Nico Rosberg fastest as failures disrupt Chinese GP practice

Nico Rosberg edged Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the quickest time in first practice for the Chinese Grand Prix as running was limited because of two red flags

Nico Rosberg fastest as failures disrupt Chinese GP practice

Championship leader Rosberg clocked a 1m38.037s on the softs to finish 0.146 seconds clear of Hamilton with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel just under half a second further back in third.

Race control brought out the red flag early in the session when Felipe Massa spun at Turn 6, dragging gravel onto track.

Replays showed the left rear tyre appeared to come away from its rim, pitching the Brazilian into a spin.

Massa recovered to the pits and headed back out later in the session, but the left rear deflated again.

Pirelli said investigations on both failures showed no sign of a puncture.

The session was red-flagged for a second time to clear substantial debris following a left-rear tyre deflation for Renault's Kevin Magnussen.

The Dane was warned by his team of a possible brake problem before Magnussen reported the rear suspension was broken.

Hamilton set the early pace on the medium tyres, two tenths quicker than his team-mate Rosberg.

However, Hamilton spun twice at the same corner with the Briton reporting: "Something is up, I keep having this locking into Turn 11".

In the closing stages of the session, Rosberg told Mercedes he was in "limp home mode" with the team telling him he might have "an engine issue".

Teams lost around 30 minutes during the second red flag as a comprehensive track inspection was carried out amid suggestions debris had triggered Magnussen's puncture.

There was a flurry of activity when the session restarted with eight minutes to go, during which Rosberg edged ahead of Hamilton and Vettel put his Ferrari third.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was fourth quickest ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jr.

McLaren brought seven sets of the super-soft tyre to Shanghai and decided to make use of the rubber early in the weekend, with Jenson Button ending the session eighth, 1.9s off the pace.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Toro Rosso's Max Verstappen completed the top 10.

PRACTICE ONE TIMES

Pos Driver Car Time Gap Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.037s - 16
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.183s 0.146s 16
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m38.665s 0.628s 12
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull/Renault 1m39.061s 1.024s 13
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.155s 1.118s 11
6 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull/Renault 1m39.625s 1.588s 14
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m39.676s 1.639s 12
8 Jenson Button McLaren/Honda 1m39.974s 1.937s 11
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India/Mercedes 1m40.169s 2.132s 13
10 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso/Ferrari 1m40.232s 2.195s 13
11 Sergio Perez Force India/Mercedes 1m40.347s 2.310s 15
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren/Honda 1m40.538s 2.501s 11
13 Valtteri Bottas Williams/Mercedes 1m40.828s 2.791s 10
14 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 1m41.358s 3.321s 9
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber/Ferrari 1m41.393s 3.356s 18
16 Rio Haryanto Manor/Mercedes 1m41.614s 3.577s 20
17 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m41.816s 3.779s 16
18 Pascal Wehrlein Manor/Mercedes 1m42.908s 4.871s 14
19 Felipe Nasr Sauber/Ferrari 1m42.980s 4.943s 8
20 Kevin Magnussen Renault - - 6
21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas/Ferrari - - 2
22 Felipe Massa Williams/Mercedes - - 4


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