Max Verstappen has topped the time sheets in the opening practice session for the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix, which was interrupted by two lengthy red flag periods.

The Shanghai International Circuit was hit with heavy rain on Friday morning before the session itself, and damp conditions persisted throughout the session.

Low cloud cover also played havoc with visibility, which prompted the session to be suspended when the medical helicopter could not fly in safety or indeed land at its chosen hospital in Shanghai.

A handful of incident-free installation laps were completed before the first red flag period occurred, which lasted for around 45 minutes.

Conditions were eventually declared safe enough to re-open the pit lane, with the majority of the field opting to venture out on track.

Verstappen chipped his way to a 1:50.491 time on Intermediate tyres to finish quickest overall ahead of the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and his rookie teammate Lance Stroll.

While both Haas F1 drivers ran inside the top-ten – Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were fifth and tenth respectively – neither VF-17 looked particularly comfortable out on track. Magnussen had a number of spins and off-track moments, while Grosjean performed an identical pirouette to his teammate at Turn 9.

Nico Hülkenberg fared worse, beaching his Renault in the gravel at Turn 3 after spinning backwards into the gravel trap.

His incident came shortly before the second red flag – again helicopter related – was called with 25 minutes to run. With conditions failing to improve, there was no further running.

With no driver running more than eight laps in the entire session and a number not even bothering to set a representative time, little should be inferred from the session results.

Friday’s second practice session in Shanghai will begin at 14:00 local time (GMT +8).


2017 FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN CHINESE GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE SESSION 1 RESULTS
Driver Team / Entry Time Tyre Laps
1. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:50.491 Pirelli Intermediate 4
2. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:52.086 Pirelli Intermediate 7
3. Lance Stroll ca Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40 1:52.507 Pirelli Intermediate 7
4. Carlos Sainz Jr es Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:52.840 Pirelli Intermediate 5
5. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:53.039 Pirelli Intermediate 6
6. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12 1:53.314 Pirelli Intermediate 4
7. Fernando Alonso es McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:53.520 Pirelli Intermediate 5
8. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13 1:54.038 Pirelli Intermediate 7
9. Valtteri Bottas fi Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 1:54.664 Pirelli Wet 4
10. Kevin Magnussen dk Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17 1:55.104 Pirelli Intermediate 8
11. Nico Hülkenberg de Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 1:55.608 Pirelli Intermediate 6
12. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren-Honda MP4-31 1:57.445 Pirelli Wet 4
13. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 2:15.138 Pirelli Intermediate 4
14. Antonio Giovinazzi it Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36 2:15.281 Pirelli Intermediate 4
15. Jolyon Palmer Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 no time Pirelli Intermediate 3
16. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF70H no time Pirelli Intermediate 2
17. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF70H no time Pirelli Wet 1
18. Esteban Ocon fr Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 no time Pirelli Intermediate 2
19. Sergio Pérez Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10 no time Pirelli Intermediate 3
20. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08 no time Pirelli Intermediate 2

Image via Red Bull Racing

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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