2013 Chinese Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
The drivers got to grips with the 5.451-kilometre Shanghai circuit for the first time during the two free practice sessions today, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg going fastest on the P Zero White medium tyre in the morning and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa quickest on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.
There were also exceptional performances further down the field, with Jules Bianchi at one point going 11th fastest for Marussia in FP2 on the soft tyre. The drivers all used only the medium tyre in in FP1, with Red Bull’s Mark Webber the first to switch to the soft tyres half an hour into FP2. Massa’s fastest time in FP2 was already close to the pole time from last year.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Degradation has not been excessive on the medium compound, which at 0.2 seconds per lap is in line with our expectations. Rosberg’s fastest time in FP1, for example, was set on an old set of medium tyres that had already covered 10 laps and Massa also completed quite a long run on the soft tyres in FP2. In total, we’d expect the soft tyre to last between 11 to 12 laps in the race and the medium tyre for about 18 laps. This would suggest a maximum of three pit stops but it’s also possible that we’ll see two stops if the track keeps on evolving at this rate. We experienced some graining on the front left, particularly with the soft tyre, which has resulted in higher levels of degradation than we would like although we are confident that this will come down as the weekend goes on. The performance gap between the two compounds is around 1.5s, which is a little higher than we initially expected but it’s still early days here.”
Fastest times in Friday practice:
1. F. Massa 1:35.340 Soft New 2. K. Raikkonen 1:35.492 Soft New
3. F. Alonso 1:35.755 Soft New
Maxinum g-force readings at the Shanghai circuit:
Max. g-force braking (longitudinal force): Turn 14 @ -4.9
Max. g-force cornering (lateral force): Turn 7 @ 4.5
Pirelli facts of the day:
Of the nine Chinese Grands Prix held so far, there have been eight different winners: only Lewis Hamilton has won twice (in 2008 and 2011). Mark Webber is the only driver who has finished on the podium in China after starting from outside the top 10 (in 2011, when he went from 18th to third). And if Kimi Raikkonen finishes in the points on Sunday, he will overtake Sebastian Vettel in the standings for the longest points-scoring runs in the sport. Raikkonen and Vettel are currently both on 19 consecutive results in the points. Only Michael Schumacher (24) and Fernando Alonso (22) have more.