Formula One Chinese Grand Prix practice session washed out by rain and smog

Second practice session of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix was called off because safety helicopter was unable to fly due to low visibility after the first session was delayed because of adverse conditions. Max Verstappen of Red Bull recorded fastest time in the truncated first session where neither Neither Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes nor Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set lap times.

other sports Updated: Apr 07, 2017 14:42 IST
HT Correspondent/Agencies
HT Correspondent/Agencies
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Formula One,Chinese Grand Prix,Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen during the rain-affected first free practice session of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Friday. Max Verstappen of Red Bull recorded the fastest time in first session that was also cut short with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel unable to go out on track.(AFP)

Rain and smog played spoilsport on Friday as the second practice session of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix had to be called off due to low visibility.

According to Formula One rules, cars cannot run on the race track if the designated medical helicopter cannot fulfil its duties.

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Because of poor visibility caused by rain and smog, the medical helicopter was unable to land at the designated hospital which meant the safety requirements for the race could not be fulfilled.

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Formula One was forced to cancel the second practice session because of this. Even the local airport had to be closed, the FIA noted ominously.

Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen during the first practice session of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on Friday. (AFP)

Earlier in the day, the conditions had affected the first free practice session as well.

With low clouds hanging over the Shanghai track, the morning session was red-flagged after just a few minutes as a safety precaution, resumed briefly, but then halted again for good.

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More than half of the drivers got a crack at the boggy circuit with Max Verstappen of Red Bull getting around the quickest.

Verstappen was fastest during 10 minutes of running on a damp track as he went 1.5 seconds quicker than any other racer. The Dutchman’s time, however, was more than 15 seconds slower than Nico Rosberg needed to secure pole position for last year’s race, an indication of the limited usefulness of the curtailed session.

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Neither championship favourite Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes nor Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, winner of last month’s season-opening race in Australia, set lap times.

According to a report on the BBC website, the forecast predictions for Saturday are better with sunshine and temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius expected.

However, heavy downpours are predicted overnight on Saturday, leading into the race day on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be between 13 and 15 degrees Celsius for the race.

If Sunday experiences similar conditions to those on Friday, race organisers may face a tough task of finding suitable medical evacuation methods and a delay in the start of the race can be expected.

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 14:34 IST