massa would have a shot on Q3. But we should never hope for more than Stroll.

    1. I wish they would Kimi a decent spot in the last run in Q3. He would take pole, dince he is obviously faster than Seb in one lap, every thing else equal. In the race Seb is off course superior to Kimi.

  14. It’s not that Kimi is faster because of skill but because Seb has a less aerodynamic haircut.

    1. ++ good

    2. Lewis’s new toupe/implants haven’t slowed him much

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