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Live: F1 Chinese GP updates – FP1 & Sprint qualifying

The fifth round of the 2024 Formula 1 season begins with the sole practice session and sprint race qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix and you can follow the action here.

After five years away, F1 returns to Shanghai and with it the first sprint race format of the 2024 season.

Teams and drivers will have just one 60-minute practice session to get up to speed before the revised sprint race schedule for this year kicks in – starting with sprint race qualifying on Friday afternoon.

Practice starts at 4:30am BST (11:30am local time) followed by sprint race qualifying at 8:30am BST (3:30pm local time).

By: Ewan Gale, Haydn Cobb

Summary

Summary:

  • Norris grabs sprint qualifying pole in a session hit by rain and marked by deleted lap times
  • Norris initially has pole lap time deleted for track limits but it is reinstated having gone off on the previous lap
  • Hamilton takes second ahead of Alonso and Verstappen
  • Knocked out in SQ2: Russell, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Stroll
  • Eliminated in SQ1: Gasly, Ocon, Albon, Tsunoda and Sargeant
Leaderboard:
  1. Norris, McLaren
  2. Hamilton, Mercedes
  3. Alonso, Aston Martin
  4. Verstappen, Red Bull
  5. Sainz, Ferrari
  6. Perez, Red Bull
  7. Leclerc, Ferrari
  8. Piastri, McLaren
  9. Bottas, Sauber
  10. Zhou, Sauber
Status: Stopped
With that, we'll finish up this coverage of the chaotic sprint race qualifying. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but a front two rows of Norris, Hamilton, Alonso and Verstappen is exciting enough. Until then, have a lovely Friday and go well!
So, who wasn't planning to get up to watch the Chinese GP sprint race tomorrow morning, but now will do? We'll see you tomorrow bright and early - the sprint race starts at 4am BST.
Here's the Chinese GP sprint qualifying report on Norris grabbing pole.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"We think because it [Norris' lap time deleted] was for the lap before [his pole lap time] where he went off at the last corner. They thought it would have implications for the pole lap," McLaren team principal Andrea Stella tells Sky Sports F1. He also confirmed the FIA stewards made the decision to reinstate Norris' pole lap time independently.
In all of that, Alonso was investigated and cleared for a pitlane infringement. It appeared to be down to the pushing and shoving at pitlane exit but all's fair it seems.
 
Well, that was a bit mental. Norris had pole, then lost it, then got it back again. The driver who got the final sprint race pole of 2023 also gets the first sprint race pole of 2024, but nobody could've predicted how that one unfolded.
"It was tricky! You are always nervous going into a session like this and even before qualifying when you know it is going to rain," Norris said. "The last lap was all or nothing."
It appears Norris lost his lap originally because he went off at the final corner and that usually means you lose your current and next lap time in qualifying. But his pole-winning time was reinstated given he didn't go off in the lap and didn't gain an advantage at the final corner in wet conditions.
Top 10 for the Chinese GP sprint race: P1 Norris, P2 Hamilton, P3 Alonso, P4 Verstappen, P5 Sainz, P6 Perez, P7 Leclerc, P8 Piastri, P9 Bottas, P10 Zhou.
Norris, who had his 1m57.940s deleted for track limits earlier, gets it back and that gives him pole. Hamilton will join him on the front row ahead of Alonso and Verstappen. Blimey!
No he isn't! Norris has his lap time reinstated! He is back on pole! This is incredible!
Hamilton is back on pole, from Alonso, Verstappen and Sainz.
But Norris gets his lap time deleted so it drops him back to ninth!
Norris goes pole now! Wow! A 1m57.940s!
Hamilton goes fastest! His 1m59.321s beats Alonso by almost nine-tenths!
Alonso goes on to provisional pole! His 2m00.213s puts him top by almost two-tenths!
Verstappen was on for pole but he goes off the track at the final corner so his lap time won't count - even if the off dropped him to fourth.
The drivers are drifting through the long corners because they cannot get the power down without sliding. Incredible!
Bottas goes second fastest! Zhou did go seventh but his lap time is deleted for going off the track too.
Perez goes fastest by over two seconds! His 2m00.455s is the time to beat!
Piastri goes top with a 2m02.598s, while Verstappen gets his lap time deleted having gone off at Turn 6.
Verstappen goes wide at Turn 6 but gets away with it. It looks like it is icy given how slippery the track surface is with this rain.
This might be a case of whoever can put together a clean lap will get pole! A huge chance for everyone - bar Leclerc who has pitted.
Leclerc is now off at Turn 9! He keeps his Ferrari going but he has clipped the wall so his car must be damaged.
Norris goes off track already on his out-lap. It looks very slippery out there.
Piastri leads out the pack but this time everyone comes out pretty sharpish due to the conditions and this session only lasting eight minutes in total. No time to hang about now.
Here we go for Q3...
As the track has been declared wet, all drivers are able to use the intermediate or wet tyres. Most of those already at pit exit are on the green-walled inter tyres.
Q3 starts in three minutes time. Who is your money on for sprint race pole?
Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber C44

Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber C44

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

So, Q3 is coming up. It'll be the first time the drivers have been on the track in the wet today, having not been on this track at all for five years before this morning. This is a real test.
Q2 is over, out in this session is: P11 Russell, P12 Magnusen, P13 Hulkenberg, P14 Ricciardo, P15 Stroll.
The crowd erupts at seeing Zhou make Q3 alongside team-mate Bottas. That's the first time either Sauber has made it into the top 10 of qualifying for over a year.
The track has been declared wet and Russell's first sector time is six-tenths of a second slower than what he needs to push Zhou out of 10th. So that's it for Q2 as the rain closes in.
Both Saubers, as it stands, are into Q3. But can Russell do anything about that?
But there is Verstappen, who goes one-tenth faster than Leclerc to go top, as Perez slots into third. Everyone has posted a lap time now so the bottom five are Russell, Magnussen, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo and Stroll.
Leclerc ends that with a 1m35.711s to go top. Five minutes of Q2 to go.
Sainz goes third and Alonso goes fourth to leave the McLarens still top.
Norris posts a 1m36.047s so the rain hasn't struck yet. He's instantly beaten by team-mate Piastri by two-tenths of a second.
The drivers have sorted themselves out and the first lap times are coming up. Norris will be the first one to provide us with a time to beat.

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