F1 – Stroll tops busy sole practice session in China ahead of Piastri, Verstappen 

F1 – Stroll tops busy sole practice session in China ahead of Piastri, Verstappen 

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll topped the timesheet in the sole practice session for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, beating McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and championship leader Max Verstappen by more than three tenths of a second. 

In the closing moments of a busy session ahead of Sprint Qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit, Stroll posted a soft-tyre lap of 1:36.302 to jump to the top of the order, and with just seconds left on the clock there was no time for rivals to respond. He finished 0.327 ahead of Piastri with Verstappen 0.031 further back. 

At the top of the hour-long session a number of drivers put in conservative laps on a track which has had a new treatment applied ahead of this year’s first visit by F1 in five years. Unsurprisingly most of the early runners reported a lack of grip on the ‘green’ surface. 

Over the course of the opening quarter it was Max Verstappen who led the way with a lap of 1:38.498 on Medium tyres. But then after 15 minutes the session was red-flagged when a small fire at the side of the track, potentially caused by a spark from a car bottom out, left a section of grass scorched after marshals remedied the situation with the help of extinguishers. 

The session resumed after just two minutes and Verstappen was soon bumped out of top spot by the soft-shod Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz with the second Red Bull of Sergio Pérez further back. Leclerc initially took top spot with a lap of 1:38.130 and then extended his advantage further by posting a lap of 1:38.090.

As the final quarter of the session approached the field began to move over to qualifying simulations. 

Williams’ Logan Sargeant was on the first to bolt on new softs but after a scruffy lap his team-mate Alex Albon vaulted to the top of the order with a lap of 1:37.229.

Pérez then went a tenth quicker to edge the Williams driver out of P1 but then Verstappen returned to top spot with a lap of 1:36.660.

It looked like the Dutchman would hang on to P1 until the end of the session but Piastri then put in a good lap of 1:36.629 to steal bragging rights. But then, in the final seconds of the session Stroll arrived to move to the top of the order with a lap of 1:36.302 that left Piastri and Verstappen in second and third, with Pérez just behind in fourth place. 

The Haas pairing of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen were fifth and sixth respectively ahead of Esteban Ocon, who ran a new floor on his Alpine A524. Albon took eighth for Williams, with Daniel Ricciardo ninth ahead of Kick Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas who rounded out the top 10.

2024 FIA Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix – Free Practice 1
1 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:36.302 21 203.771
2 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:36.629 0.327 24 203.081
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:36.660 0.358 25 203.016
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:36.690 0.388 24 202.953
5 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:37.101 0.799 23 202.094
6 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:37.118 0.816 23 202.059
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:37.213 0.911 23 201.861
8 Alexander Albon Williams 1:37.229 0.927 19 201.828
9 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:37.238 0.936 25 201.809
10 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber 1:37.530 1.228 24 201.205
11 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber 1:37.626 1.324 24 201.007
12 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:38.006 1.704 27 200.228
13 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:38.090 1.788 20 200.057
14 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:38.284 1.982 19 199.662
15 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:38.286 1.984 23 199.658
16 Lando Norris McLaren 1:38.630 2.328 21 198.961
17 George Russell Mercedes 1:38.806 2.504 21 198.607
18 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.839 2.537 24 198.541
19 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:38.936 2.634 22 198.346
20 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:39.870 3.568 21 196.491

Source : Fia