Opening session compromised by weather conditions


Ahead of today's opening practice session, the air temperature is 13 degrees C, whilst the track temperature is 15 degrees. It is cold and wet... indeed the session is officially "wet".

Indeed, while Saturday's and Sunday's action takes place later in the day, tomorrow should be dry with further rain expected on Sunday.

All of which makes things difficult for the teams as they seek to set-up their cars.

The drivers - including Lewis Hamilton, who was 'ill' on the designated wet test day in Barcelona - have had little running on the wet tyres so this will be an ideal test session for them.

As in Melbourne, Antonio Giovinazzi is in the second Sauber, this time around Pascal Wehrlein admitting to fitness concerns before the start of the weekend.

Magnussen is first out, followed, shortly after, by his Haas teammate.

Massa, Stroll, Kvyat, Vandoorne and Alonso are among the early risers, all sporting the full wets. While it has stopped raining, the track is still quite wet.

Less than five minutes in the session is red flagged, the FIA revealing that the "medical helicopter is not able to operate" in the conditions. The exact issue being the fact that the helicopter is not able to land at the designated hospital in Shanghai.

Only ten drivers have been out thus far, with the Red Bulls, Ferraris, Mercedes, Force India and Sauber duos still to show.

Race officials announce that the delay is expected to be a minimum of 30 minutes.

At 10:42, race control confirms that the session will resume at 10:47, leaving 43 minutes of running.

The lights go green and once again Magnussen is first out, this time Massa following him down the pitlane Both are on Inters.

Halfway round the lap, T9, Magnussen spins indicating that perhaps Inters aren't such a good idea just yet.

Bottas, Vettel and Raikkonen head out on full wets, as does Hamilton.

Ricciardo, who is on Inters, is warned of standing water underneath the bridges on the start/finish straight.

A spin for Grosjean at the same corner ass his teammate.

Magnussen posts the first timer of the day (2:00.231), but Vandoorne and Stroll (1:54.408) go quicker.

A brief off for Massa as teammate Stroll improves to 52.507, only to be leapfrogged by Verstappen (52.266). The latter two both on Inters.

As Verstappen improves to 50.491, Magnussen has another little moment, this time needing to take advantage of the escape road.

A little wobble at T14 for Sainz also, the Spaniard going tenth (of ten) with a 2:01.121.

The VSC is deployed when Hulkenberg spins off at T2 and is beached in the gravel. Despite his best efforts to continue, the German is warned: "You're not going to get out of there mate."

Replay shows that the Renault was going relatively slowly, but as in Australia, once you start to lose the back of these (2017) cars, they're gone.

At 11:03, while still under VSC, the session is red flagged once again, like before this is due to the fact the medical helicopter cannot land at the designated hospital in Shanghai.

Conditions, certainly in terms of visibility, have deteriorated. Indeed, the local airport is closed.

While Verstappen remains quickest, ahead of Massa, Stroll, Sainz and Grosjean, an number of drivers, including the Ferraris, Force Indias and Hamilton, have yet to post a time. Bottas is currently 9th (54.664).

In fact. Hamilton was on a hot - well, hottish - lap when Hulkenberg brought out the VSC.

The clock ticks down, and with just 6 minutes remaining, it starts to rain.

At 11:25, Race Control confirms the session will not re-start.

Verstappen is quickest, ahead of Massa, Stroll, Sainz, Grosjean, Kvyat, Alonso, Ricciardo, Bottas, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Vandoorne, Ericsson and Giovinazzi.

Check out our Friday gallery from Shanghai, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 07/04/2017
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