Chinese GP – A wet start

Shanghai, 13 April – The Chinese Grand Prix action started with a wet track as drivers tackled the first practice session for the third round of the World Championship. Rain fell since the previous night at the Shanghai International Circuit and again just before the session. Fastest was Lewis Hamilton in a time of 1.37.106 for McLaren, followed by the two Mercedes of Nico Rosberg (1.38.116) and Michael Schumacher (1.38.316.) The F2012s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa managed 14 laps between them, ending up eleventh (1.40.056) and twelfth (1.40.153) respectively. The damp track meant they spent quite some time waiting in the garage while sharing a programme which featured an evaluation of new aerodynamic components. Both drivers used the Medium compound tyre for their short runs, while Fernando also used a set of Intermediates when trying a practice start.

Chinese GP – A defensive race ahead

Shanghai, 13 April – Michael Schumacher went quickest on Friday in Shanghai, the scene for the third act of the Formula 1 World Championship. The German driver’s Mercedes was top (1.35.973) in the second session of free practice which has just finished at the Chinese track, ahead of the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton (1.36.145) and the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel (1.36.160).
The first of the two Ferraris was 10th with Fernando Alonso in 1.37.316, while the other F2012 of Felipe Massa finished in 17th place (1.38.293). It looks like a defensive race awaits both Ferrari drivers, who completed the usual Friday programme in the afternoon, trying out the two compounds on offer by Pirelli – Medium and Soft – and carrying out long runs on heavy fuel loads.The third and final free practice session will take place tomorrow at 11am.

Chinese GP – No nasty surprises on Friday 13th


In many countries, Friday 13th is seen as being an unlucky date but, at least as far as Scuderia Ferrari is concerned, everything here at the Shanghai International Circuit went off in normal fashion, without any problems. Only the weather in the first session – rain at times, a track that was never completely dry, nor wet enough to be able to run intermediate tyres – created a few difficulties in terms of running the programme as planned on the Maranello team’s pit perch. It was however completed by the end of the day.

Fernando Alonso: “It was a normal Friday, based mainly on evaluating new aerodynamic parts in FP1 and on the usual tyre tests in FP2. As always, we tried to work out which would be the fastest compound to use in qualifying and which the most consistent over a long run. Felipe and I split the workload on track and now, this afternoon it is down to the engineers to analyse the data and take the best decisions for tomorrow, both in terms of the updates we have brought for this race and from what we have learned regarding the tyres. It rained in the morning and this slowed the programme a bit, but all the same we managed to complete it in the second session. We definitely lack a bit of performance: we will try and find it for tomorrow, as well as trying to sort out the balance of the car, especially in terms of its grip. There’s a lot to do if we want to have a good qualifying.”

Felipe Massa: “You definitely couldn’t define today as being fantastic. This morning the track was a bit wet and that meant we weren’t able to run as much as we would have liked, while in the afternoon, the track dried and we managed to get through our usual Friday programme. When I was on my first run on the Soft tyres, Glock went off the track at Turn 1 and I was forced to pit again: this meant I was unable to get the most out of this set of tyres and significantly improve my time. I am sure that it would have been much faster than the one posted on the classification: that bothers me a bit because I did not manage to use the soft tyres in the way I should have done. At the end of the session, we ran with a lot of fuel on board to improve the balance of the car.”

Pat Fry: “We have brought some updates here for the F2012 which should provide an improvement in terms of performance, compared to the first two races: the first evaluation that we can make after these three hours of free practice is a positive one, but clearly we have hours of work ahead of us this afternoon and tonight to complete an in-depth analysis. On the other hand, we cannot ignore the fact that the characteristics of this track seem to be less suited to our car than Malaysia. Taking these two factors into consideration, I am not expecting anything new in terms of our positions on the grid: at the moment, our realistic expectation is somewhere between seventh and twelfth place, as indeed we were in Sepang. However, we have to bear in mind that it’s all very close, so it only takes the slightest thing – a mistake, a less than perfect lap – to make for a significant change of position, either upward or downward. To those who ask me when we will see a Ferrari fighting for pole position, I can only reply there is no magic button we can press to improve the situation in one go. We need to push in many areas, starting with the aerodynamics which is still the decisive factor in today’s Formula 1, while not forgetting our work methods, in order to get the results in the short term, but especially in the long term.”

  First session Second session  
Driver Pos. Time Laps Pos. Time Laps Chassis
F. Alonso 11th 1.40.056 14 10th 1.37.316 32 295
F. Massa 12th 1.40.153 14 17th 1.38.293 31 294

First session: air 14/15 °C, track 15 °C. Covered skies, rain at times.
Second session: air 15 °C, track 16 °C. Covered skies.