Red Bull’s Max Verstappen tops practice session at Chinese Grand Prix after mist forces abandonment of first practice

first_imgThe opening practice session for the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix was halted twice then abandoned because the medical support helicopter was unable to operate in poor visibility on Friday.The 90-minute session was finally called off with five minutes remaining on the clock at a drizzly and misty Shanghai International Circuit. (Also read: Australian GP winner Sebastian Vettel tips Mercedes as favourites for Chinese Grand Prix)Fourteen drivers set a time during the brief window of track action, going out on a mix of intermediate and wet-weather tyres. (Also read: Mercedes have to raise game to meet Ferrari challenge, says Lewis Hamilton)Teenager Max Verstappen was fastest in his Red Bull, lapping the 5.4-kilometre circuit in one minute, 50.491 seconds.The Dutchman’s time was more than 15 seconds slower than Nico Rosberg needed to secure pole position for last year’s race, an indication of the limited usefulness of the curtailed session.Championship favourite Lewis Hamilton, who heads into Sunday’s race determined to strike back against a resurgent Ferrari by racing to a fifth win in China, did not set a time in his Mercedes.German Sebastian Vettel, winner of last month’s season-opener in Australia, did not set a time either, with his Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen also limiting himself to a single installation lap.Several drivers were caught out by snaps of oversteer in the cool and damp conditions. Most got going again but Nico Hulkenberg beached his Renault in the gravel, returning to the pits on the back of a scooter.advertisement”The weather conditions have forced the closure of the local airport,” read a message on the timing screens.The first suspension was prompted by the medical helicopter being unable to land at the designated hospital in Shanghai, while a message on the timing screens when the session was halted for the second time said the “local airport” had been closed.Television helicopters continued to hover above the circuit throughout.last_img

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