Chinese GP Friday practice disrupted by bad weather

The opening practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix was heavily disrupted by the bad weather in Shanghai on Friday.

In FP1, drivers combined for for a total of 124 laps in between red flags stoppages but FP2 was never started, with race control monitoring conditions and hoping for a window in which to open proceedings.

A medical helicopter was once again grounded at the circuit with weather conditions preventing it from landing at the designated hospital in downtown Shanghai.

The second practice session is due to get under way at 1400 local time.

Verstappen said that even without the problems Red Bull is still playing catch-up to Mercedes and Ferrari, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo qualifying fifth and 1.355s off pole position.

The Red Bull Racing driver made a good start to move up to fourth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, and made it up to second during virtual and full safety vehicle periods, but was unable to keep team-mate Max Verstappen nor Scuderia Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel behind him.

Visibility at the track, on the outskirts of Shanghai, was good enough for helicopters to fly, with television choppers hovering overhead throughout the day.

Ricciardo was content with the set-up of his auto after improvements following Saturday morning's free practice session, insisting the lack of grip was to blame for the deficit to the top two teams.

Hamilton crossed the track to the grandstands to wave at his cheering fans before throwing signed merchandise up to them.

"Personally Im happy with what I was able to get out of the auto this afternoon but obviously as a team and as a driver we want more", he said. I've only done one lap on the 2017 wet tyres so far this year and, from what I could tell on that out-lap, they feel pretty similar to last year's so I don't have any particular worries over it.

"It's a shame because the track is fine to run. We need to work together with the FIA and FOM to find a solution or an alternative plan of some kind when we have circumstances like this in the future".

  • Stacy Allen