Chinese GP practice 1 interactive chart

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vettel showed good pace despite a heavier fuel load
Vettel showed good pace despite a heavier fuel load

Review all the drivers’ lap times from the first practice session at Shanghai with the F1 Fanatic interactive lap chart.

The chart shows each driver’s lap time (in seconds, on the vertical axis) and when they set them (in minutes, on the horizontal axis):

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With cool temperatures at Shanghai and all the teams using the hard tyre there were visible signs of graining rubber on pretty much all the cars in the first session. This problem should become less severe as the weather warms up and more rubber goes down on the track – although with only one support race this weekend that won’t happen very quickly.

As we’ve grown used to seeing in practice sessions this year, McLaren led way largely because they ran a lighter fuel load than Red Bull and Ferrari. The team have said several times they’re trying to improve their one-lap pace for qualifying.

But we shouldn’t underestimate the MP4-25’s speed, especially thanks to its F-duct which appears to be helping them again this weekend. Both their drivers also had their second stints interrupted by Sebastien Buemi’s crash, when they appeared to have more fuel on board.

What’s interesting about their pace in first practice, however, is that Jenson Button’s was four tenths of a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton in the final sector – which includes the longest straight on the track. Hamilton was three-tenths of a second quicker in the rest of the lap – suggesting he either ran more wing for the corners or made a mistake in the final sector of his best lap.

Mercedes appear to have had their drivers on different programmes, with Michael Schumacher running more fuel than Nico Rosberg.

Ferrari intended to use the session to make a comparison between an F10 equipped with an F-duct driven by Fernando Alonso, and the regular one driven by Felipe Massa.

But Alonso’s engine failure – his second in the first four races – put paid to that. He now has six engines left to get him through 16 races, so all but one of them will have to do three Grand Prix distances.

Massa’s times largely kept pace with Sebastian Vettel’s, suggesting a similar fuel load, Vettel only putting daylight between himself and the Ferrari driver with a quick lap at the end of his second stint.

While most drivers stuck to short stints Lucas di Grassi did a 19-lap run in the Virgin VR-01, with a best time of 1’42.181 four laps before the end of his stint.

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

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