Multiple tyre failures in Chinese Grand Prix first practice

Published: Friday 15th April 2016 by The News Editor

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Nico Rosberg finished fastest in an opening practice session for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix which was overshadowed by three separate tyre failures.

Felipe Massa encountered two problems with the rear left of his Williams, while the Renault of Kevin Magnussen also suffered the same issue.

Pirelli, Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer, insisted that Massa’s problem was not a puncture, rather an issue with his car, while an investigation into Magnussen’s blow-out is ongoing.

The early suggestions are that the Dane’s tyre failure, which occurred on the back straight of the Shanghai International Circuit where the cars approach speeds of up to 200mph, was caused by on-track debris.

“The investigation of both failures on Williams during FP1 show no sign of puncture, but air loss connected to technical trouble,” Pirelli said.

Marshals, armed with brooms, cleared the circuit following two red flags, and in the final seven minutes when the session restarted Williams decided not to send out either Massa or his team-mate Valtteri Bottas as they continued to investigate the issue on the Brazilian’s car.

Magnussen also watched the conclusion of the session from the back of the Renault garage.

When the action did resume, Rosberg was 0.146 seconds faster than Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but the championship leader suffered his own problems after an engine-related issue saw him cruise back to the pits.

Hamilton, who will be demoted five places on the grid for Sunday’s race following a gearbox change, did not enjoy a trouble-free session either after he spun at turn 11 on two occasions. The triple world champion was second fastest with Sebastian Vettel third for Ferrari, albeit more than half-a-second slower than Rosberg.

Daniel Ricciardo was fourth for Red Bull with Kimi Raikkonen fifth in the sister Ferrari and Daniil Kvyat sixth. Fernando Alonso, who will report to the FIA medical team after opening practice to prove his fitness for Sunday’s race, was 12th.

Published: Friday 15th April 2016 by The News Editor

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