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||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:50.491||4|
|2.||Felipe Massa||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:52.086||7|
|3.||Lance Stroll||Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW40||1:52.507||7|
|4.||Carlos Sainz Jr||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:52.840||5|
|5.||Romain Grosjean||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:53.039||6|
|6.||Daniil Kvyat||Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault STR12||1:53.314||4|
|7.||Fernando Alonso||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:53.520||5|
|8.||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing Tag Heuer RB13||1:54.038||7|
|9.||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||1:54.664||4|
|10.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-17||1:55.104||8|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||1:55.608||6|
|12.||Stoffel Vandoorne||McLaren-Honda MP4-31||1:57.445||4|
|13.||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||2:15.138||4|
|14.||Antonio Giovinazzi||Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C36||2:15.281||4|
|15.||Jolyon Palmer||Renault Sport F1 Team RS17||no time||3|
|16.||Sebastian Vettel||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||no time||2|
|17.||Kimi Räikkönen||Scuderia Ferrari SF70H||no time||1|
|18.||Esteban Ocon||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||no time||2|
|19.||Sergio Pérez||Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM10||no time||3|
|20.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W08||no time||2|
Image via Red Bull Racing