Infotainment Factory: Rookie crashes out of China FP3 in horrifying collision

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Saturday, 13 April 2019

Rookie crashes out of China FP3 in horrifying collision


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F1 rookie Alex Albon has crashed out in the dying moments of China GP free practice in a horrifying collision with the barriers.

The youngster was only minutes away from closing out the session when he lost control of his Toro Rosso and spun into the barriers, mangling his car.

"I’m so sorry guys, I’m ok, but sorry," a shaken Albon was heard saying over his car radio.

Sky F1 expert Simon Lazenby correctly predicted the Thai wouldn't be participating in qualifying later in the afternoon with his car "disintegrated".

Alex Albon crashes out

Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas has edged out Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix with the fastest lap in practice for Formula One's 1,000th world championship race.

The championship leader, a point clear of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after two races, set a benchmark time of one minute 33.330 seconds on Friday afternoon.

The Finn was just 0.027 seconds clear of Vettel, who was fastest in the morning by a 0.207-second margin ahead of Hamilton.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished practice as the ninth-fastest for Renault.

"We made it to the top of the timesheets but it is always very difficult to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track," said Bottas.

"Ferrari still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2 (the second session)."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third fastest in the afternoon, 0.221 seconds off Bottas' best, but the 21-year-old struggled with shifting gears and clutch issues throughout the session.

His Honda-powered team won in China last year, when they used Renault engines, with Ricciardo.

Hamilton, the most successful driver by far around the 5.4-km Shanghai International Circuit with five wins to date, ended the day fourth.

Ferrari arrived in China as favourites after looking dominant in Bahrain, a race they would have won but for a late engine problem that hit Charles Leclerc's car while leading, and with plenty of straight line speed.

Vettel led the opening session, and was hot on Bottas' heels in the afternoon, while Leclerc had a difficult day.

Both the 21-year-old Monegasque and Vettel are running a new electronic control package as a precaution against a repeat of Leclerc's engine problem.

The youngster's session ended early as he parked up in the garage with some 20 minutes to go so that Ferrari could carry out cooling checks.

"We had to stop for further checks on something on the oil," said Leclerc. "We will check it but no big issues.

"I think it will be very close, Mercedes and also Red Bull are actually quite close, so it will be an interesting battle."

Hamilton was second fastest in the morning but struggled in the afternoon.

"We're going to work hard tonight to find some tweaks and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow," said the five-times champion. "The car has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up."

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth fastest for Renault, ahead of Carlos Sainz in the McLaren.

McLaren rookie Lando Norris, fresh from having scored his first Formula One points in Bahrain, was eighth for McLaren ahead of Ricciardo.

Red Bull's Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

- with AAP

F1 rookie Alex Albon has crashed out in the dying moments of China GP free practice in a horrifying collision with the barriers.

The youngster was only minutes away from closing out the session when he lost control of his Toro Rosso and spun into the barriers, mangling his car.

"I’m so sorry guys, I’m ok, but sorry," a shaken Albon was heard saying over his car radio.

Sky F1 expert Simon Lazenby correctly predicted the Thai wouldn't be participating in qualifying later in the afternoon with his car "disintegrated".

Alex Albon crashes out

Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas has edged out Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix with the fastest lap in practice for Formula One's 1,000th world championship race.

The championship leader, a point clear of Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton after two races, set a benchmark time of one minute 33.330 seconds on Friday afternoon.

The Finn was just 0.027 seconds clear of Vettel, who was fastest in the morning by a 0.207-second margin ahead of Hamilton.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished practice as the ninth-fastest for Renault.

"We made it to the top of the timesheets but it is always very difficult to find a good balance through an entire lap on this track," said Bottas.

"Ferrari still seem to be quicker than us on the straights, whereas we were better in most corners in FP2 (the second session)."

Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third fastest in the afternoon, 0.221 seconds off Bottas' best, but the 21-year-old struggled with shifting gears and clutch issues throughout the session.

His Honda-powered team won in China last year, when they used Renault engines, with Ricciardo.

Hamilton, the most successful driver by far around the 5.4-km Shanghai International Circuit with five wins to date, ended the day fourth.

Ferrari arrived in China as favourites after looking dominant in Bahrain, a race they would have won but for a late engine problem that hit Charles Leclerc's car while leading, and with plenty of straight line speed.

Vettel led the opening session, and was hot on Bottas' heels in the afternoon, while Leclerc had a difficult day.

Both the 21-year-old Monegasque and Vettel are running a new electronic control package as a precaution against a repeat of Leclerc's engine problem.

The youngster's session ended early as he parked up in the garage with some 20 minutes to go so that Ferrari could carry out cooling checks.

"We had to stop for further checks on something on the oil," said Leclerc. "We will check it but no big issues.

"I think it will be very close, Mercedes and also Red Bull are actually quite close, so it will be an interesting battle."

Hamilton was second fastest in the morning but struggled in the afternoon.

"We're going to work hard tonight to find some tweaks and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow," said the five-times champion. "The car has the pace in it to compete at the front, we just need to find the right set-up."

Nico Hulkenberg was fifth fastest for Renault, ahead of Carlos Sainz in the McLaren.

McLaren rookie Lando Norris, fresh from having scored his first Formula One points in Bahrain, was eighth for McLaren ahead of Ricciardo.

Red Bull's Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10.

- with AAP

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