Chinese GP FP1 Report- Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari show pace dominate Mercedes and Red Bull

#Race1000 is the focus as Formula 1 celebrates 1000 races in the championship. Shanghai circuit, first raced in 2004, will be hosting the iconic race weekend.

Session Classification: As the first Free Practice comes to an end, here are the key takeaways from the session so far:

  1. Ferrari is back in contention with good times shown. They used the Medium compound but still maintained +0.207s advantage over Mercedes.
  2. Red Bull, who Lewis Hamilton referred to as one of the biggest threats this weekend, managed to slot themselves ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
  3. Daniel Ricciardo is the best of the rest. Slotted at P6, it will be his best position so far after his move to Renault.
  4. Medium is preferred over Soft tires. Red Bull and Alfa Romeo have a go with the hardest compound too
  5. Mercedes and Red Bull lose a huge chunk compared to last year.

In Comparison: (Drivers) | 14 drivers from 2018 season still in race this year, with only 8 drivers racing with the same constructors’ as previous year’s. 6 drivers moved on to different constructors’ and 6 new comers make up the 20 drivers.

Drivers from last season with same constructors: Mercedes lost the time in comparison with their FP1 performance last year of ~100th to 200th of a second. Kevin Magnussen is the other driver who lost in comparison with last year. Ferrari shot up their performance by almost a second (0.950 s to be precise).

Drivers from last season with different constructors: Charles Leclrec moved from Sauber to Ferrari this season showed great improvement of approximately 2.555 seconds. It is more to do with Ferrari’s no comparison with Sauber. Kimi Raikkonen who exchanged the places with him lost approx. 1.371 seconds. Effective performance improvement for Leclrec is ~1.8 seconds, more than average improvement in the times from last year.

New Comers: Daniil Kvyat puts him best among the new comers (who didn’t race at Shanghai last season). He, in Toro Rosso, positioned at #8, a difference of 1.536 seconds from the leader Sebastian Vettel.

In Comparison: (Constructors) | Deep dive into Mercedes numbers show a trend much worrying than the final positions. They lost 0.158 of a second on an average positioned themselves at #8, only ahead of Williams and Red Bull. Alfa Romeo are the biggest gainers compared to last year. They gained ~1.087 seconds. Followed by Toro Rosso, McLaren and Ferrari.

Ferrari improved their best lap times from FP 1 to Qualifying by ~3.471 seconds. This is an additional ~0.893 s and ~0.704 s gain over Mercedes and Red Bull respectively. If the numbers were to repeat, Ferrari is in for a dominating race at Shanghai.

(c) All Statistics and Images from Formula1 and respective constructors

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