Home » Chinese GP, Free Practice Report, Headline

Schumacher Tops Shanghai Free Practice

By Mav | 13 Apr 2012 | 8 Comments | 1,212 views

Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher went quickest on the first day of practice with a best time of 1 minute 35.973s but Lewis Hamilton, quickest in the damp first session, wasn’t far behind for McLaren and looked like he would beat it until he lost time in the final sector. Team mate Jenson Button, however, was left complaining of “way too much understeer” to his race engineer. Meanwhile Red Bull were busy exploring their exhaust configuration with Sebastian Vettel reverting to the layout used during pre-season testing in an otherwise fairly uneventful two sessions.
 
Mercedes AMG Petronas
 
Talking Point
The FIA have decreed that the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead but on the track it was all about Lotus’ protest against Mercedes’ wing system. The Double Drag Reduction System, or DDRS, as Mercedes call it was once again given the green light. Lotus, who will be undoubtedly frustrated after having the decision on the legality of their reactive suspension system reversed earlier in the year, have decided to not appeal. With one of the fastest and longest straights on the calendar, the DDRS could prove particularly effective in qualifying and with Lewis Hamilton also taking a five-place grid penalty for changing his gear box, Mercedes may fancy their chances of starting from the front of the grid this weekend.

Driver Reaction
Despite topping the time sheets, Michael Schumacher was quite circumspect about his expectations for the weekend, perhaps reflecting Mercedes’ weak race pace in the first two races. “It was a trouble-free day, and I am quite happy with how our car is handling so far here,” said the German. “We will now have to look deeper into the data in order to find out where we really are here, but I am looking forward to tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Lewis Hamilton was much more enthusiastic about his day’s progress and with the team’s latest updates. “It’s been a great day – it stayed dry in the afternoon so we successfully got through our run programme,” said the McLaren driver. “We’re still working away to improve the set-up, but the new bits on the car seem to be working: the guys back at the factory have done a great job.”

Worryingly for Felipe Massa’s mind set, he seems to be already reaching for the excuses book. “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,” explained the under-pressure Brazilian. “I am sure that it would have been much faster than the one posted on the classification.” Personally, I don’t think any driver needs to explain free practice times and if this is the way he’s already thinking, it can’t help his performance for the rest of the weekend.

Predictions
This week’s guest predictor is Krit of LiteralF1. Krit says “McLaren’s pace is clear from the first two races but things haven’t quite fallen into place for them on a Sunday yet. I’m predicting both their drivers, who go well around Shanghai, to change that this weekend.” Last time, our predictions were washed away with Malaysia’s rain but our guest, Leigh of The F1 and Motorsports Archive, came out on top thanks to Hamilton’s third place and Raikkonen’s fifth.

Mav 1. Button 2. Vettel 3. Hamilton
Salti 1. Button 2. Hamilton 3. Vettel
Guest 1. Hamilton 2. Button 3. Vettel

 
Scores: Mav – 6 points, Salti – 9 points, Guests – 12 points, Top Guest – Pat with 9 points
Three points for a driver finishing in the predicted position with one point less for each position away.

Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Tagged: , ,
Bookmark and Share

8 Comments »

  • Kimster

    Mav is the Lawro of F1.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Mav (author)

    Kimster,

    Are my predictions THAT bad?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • saltire

    Mav is the Lawro of F1.

    I’m guessing that’s an insult?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Kimster

    saltire,

    Yep :)

    Seb is staying with the slightly modified launch exhausts for the weekend.

    Kimi wasn’t enjoying the low front tyre temps in the slow middle sector corners. They need to do some setup work overnight.

    Mclaren look strong once again. Mikey Schu looks quick too.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Saltire

    Wouldn’t it be lovely to see Schumi get a podium again, he might just do it based on his performance so far

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Krit

    Ah, that Hamilton penalty right messes with my prediction. Button would be the best bet for the race win but he was constantly complaining about understeer today which is never a good sign for his weekend ahead!

    Perhaps looking through rose tinted glasses but wouldn’t a Schumacher podium in the place of his last victory be lovely?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • Mav (author)

    Krit,

    I can easily see Schumacher on pole before drifting back through the field until finishes 18th on Mercedes’ current form

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .
  • saltire

    Do you think if Mercedes DDRS proved to be this season’s must have gizmo that the FIA would have been so eager to dismiss Lotus appeal?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

    .

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.