Chinese Grand Prix: Practice 2

By Steve Aibel, Senior F1 Writer

The tables were upended in the second practice session as the two Ferrari’s took top positions in Shanghai at the Chinese Grand Prix. Mercedes took the next two positions with Lewis Hamilton stating that it looks like the red cars have the advantage. This does not bode well for Hamilton who will also suffer a 5 place grid penalty for changing the gearbox in his Mercedes.

Kimi Raikkonen set the pace with Sebastian Vettel close behind in the second practice session. Raikkonen set his time on the supersoft tires and clocked in just 1 tenth ahead of Vettel. Raikkonen stated that the Ferrari advantage would only be with the supersoft compound and they still needed to increase the feel of the car on the soft and medium compounds. Rosberg was just a further tenth back from Vettel with Hamilton a few tenths behind his Mercedes teammate.

Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull Racing took the 5th slot while Max Verstappen of Toro Rosso brought home his car in 6th. Carlos Sainz took the second Toro Rosso to 8th position, splitting the two Force India’s of Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Valtteri Bottas completed the top 10 in the Williams.

Haas F1 Team had a difficult opening practice day which saw Romain Grosjean blast tire supplier Pirelli for undrivable tire pressures. Jenson Button reiterated the remark stating that the increases in pressure requirements, which are done for safety, are making the cars “float” around the track and reducing the overall level of grip.

Esteban Gutierrez suffered another disappointing session where rear brake issues limited his running again during the session. The Haas effort will have one more practice to balance their cars and improve the feel of the VF-16.

The tire problems seen in the first practice session turned out to be due to set up issues for the Williams of Felipe Massa and a suspension issue for Kevin Magnussen and Renault.

Free Practice 2 Results

Pos Driver Team Time
1 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.896
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:37.005
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.133
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.329
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.143
6 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:38.268
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.527
8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1:38.542
9 Sergio Perez Force India 1:38.569
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:38.723
11 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:38.728
12 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.828
13 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 1:39.178
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1:39.214
15 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:39.774
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1:39.890
17 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:39.941
18 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:39.979
19 Rio Haryanto Manor 1:40.550
20 Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:41.066
21 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:42.954
22 Kevin Magnussen Renault No Time

Image: Ferrari

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Growing up in a racing family, Steve Aibel was surrounded by Allards, Crosleys and Corvettes! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Steve was drawn to the automobile magazines strewn throughout the house and Formula 1 in particular. With go karts, motorcycles and vintage race cars in the garage, it was inevitable that the torch would be carried by Steve. Lime Rock Park was his own personal playground while still keeping an eye on the pinnacle of motorsports overseas called Formula 1. Now, in the shadows of Circuit of the Americas, Steve is able to not only follow F1, he makes it the object of this racing stories. This passion for Formula 1 is shared weekly writing original articles for both Tribute Racing and Drafting the Circuits. He also participates in two weekly radio shows. Drafting The Circuits, (, which airs Tuesday evening at 7 pm CST and Formula 1 Racing Plus (, which broadcasts throughout the week on Performance Motorsports Network. Steve's motorsports photography can be found at