Grand Slam for Lewis Hamilton in China!
The fastest time in Friday free practice was set by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen on intermediate tires, in damp and cold conditions during FP1. So far there has been no dry running, and the foggy conditions also meant that the medical helicopter was unable to fly, leading to FP1 being shortened and no running at all in FP2.
The teams finally got to use Pirelli’s slick tires on Saturday, with Lewis Hamilton claiming pole. Sebastian Vettel qualified second, followed by Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton won on a drying track where pit stop strategy was influenced by an early virtual safety car followed by a real safety car in the opening laps. Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz was the only driver to begin the race on slick tires, when all the other drivers started on intermediates and then moved onto slicks within the first 10 laps. Verstappen used a more aggressive strategy based on the supersoft to make up 13 places from his grid slot at a strategically complex race with plenty of action. After a damp start, the weather remained dry, with the fastest race lap more than four seconds quicker than last year’s one. This was a bigger margin of lap time improvement compared to 2016 than that seen in Australia, despite the tricky conditions.
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