Haas F1: Chinese Grand Prix Friday Practice Recap
Despite sunny to partly cloudy skies and a comfortable temperature, the opening practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit produced little data for Haas F1 Team.
A gearbox sensor issue prevented Esteban Gutiérrez from making any tours around the 5.451-kilometer (3.387-mile), 16-turn track beyond his installation laps. Meanwhile, a series of flat tires – two suffered by Williams’ Felipe Massa and one by Renault’s Kevin Magnussen – twice brought out the red flag, drastically cutting the amount of running time. Romain Grosjean salvaged a total of nine laps, all on the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tires. His best lap was a 1:41.358, the 14th quickest of the session. Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg recorded the fastest lap (1:38.037) and Manor’s Rio Haryanto ran the most laps (20).
The day’s second practice was no better for Gutiérrez, as a rear brake issue at the beginning of the session allowed him only four laps, two of which came via his installation run. His best time was a 1:42.954, which put him 21st overall. Grosjean fared a little better by running a total of 22 laps across three separate runs. His best time was a 1:39.890, set on the Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft tire. However, Grosjean and the team struggled with the car’s aero and brake balance, and a proper comfort level could not be found. Kimi Raikkonen topped the charts with a 1:36.896, ahead of his Ferrari teammate Sebastian Vettel. Making the most laps in the second practice was Pascal Wehrlein of Manor (36 laps).
"Not an ideal day for the team. Esteban had a lot of problems. We had to try the new front wing, but the track is very difficult to understand. We’ve not managed to get everything working properly. The car is very difficult to drive. It’s not so easy. Tonight’s going to be a long night for the guys trying to analyze what we could do better for tomorrow. Right now, we’re not at all where we think we could be. We need to understand that and work with that. Today it hurt us that we’re a new team and we don’t have data from previous years. We’ve tried a few different things, but nothing seems to be the fix right now.”
“It was a very difficult day. It’s going to be very important to analyze all the data this evening in order to sort out the issues and prepare for tomorrow and the rest of the weekend. The team has been working hard and I’m positive that we’ll rectify the situation. I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”
Guenther Steiner: Team Principle
“Challenging day today, especially for Esteban. In the morning we had an issue with a gearbox sensor, which stopped him going out. Then in the afternoon, we had a problem with the brake-by-wire system resulting in the brakes seizing and subsequently catching fire. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get back out on track as we had to change everything in the backend. As for Romain, it was difficult to find a setup for the track. We flat-spotted a set of tires in FP2 and then spent the rest of the session working on the setup. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day us.”
Free Practice 1
Grosjean: 14th quick (1:41.358), nine laps completed
Gutiérrez: 21st quick (no time), two laps completed
Fastest Driver: Nico Rosberg of Mercedes (1:38.037)
Most Laps: Rio Haryanto of Manor Racing (20 laps)
Free Practice 2
Grosjean: 16th quick (1:39.890), 22 laps completed
Gutiérrez: 21st quick (1:42.954), four laps completed
Fastest Driver: Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari (1:36.896)
Most Laps: Pascal Wehrlein of Manor Racing (36 laps)
Drivers have one more practice session on Saturday (12:30-13:00) before qualifying starts at 15:00. Qualifying consists of three rounds, with the 16 fastest drivers from Q1 moving on to Q2. Then, the 10 fastest drivers from Q2 advance to Q3 where they’ll battle for the pole.