Chinese GP: Max fourth fastest in FP1

Published on 12 April 2019 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen was fourth fastest in the opening session of the Chinese Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) was quickest around the Shanghai International Circuit, followed by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. Vettel’s team mate, Charles Leclerc, completed the top three.

At the start of the session, Sebastian Vettel is the first driver to take to the track for an installation lap. In the following few minutes, all drivers, bar the Mercedes, follow the German’s lead.

For a first timed run, the fans have to wait for twenty minutes. Robert Kubica is the first driver to clock a lap. The Mercedes soon follow with times that propel them to the top of the table. Max sits in third after his first effort.

After the first set of Pirellis are handed back to the Italian tyre manufacturer, it is one again a Williams that takes to the track first. This time it is rookie George Russell. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeos frustrations grow as Antonio Giovinazzi is yet to set a time, with his mechanics working hard to get the Alfa out on the circuit.

With twenty minutes to go, Max clocks his fastest time of the session (1:34.334)) using a brand new set of the soft Pirellis. Ultimately, his effort is good enough for P4.

In the closing stages, it gets busy on track with most drivers opting for another run another, often longer, run on a used set of tyres. This does not result in quicker lap times but useful mileage into log-run pace is gained.

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Results first free practice China:

1Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:33.911 19
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:34.118+0.207s21
3Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:34.167+0.256s21
4Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:34.334+0.423s20
5Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:34.653+0.742s23
6Daniel RicciardoRICRenault1:35.239+1.328s23
7Pierre GaslyGASRed Bull Racing Honda1:35.428+1.517s23
8Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.447+1.536s24
9Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.466+1.555s25
10Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:35.507+1.596s24
11Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:35.517+1.606s25
12Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:35.591+1.680s22
13Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault1:35.631+1.720s24
14Alexander AlbonALBScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:35.695+1.784s26
15Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:35.729+1.818s23
16Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault1:35.756+1.845s24
17Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes1:35.820+1.909s24
18Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes1:36.847+2.936s27
19George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:37.619+3.708s28
20Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari---2