Drivers confirm tyre choices for China

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Ferrari have chosen more super-soft tyres than Mercedes for next week’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will have six sets of the softest rubber available compared to five for the Mercedes pair. Lewis Hamilton is alone among the four leading drivers in opting for four sets of the medium compound rubber.

Williams, McLaren and Haas have all opted to take seven sets of the softest available rubber.

The top four drivers in last year’s race all used two sets of soft tyres followed by a set of mediums.

Rosberg eases to win in thrilling Chinese Grand Prix

Nico Rosberg made it three wins from three by easing to the chequered flag in the Chinese Grand Prix.

A chaotic start created an exhilarating start which saw collisions between the two Ferrari’s creating problems for Lewis Hamilton as he lost his front wing.

Despite colliding with his team mate, Sebastian Vettel joined his compatriot on the podium to take second with Red Bulls Daniil Kvyat finishing in third.

At the start Daniel Ricciardo managed to get past Nico Rosberg but the action behind changed the race.

At turn one and going into two, Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari locked up with team mate Sebastian Vettel right next to him, Daniil Kvyat stormed up the inside, Vettel was left with no room and was forced to hit his team mate.

Vettel was furious during the race and quickly came onto the team radio, calling the Russian ‘sucidal’ and a ‘madman’.

As Raikkonen rejoined the track, Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson was forced to avoid the Ferrari and he hit Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.

The triple world champion’s front wing dislodged and eventually he drove over it.

Both Raikkonen and Hamilton returned to the pits for new front wings.

Daniel Ricciardo’s lead was short lived when a puncture hit the Australian’s left rear forcing him to head to the pits too, but with bits of front wing and tyre scattered over the track, the safety car was brought out the clear the circuit.

The introduction of the safety car created a hectic time in the pits, Vettel overtook drivers on the entry to the pit lane while Jenson Button managed to avoid collisions in the pits with Force India double stacking.

After the pits, Raikkonen, Vettel and Hamilton started a fantastic comeback up the pack.

Nico Rosberg had a quiet and comfortable race up at the front, but behind there was overtaking galore which produced a stunning race.

The variety of strategies helped the Ferrari’s to slice their way through the field and eventually Vettel despite further front wing damage after a tight overtake on Valtteri Bottas, was able to move up to finish in second.

Raikkonen also got through much of the field end up in fifth.

But for Lewis Hamilton his strategy failed to give him a push to the sharper end of the grid with the Mercedes struggling in the dirty air of the various cars he attempted to get past.

He was stuck for some time behind Williams’ Felipe Massa but all the while Daniel Ricciardo closed up on the Briton, the Red Bull then pulled off a brilliant lunge down the inside of turn six.

By the time of the chequered flag, all 22 drivers managed to complete the race, only the sixth time in F1 history that the entire field has done so.

2016 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix results

1 Nico ROSBERG- MERCEDES
2 Sebastian VETTEL- FERRARI
3 Daniil KVYAT- RED BULL
4 Daniel RICCIARDO- RED BULL
5 Kimi RAIKKONEN- FERRARI
6 Felipe MASSA- WILLIAMS
7 Lewis HAMILTON- MERCEDES
8 Max VERSTAPPEN- TORO ROSSO
9 Carlos SAINZ- TORO ROSSO
10 Valtteri BOTTAS- WILLIAMS
11 Sergio PEREZ- FORCE INDIA
12 Fernando ALONSO- MCLAREN
13 Jenson BUTTON- MCLAREN
14 Esteban GUTIERREZ- HAAS
15 Nico HULKENBERG- FORCE INDIA
16 Marcus ERICSSON- SAUBER
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN- RENAULT
18 Pascal WERHLEIN- MANOR
19 Romain GROSJEAN- HAAS
20 Felipe NASR- SAUBER
21 Rio HARYANTO- MANOR
22 Jolyon PALMER- RENAULT

Hulkenberg picks up penalty after tyre incident

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016Nico Hulkenberg has been handed a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s 2016 Formula 1 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix after his Force India team were found guilty of releasing his car from the pits in an unsafe condition during qualifying.

Hulkenberg’s machine shed its front left wheel at Turn 10 towards the end of the Q2, bringing out the red flags and preventing several drivers from improving their times.

The German finished the session in 10th place, though he could take no part in Q3 as his car had already stopped out on circuit.

Hulkenberg’s penalty drops him from 10th to 13th on the grid, promoting Williams’ Felipe Massa to 10th and the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button to 11th and 12th respectively.

Rosberg takes pole position in China

Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016Nico Rosberg took pole position putting the German in the best position to take a hatrick of victories in 2016.
The return of the traditional qualifying format produced an exciting end to the session with Rosberg starting ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who produced a stunning lap to outpace both Ferrari’s.
The opening session got off to a damp start following heavy rain in final practice.
One of the damp patches on the main straight caught out Manor’s Pascal Werhlein, the German activated his DRS as he passed over a damp and ended up spinning into the wall.
The biggest drama of the day though came from Lewis Hamilton.
He came into the session with a five-place grid penalty thanks to a gearbox change, but an ERS failure meant he failed to set a lap and will start the race from the back of the grid.
Joining Werhlein and Hamilton were Kevin Magnussen, Esteban Gutierrez, Jolyon Palmer and Rio Haryanto.
Q2 came to a sudden conclusion when Nico Hulkenberg’s tyre came off with just over a minute to go.
The errant tyre meant that the session was red flagged, not leaving enough time for anyone else to get out and complete a lap.
This prevented Felipe Massa from getting into the top 10 shootout alongside Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Romain Grosjean, Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.
FIA rules dictate that when a wheel but falls a car that a tether should hold the tyre in place, so despite making it into the top ten there is a possibility that the Force India could be got by a penalty.
The first runs in Q3 put Kimi Raikkonen in first place, but ultimately Rosberg and Mercedes pulled it off to take pole position.
Mistakes from both Ferrari’s meant that they line up in third and fourth but Daniel Ricciardo managed to get past both of them to take a remarkable second for Red Bull.
Provisional 2016 Pirelli Chinese Grand Prix Grid
1 Nico ROSBERG
2 Daniel RICCIARDO
3 Kimi RAIKKONEN
4 Sebastian VETTEL
5 Valtteri BOTTAS
6 Daniil KVYAT
7 Sergio PEREZ
8 Carlos Sainz
9 Max Verstappen
10 Nico Hulkenberg
11 Felipe MASSA
12 Fernando ALONSO
13 Jenson BUTTON
14 Romian GROSJEAN
15 Marucs ERICISSON
16 Feilpe NASR
17 Kevin MAGNUSSEN
18 Esteban GUTIERREZ
19 Jolyon PALMER
20 Rio HARYANTO
21 Pascal WERHLEIN
22 Lewis HAMILTON

Ferrari dominate second practice in China

Ferrari served notice of their potential in the second practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix by out-pacing both Mercedes drivers.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2016

Kimi Raikkonen led the way, being the only driver to lap the Shanghai International Circuit in less than 97 seconds. Raikkonen gave his super-soft tyres a more vigorous preparation before beginning his flying lap and posted the fastest times in the first two sectors before they began to lose their grip.

That put him one-tenth of a second ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who had given his tyres a more gentle treatment and posted a faster final sector time, despite running wide at the turn 14 hairpin.

At the end of the session Vettel attacked the pit lane entrance hard, locking up heavily in his attempt to make the left-hander, wrecking his front-left tyre in the process.

Ferrari relegated the two Mercedes drivers to third and fourth place, Nico Rosberg two-tenths of a second faster than Hamilton. The world champion, who spun twice in the morning session, locked up and headed off the track at turn 14 while doing his race simulation run at the end of the session.

Daniel Ricciardo was ‘best of the rest’ in fifth place with a slender gap to Max Verstappen. Both Toro Rossos appeared in the top ten but Daniil Kvyat’s lap was compromised which left him down in 13th.

Both Force Indias also reached the top ten but the fastest Williams was only tenth – Valtteri Bottas ending the session 1.8s off the pace of Mercedes.

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