Button to the fore as Buemi suffers major crash in first practice

2010 Chinese Grand Prix first practice

Paul di Resta appeared for Force India again in free practice one

Paul di Resta appeared for Force India again in free practice one

Jenson Button headed the first practice session for McLaren at Shanghai.

But the session had to be stopped for ten minutes after Sebastien Buemi suffered a shocking accident when both front wheels came off his Toro Rosso.

The Swiss driver experienced the failure at the fastest point on the Shanghai circuit under braking for the turn 14 hairpin.

The front suspension on the car appeared to fail in the braking zone for the corner in a manner similar to Kimi Raikkonen’s crash at the Nurburgring five years ago.

Buemi’s STR5 went straight on and came to a halt in the gravel trap with the driver mercifully uninjured. The session was re-started for six minutes before the chequered flag came out.

Two other teams suffered breakages over bumps at the circuit. The front wing on Timo Glock’s Virgin at turn one and Jarno Trulli lost part of his Lotus’s diffuser at the same corner.

Fernando Alonso suffered his second consecutive Ferrari engine failure in six laps as his Chinese Grand Prix weekend got off to a bad start.

Alonso was supposed to be testing Ferrari’s version of McLaren’s F duct. But he completed just half-a-dozen installation laps, not even getting chance to set a time before his F10’s engine blew.

The McLaren drivers were first and second for much of the session, but they were split by Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes before the end.

Michael Schumacher in the second Mercedes was fourth ahead of Sebastian Vettel and the two Renaults.

Update: According to Lotus it was a front strake which came off Trulli’s car, not part of the diffuser.

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Laps
1 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.677 15
2 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’36.748 0.071 17
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’36.775 0.098 19
4 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’37.509 0.832 14
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’37.601 0.924 20
6 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’37.716 1.039 17
7 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.745 1.068 25
8 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.980 1.303 17
9 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’38.008 1.331 13
10 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’38.098 1.421 19
11 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’38.161 1.484 19
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.375 1.698 21
13 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’38.421 1.744 19
14 10 Nico H?â??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’38.569 1.892 20
15 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’38.618 1.941 26
16 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’38.678 2.001 17
17 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’39.939 3.262 5
18 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’41.531 4.854 22
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’41.779 5.102 23
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’41.830 5.153 20
21 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.181 5.504 27
22 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’43.875 7.198 23
23 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’43.949 7.272 20
24 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 6

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61 comments on Button to the fore as Buemi suffers major crash in first practice

  1. I remember a friend of mine doing just that…and then wishing that he hadn’t because the piece of car he had picked up was a very hot engine part. LOL

  2. F1withMySon said on 16th April 2010, 12:30

    Wow, those wheels were in a hurry to get off that car.

  3. Veeeight said on 16th April 2010, 13:25

    Very Scary indeed at least all involved are ok but somebody in the design room has some explaining to do!
    To MattB i assume anyone who gets parts off a broken car can keep them, i remember christian Klien crashing in front of us at Albert park a few years back and after the race heaps of people were scavenging through the tyre wall after the race to find bits of broken car!!

  4. I know the teams are trying to find ways of adjusting the ride height, but that’s ridiculous…

    It’s a big relief Buemi’s accident happened on a Friday, in China. Safe modern track with lots of space and not many spectators to hit. Makes me wonder how safe that Abu Dhabi grandstand is that’s above the run-off area.

    Also, would low-profile tyres have helped – would the wheels not have bounced so far?

    • Scootin159 said on 16th April 2010, 15:49

      Perhaps, if the tire had a stiffer sidewall it would’ve bounced less. Also a shorter sidewall would be less able to absorb impacts, so the wheel may have been broken on one of it’s earlier impacts. However I imagine it would’ve made little difference in practice.

    • Yikes, I’ve just heard what’s happened to Natacha Gachnang – Buemi’s cousin – at exactly that spot in Abu Dhabi…

      Gachnang crash halts GT1 qualifying

      I hope she’s back in action soon, that’s one of those unsettling coincidences we get in racing from time to time. If any other Buemi family members are racing this weekend, please be careful out there…

  5. Gman said on 16th April 2010, 15:51

    Wow, lots of local interest in the race it seems…..

  6. Scootin159 said on 16th April 2010, 16:02

    This is one of the few accidents we’ve seen lately where the gravel trap was more effective than paved run-off would’ve been. In the gravel the tea-tray dug in and slowed the car pretty effectively (from what I’ve seen). However, had it been paved run-off the car likely would’ve slid nearly at speed into the tire wall.

    • This is exactly what happened to Natasha Gachnang in GT1 today in Abu Dhabi. She went under the grandstand onto the colored run-off area which is supposed to have extra grip to slow the car down, but she didn’t seem to slow down much before hitting the shock absorbent barrier.. Maybe if there was gravel she might have slowed down more?

      The gravel seems to be doing it’s job in slowing cars down, but if the car goes on it, it may be the end of the race for the driver whereas in other run-off areas they can just turn and get back on track.. Maybe only risky areas should have gravel, but then again it’s hard to predict where one is going to have a serious crash..

  7. Chaz said on 20th April 2010, 18:20

    Buemi’s crash was quite dramatic and remarkable. Thankfully he was unscathed as there was lots of run-off but the poor lad was a little shaken-up understandably when he got back to his pits…

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