Nico Rosberg and Kimi Raikkonen were the two quickest drivers in todays Chinese Grand Prix Practice.
Rosberg set a quickest lap time of 1m38.037s from teammate Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel in the morning session. It looked as though Rosberg was having a much smoother session than Hamilton, who had to make a couple of setup changes when he kept spinning between Turns 6 and 11 due to front locking.
Also having problems in that area of the circuit was Williams’ Felipe Massa, when his left rear tyre blew 30 minutes into the session, causing a red flag as the Marshals cleared up the debris.
After carbon copy happened later on in the session when they sent him back out, Williams traced the problem back to a bodywork defect in the floor and fixed it before the start of FP2.
Concerns over the structural integrity of the tyres were raised when the same problem happened on Kevin Magnussen’s Renault, however that also appeared to be a technical issue rather than tyre-related.
When the session restarted Rosberg set his quickest lap on the Soft tyres, although when the chequered flag came out he was told to come back to the pits slowly due to an ignition problem.
The second practice session started and we got more dramas from Esteban Gutierrez. After suffering electrical problems which set him out for the rest of FP1, he later had brake issues similar to Rosberg’s in Mexico last year where both discs appeared to set themselves on fire with the heat.
Brakes are set to be another factor that the teams will manage this weekend, so this will be something Haas look into in order to avoid another single car retirement this weekend.
As the session progressed we saw times on the Super Soft tyre come in, notably from the Ferrari drivers who matched the times being set by Mercedes. Vettel started off by switching to the Super Soft and besting Rosberg’s quickest time, before Raikkonen went even quicker to post a 1m36.896s.
McLaren also looked to favour the softer compound rubber today, setting early times on the Super Soft in FP1, then running the Soft tyre throughout the bulk of the afternoon session. Button and Alonso – who has been cleared to race on Sunday – ended up 11th and 12th place respectively.
The two Toro Rosso’s also had notable pace on the Super Soft, getting into the top five before Verstappen dropped down to 6th and Sainz down to 8th as the final times came through.
Photo Credit: xpb.cc