Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix 2014: Results, Times for Practice and Qualifying
The fourth race of the 2014 Formula One season sees the best drivers in the sport take to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso will line up alongside Kimi Raikkonen under the new management of Marco Mattiacci at Ferrari, chasing down Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the top of the standings.
The latter won back-to-back grand prix titles with a victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix on April 6 after last month’s triumph in Malaysia.
Mercedes are looking stronger than ever this season with Rosberg and Hamilton performing well, and they’ll look to continue their form at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Read on to see how F1’s elite faired in their practice and qualification bids ahead of Sunday’s race.
Q3: Imperious Lewis Hamilton Takes Pole
Lewis Hamilton produced a sparkling display to qualify on pole for the Chinese Grand Prix. The British driver overcame the rainy conditions to dominate the rest of the field, finishing more than half a second clear of his closest challenger.
Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo will join Hamilton on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race, with fellow Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel rounding off the top three, giving the current World Champions their best qualifying performance of the season.
This latest pole is Hamilton's third in four races this season, and he'll be looking to convert this stellar qualifying performance into a second consecutive race win after his triumph in Bahrain.
The man who he battled for long periods with at the Bahrain Grand Prix was his teammate Nico Rosberg, but the German could only finish fourth, eventually spinning on his final hot lap in a desperate attempt to get close to the pole-sitter.
The rain came down hard after Q2 giving the drivers a difficult decision on whether to stick with the intermediate tyres or revert to the full wets. Nico Hulkenberg took a gamble by going out on the wetter compound, but was quickly in to switch back to the inters. In doing so, he gave the rest of the drivers a marker.
It was Vettel who set the early pace with a time of 1:54.918, but Hamilton was quick to respond. The Brit had set the fastest pace in the previous two qualifying sessions, and he was at it again in Q3, as he trumped Vettel with a 1:54.348.
And even when Ricciardo looked set to overhaul Hamilton after setting the fastest first two sector times of anyone, the Mercedes man responded again, setting the benchmark even higher at 1:53.860.
The session was red-flagged after Rosberg’s spin, meaning the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers look set to battle it out at the front tomorrow.
Hamilton was obviously delighted with his performance, insisting its always satisfying to qualify on pole in tricky conditions, per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport:
Definitely the most satisfaction is getting this result when it is raining.
It was so slippery out there, trying to find the grip and not make mistakes.
It was a tough session, but the car was feeling great. There are some things that can be improved on but it has put us in a good position for the race.
Four-time World Champion Vettel claimed Red Bull are in a good position to challenge the Mercedes drivers because they’ve “managed to split them up” per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport.
Further down the grid, Fernando Alonso will start in fifth with his former Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa a little further back in sixth place. Massa’s fellow Williams driver Valtteri Bottas will start seventh.
Nico Hulkenberg, Jean-Eric Vergne and Romain Grosjean rounded off the top ten.
Here are your full qualifying results per Formula1.com:
|2||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:56.641||1:55.302||1:54.455||23|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:55.926||1:54.499||1:54.960||23|
|8||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:55.913||1:56.847||1:56.366||23|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:58.362||1:58.264||17|
|DNQ||13||Pastor Maldonado||Lotus-Renault||No time||0|
Q2: McLaren Duo out as Big Names Struggle
Ahead of the second of the three qualifying sessions, the rain had tailed off and most of the drivers opted to shift from the full wet compound to the intermediate tyres.
Subsequently, the drivers initially struggled to settle into a groove during the early stages of Q2, with Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso all running off the track whilst on a hot lap.
The same could not be said for Lewis Hamilton however, who had no problem adapting to the changeable track conditions. The Mercedes man posted a superb early time of 1:54.200 with his first run of the session, before improving that again to 1:54.029 late on in Q2, putting him top of the pile once again.
Sebastian Vettel continued to look solid around the Shanghai circuit, finishing behind Hamilton in second place, with the Brit’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in third.
There were plenty of big names who weren’t finding things quite so easy however. McLaren are a team that have struggled for rhythm so far this season, and both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were unable to progress into the final qualifying phase; they will start in 12th and 15th respectively.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, Kimi Raikkonen failed to make it through. The Finn will start 11th on the grid after posting a time over a second slower than his Ferrari teammate Alonso. Per Andrew Benson of BBC Sport, Raikkonen suffered with downshift problems that may have contributed to his poor performance.
Elsewhere, Sergio Perez was unable to better his 16th place finish from Q1, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil will begin the race in 14th place and Daniil Kvyat will start 13th in his Toro Rosso.
11. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)
12. Jenson Button (McLaren)
13. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso)
14. Adrian Sutil (Sauber)
15. Kevin Magnussen (McLaren)
16. Sergio Perez (Force India)
Q1: Pastor Maldonado Back of the Grid, Familiar Faces Drop out
Prior to the start of the first qualifying session, Lotus confirmed that Pastor Maldonado would not be taking part. The Venezuelan driver suffered an oil leak on his car that will see him start at the back of the grid for Sunday's race.
Maldonado was quick to admit it was his error that lead to him crashing in FP2 at the entrance of the pitlane, per James Galloway of Sky Sports, as he claimed he was focusing too much on the steering wheel at the time.
The omission of the Lotus driver meant that only five would drop out in Q1. The conditions had worsened after the final practice session, meaning a host of the drivers went into this one on the full wet tyres.
At the top of the standings Sebastian Vettel seemed as though he was beginning to establish some rhythm around a circuit where he has been on pole three times, topping the time sheets early on. But Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg eventually overhauled the German to finish first and second fastest respectively at the end of the session
In the drop-zone there were plenty of familiar faces. Max Chilton will start ahead Pastor Maldonado in 21st position, with his Marussia teammate Jules Bianchi a further two places up the road in 19th place. Filling in the gaps were the Caterham drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kamui Kobayashi, who will start in 20th and 18th place respectively.
Sergio Perez struggled for pace throughout the session in his Force India, but he just had enough to steer clear of the drop-zone. Instead, the final place was occupied by Esteban Gutierrez, who will start from 17th spot in his Sauber.
17. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber)
18. Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham)
19. Jules Bianchi (Marussia)
20. Marcus Ericsson (Caterham)
21. Max Chilton (Marussia)
DNQ. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus)
P3: Daniel Ricciardo Fastest in Frustrating Session
Daniel Ricciardo finished at the top of the pile in the final practice session ahead of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver posted the quickest time in a wholly frustrating session as damp conditions and reliability issues hampered a host of teams out on track.
Subsequently, there were a host of big name drivers who decided not to post any timed laps ahead of the qualifying sessions.
That included the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, who completed a measly seven laps between them in the final session. Teams were deciding that there was little to gain and plenty to risk given the track conditions, and McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso followed suit in setting zero timed laps.
Here are your full standings from FP3 ahead of the qualifying session’s for the Chinese Grand Prix per Formula1.com:
|1||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:53.958||5|
|4||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:55.032||1.074||6|
|10||11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1:56.019||2.061||6|
|11||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||1:56.233||2.275||8|
|19||6||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||No time||4|
|20||20||Kevin Magnussen||McLaren-Mercedes||No time||3|
|21||14||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||No time||1|
|22||44||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||No time||3|
In other notable news from the session, Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel encountered more reliability woes. Per BBC Sport, the four-time world champion reported “a lot of clutch slip” and “hardly any acceleration” from his car.
Ricciardo handled the Red Bull with poise in the tricky conditions, and the Aussie driver is certainly a man capable of getting involved in the race for pole position this weekend.
P2: Lewis Hamilton Records Day's Fastest Lap Despite Technical Issues
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the second session, despite numerous reported car troubles.
Having endured suspension problems earlier in the day, Hamilton then found the car’s handling to be causing him trouble. However, the Englishman still managed to set the fastest lap time of 1:38.315.
He was far from happy, though. He told Sky Sports that Mercedes has a lot to work on ahead of Sunday’s race:
[I've not learnt] much. It's not been the easiest of days. This evening we have got to do some work to figure out where we are. Obviously we are not that bad, but you always want to be better and we will work hard tonight to find some improvements on set-up.
The [suspension] problem put us on the backfoot because you don't have many laps as it is and so every lap counts. But we will fix whatever problem we had and be quick tomorrow.
Here’s how they lined up beneath Hamilton in the second session:
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:38.811|
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||1:39.015|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:39.648|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:39.736|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:39.759|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||1:40.124|
Mercedes has won every race of the 2014 season so far. However, they’ll face a tough task in keeping that record going with other teams starting to show form.
Looking to reverse the fortunes of Ferrari, Fernando Alonso bettered his session-high time from the first with a 1:38.456, while the Red Bull team also looks strong in Shanghai.
Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo made the top five in the second session, despite the latter encountering troubles with his left front tyre.
Tyres will come under the spotlight for every team heading into the weekend, with several drivers struggling on the Shanghai International Circuit’s surface.
Hamilton is chasing a career first of three grand prix victories in succession, and with two to his name already, he’s looking a hot favourite in the Chinese Grand Prix. However, Mercedes must first address their technical issues if they’re to produce yet another champion.
P1: Fernando Alonso Sets the Pace in a Mixed Session for Ferrari
Fernando Alonso took a leaf out of his 2013 book by posting the fastest time in the first practice session.
The Spaniard set a lap time of 1:39.783, which was 0.398 seconds faster than the in-form Nico Rosberg. However, fellow Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen failed to set a time in the first session due to a power steering problem.
The Ferrari pair have failed to record a podium finish between them in this campaign, but Alonso appeared to have his car running well. Whether his pace will be an accurate representation of the weekend ahead remains to be seen.
Mercedes also encountered technical issues, with Lewis Hamilton’s session curtailed with a suspension fault.
Per BBC Sport, the Englishman could only manage nine laps before seeing his session cut short, but he was reportedly in good spirits after the practice:
Paddy Lowe and Lewis Hamilton are looking pretty jovial in the garage, even though the floor of Hamilton's car is still off. We were told that the problem was with the rear suspension and the mechanics appear to be working on the left-hand side of the car.
World champion Sebastian Vettel snuck into the top 10 with a 1:41.699, but he had a brief off-track moment during his session.
In fact, he was one of three racers that found themselves off the track, with tyres struggling to cope in the cool conditions.
Fellow Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo set the third-fastest time of the session.
Here are the full results from the first practice session in Shanghai:
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||1:40.722|
|Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||1:41.175|
|Jean-Eric Vergne||Toro Rosso||1:41.505|
|Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull|
|Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso||1:41.977|
|Giedo van der Garde||Sauber||1:42.615|
|Sergio Perez||Force India||1:42.733|
|Kimi Raikkonen||Ferrari||No time|
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