Chinese Grand Prix: Max Verstappen tops first practice after helicopter delays
|Chinese Grand Prix on the BBC|
|Dates: 7-9 Apr Venue: Shanghai International Circuit|
|Coverage: Practice and qualifying on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; race on BBC Radio 5 live. Live text commentary, leaderboard and imagery on BBC Sport website and app.|
First practice at the Chinese Grand Prix was badly disrupted by poor visibility that prevented all but a few minutes of on-track running.
The conditions made it impossible for the medical helicopter to operate, a prerequisite of cars being able to run.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen set the quickest time in the 10-minutes of running on a damp track.
The session was stopped twice when nothing could land at the hospital and when the local airport was closed.
Practice started on time on a damp track under smoggy, grey, misty skies but was red-flagged after just five minutes.
There was a 45-minute delay before the cars were sent out again, only for the session to be stopped again after less than 15 minutes.
In that time, both Haas drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen spun at Turn 10 and were able to continue, before Renault's Nico Hulkenberg spun into the gravel at Turn Two.
A virtual safety car period was started to recover the Renault but the session was stopped before that could even be completed.
Verstappen set a best time of one minute 50.491 seconds, 1.5secs quicker than Felipe Massa's Williams in second place. The Brazilian was 0.5secs quicker than team-mate Lance Stroll in third.
Only 14 drivers set a time and championship leaders Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes were not among them.