Chinese Grand Prix: Practice hit by heavy rain and fog as delays cause Shanghai havoc

Six drivers chose not to set a time as a heavily disrupted first practice hampered preparations for the Chinese Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

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

Following a deluge of overnight rain, the one-and-a-half-hour session was halted after just four minutes with the medical helicopter unable to land at the designated hospital due to the foggy conditions.

The session re-started with a little more than 40 minutes to go, but there was only a smattering of on-track activity with six drivers - including championship protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel - not bothering to post a competitive lap.

Moments later the red flags were out again - after the local airport was closed due to the worsening conditions - before the session was eventually abandoned five minutes before it was due to end.

During the brief running, Nico Hulkenberg beached his Renault in the gravel at turn two, while there were also spins for the Haas pair of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest lap in the damp conditions ahead of the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.

The second practice session was due to get under way at 1400 local time, but a delay was announced as fog continued to prevent the medical helicopter from taking off.

Final Times after First Practice:

1 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1min 50.491secs

2 Felipe Massa (Bra) Williams 1:52.086

3 Lance Stroll (Can) Williams 1:52.507

4 Carlos Sainz (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:52.840

5 Romain Grosjean (Fra) Haas F1 1:53.039

6 Daniil Kvyat (Rus) Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:53.314

7 Fernando Alonso (Spa) McLaren 1:53.520

8 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) Red Bull 1:54.038

9 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes GP 1:54.664

10 Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas F1 1:55.104

11 Nico Hulkenberg (Ger) Renault 1:55.608

12 Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel) McLaren 1:57.445

13 Marcus Ericsson (Swe) Sauber-Ferrari 2:15.138

14 Antonio Giovinazzi (Ita) Sauber-Ferrari 2:15.281

15 Jolyon Palmer (Gbr) Renault No Time

16 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Ferrari No Time

17 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari No Time

18 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Force India No Time

19 Sergio Perez (Mex) Force India No Time

20 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP No Time