FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix


FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Race Weekend: Chinese Grand Prix

Location: China

Circuit: Shanghai International Circuit

Session: Free Practice (Friday)

Following an eventful week for drivers – making their way straight from Bahrain to China, today we had Free Practice (Friday) ahead of the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton has looked strong round the circuit – not only topping the time-sheets for both practice sessions but also setting the fastest lap time in the morning, ending the session in P1 with Valtteri Bottas closely behind in P3.

Let’s take a look at what teams and drivers had to say after the practice sessions today – including Interviews with Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen to name a few.

MERCEDES – FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton – P1 – Time: 1:33.482


Lewis Hamilton: “When I got to Shanghai, the weather was really good but it’s gone downhill – now we got the rain and it’s cold. It’s been a good day, we got through all the laps that we needed and got some good feedback about the car.”

“All the tyres here are quite similar in pace so there’s not a big difference between them even though we have the double step between the Soft and the UltraSoft. The balance of the car is good but we have some fine-tuning to do on it tonight.”

“Ferrari were quick and Red Bull looked really fast on the long run. It’s good to see times so close but this really means that we need to bring our A game – we need everyone in the team to be on it throughout the weekend because it’s a joint effort.”

Valtteri Bottas – P3 – Time: 1:33.515


Valtteri Bottas: “It’s a good thing that the rain didn’t come until the end of the session because the race is expected to be dry.”

“The track improved a lot over the course of the day and even during the sessions. Lap after lap – you could just feel more and more the grip but that’s quite usual for this track. We’re expecting tomorrow morning to be a little bit trickier after the rain and hopefully the conditions will improve for qualifying.”

“We had some issues with the balance in the morning – the car was quick but it wasn’t easy to drive. We changed the set-up for FP2 and saw the lap times improve – hopefully we can make another step forward tomorrow.”

“Overall, we got some good running and plenty of information so I’m feeling all set for tomorrow and it looks like it will be extremely close again with Ferrari for qualifying and in the race on Sunday.”

FERRARI- FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen – P2 – Time: 1:33.489


Kimi Raikkonen: “It was a pretty good Friday and I’m quite happy with the feeling of the car. I think we have a pretty good base line to start from, it looks pretty good. The car has been quite straightforward since the beginning, so it easy to fine tune things.”

“On one lap we had some traffic, I’m sure we could have gone faster. In the long run we never really got a proper idea due to the conditions: it started to rain and we had limited running, so it’s a bit tricky to know where we are.”

“Today it was close, but then tomorrow who knows what the weather will be; things can change a lot from one day to the next”.

Sebastian Vettel – P4 – Time: 1:33.590


Sebastian Vettel: “I think at this track it is very important to find the right feeling with the car and its setup.”

“The track is long and the tires struggle here. But, overall, I think we are quite close. However, the car is not yet where I want it to be.”

“So, we are still looking at how we can improve. I think the SF71H has the pace, but you need to make sure it works.”

“Today it’s been a mixed day and I think in the afternoon it was a bit better and I was a little bit happier. Hopefully tomorrow I’m going to be very happy!”

RED BULL RACING – FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen – P5 – Time: 1:33.823

Max Verstappen: “We spent a bit of time during the first session today working on the setup of the car in order to understand it better. By the end of the day the pace was looking good and I think we can be happy with the car’s performance, it’s always good to finish a day’s running with no major problems and we don’t look too far off.”

“We just managed to fit in a longer stint before the rain came towards the end of the second session so we didn’t feel the need to stay out.”

“The long runs were once again very positive and I felt pretty comfortable. A little bit of fine tuning on the short runs to get the balance better and we should be alright.”

“This track is good for overtaking anyway so I think we can have a good race judging by our pace.”

Daniel Ricciardo – P9 – Time: 1:34.557

Daniel Ricciardo: “Half of the morning and half of the afternoon were good.”

“Generally with the harder compounds I was more comfortable, but once we put the ultrasoft on we didn’t have as much speed so we need to find a bit of time there and understand where we are losing.”

“I obviously know what doesn’t feel right in the car, but now we need to find the answers and change that for tomorrow. The long runs were much better and I’m confident we can find the speed.”

“Overall, we aren’t looking too bad and I hope we can be in the fight with Ferrari and Mercedes.”

MCLAREN – FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso – P10 – Time: 1:34.632

Fernando Alonso: “The first session today was primarily spent testing some new parts we have on the car, while in the second session we focussed on the tyres. Since the degradation here is quite high, especially on the front tyres, it was important for Stoffel and me to test both compounds.”

“We also managed to check the car in wet conditions, on Inter tyres, even though it was only for a few minutes at the end of the session. It’s always good to have an idea of engine mapping and everything else, which is different in the wet.”

“We’re expecting good weather for the race – dry, sunny and wind blowing in a different direction – therefore not very similar conditions to today, so on Sunday we’ll need to improvise.”

“We completed all the items on our programme and now we need to go through all the data and find performance for tomorrow.”

Stoffel Vandoorne – P14 – Time: 1:35.163

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s not been the smoothest Friday for us. We had a few problems in FP1, and FP2 wasn’t perfect either with the issue with the pit-stop, but I did feel a lot more confident in the car this afternoon.”

“In general, we’ve learned a lot again and FP2 was a much better session. The most positive thing from today, as we’ve learned over the last couple of weekends, is that our race pace looks promising and there’s a lot of effort going into our race preparation.”

“Our qualifying performance we still need to work on a bit and understand a few things, but generally I feel okay.”

“There’s plenty to play with here – the weather might look a bit tricky tomorrow and we’ll have a few different possibilities in terms of allocating tyres, but I think we have everything we need.”

“There is quite a big difference between the Prime and the Option tyres as they behave quite differently so it will make things pretty interesting.”

“We’re prepared and we know what we want for the race, so we should be in a strong position. It was also quite windy today and I think everyone was affected by it, but generally we had no major issues.”

“After the pit-stop I left the box and I didn’t feel that there was anything wrong straight away. It was only as I turned left into Turn Three that I felt something happen, and when I looked in the mirror I could see that the right rear wheel was wobbly, so I immediately parked the car as a safety precaution.”

“At the moment we’re still investigating, so it’s a bit too early to say what caused it. Pit-stops are part of Formula 1 and I think they always will be in some way.”

“Of course, we don’t like to see incidents like we saw in Bahrain – we’ve seen a couple of cars having to park up and it’s definitely not what we want – but it happens every now and then.”

ERIC BOULLIER –  McLaren Racing Director

“Today was a useful day for us in terms of setting up the car for the weekend ahead. We managed to complete a solid amount of work and test a lot of different components, compounds and configurations, and now we’ll focus on analysing the data ahead of tomorrow.”

“The threat of rain over the weekend puts a question mark over set-up for all the teams in the pit-lane, but we’re working hard to prepare ourselves for any eventuality using the data we have and read the situation as best we can.”

“We managed to get one run in on the Inters at the end of the session so at least we have some information and feeling for the car’s behaviour in these kinds of conditions here in Shanghai.”

“We don’t know yet what caused the issue in Stoffel’s practice pit-stop. It appears the right rear wheel didn’t attach properly, but we’re still investigating.”

SAUBER – FREE PRACTICE: 2018 Chinese Grand Prix

Marcus Ericsson P17 – Time: 1:35.624

Marcus Ericsson: “It has been a productive day for us. We completed the planned programme for both practice sessions, and tested all three tyre compounds, in addition to doing set-up work.”

“The characteristics of the Shanghai International Circuit are quite different compared to the tracks in Melbourne and Bahrain. Therefore, we explored how our new car behaves on this track, and focused on finding the ideal set-up for the race.”

“We gathered some interesting data and will work overnight to make sure we move in the right direction and have a positive qualifying tomorrow.”

Charles Leclerc – P18 – Time: 1:35.916

Charles Leclerc: “It was a productive day for us. It was the first time I had driven on this circuit, which is always an interesting experience.”

“Learning a new track is a great way to continue developing as a driver and becoming more familiar with different challenges – such as the long straights and variety of corner combinations here in Shanghai.”

“We were quite competitive on the soft and medium compounds this morning. We also completed some laps on the ultrasoft compound in the afternoon, and will be looking at our data to understand how to optimise our performance in tomorrow’s qualifying.”

“I look forward to being back in the car tomorrow.”

Photos From Around The Paddock – China 










There’s more on the way so as always, make sure you keep checking back for all the latest F1 News ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix!

The Formula 1 Girl 🙂

x x


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