The 2019 Chinese Grand Prix weekend is underway. After taking the first two victories, Mercedes were pretty confident coming into the weekend especially since China has always been favourable for them. Surprisingly, Sebastian Vettel took the lead in the first two practice sessions by showing some very good pace. Will this be the weekend he finally turns around his fortune? The German hasn’t won since August, 2018 (Belgian Grand Prix).
While things were running smoothly during Free Practice 3, Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon suffered a huge crash at the closing stages. He ran wide on the kerb and then on to the astroturf. While trying to catch the spinning car, he hit the wall near the pit wall, bringing red flags to the session.
The car suffered huge damage but Albon walked away safely. If Toro Rosso manages to get his car ready for Qualifying will be a big mystery. From the looks of it, it seems very difficult.
The red flag ensured the session ended with nearly 6 minutes to go into the session. While Vettel led most of the session, Valtteri Bottas managed a quick flying lap, right before the Toro Rosso hit the wall to top Vettel’s time by nearly 0.3s. As a result, he topped the session followed by Vettel and Leclerc in second and third respectively.
Hamilton, who was struggled the entire weekend, finished the session fourth. Yesterday he suffered a spin and complained of weird behaviours with the car. It seems odd, since Bottas hasn’t complained one bit the entire weekend. 2016 all over again?!
The two Red Bulls, who earlier earned their praise from Leclerc for their Friday pace, were down in 7th and 15th for Verstappen and Gasly respectively. Pierre Gasly will find it tough to keep it going if he continues to be so down the grid compared to his teammate.
And as for Albon, he will be hoping his team manages some miracle and fixes his car. But whether they manage to do it or not, we will surely see in about 90 minutes when the first leg of qualifying begins for the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix.
Have a look at the extent of the damage: