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Weekend logbook - China 2014 - Keep track of the track and paddock action from Shanghai

Published by Christine

Shanghai pit straight
Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Almost two weeks after the hectic but brilliant race in Bahrain, we've had chance to get our heads around what we saw, and start looking ahead to the Chinese Grand Prix. There are changes afoot at Ferrari, and Red Bull know where they stand when it comes to fuel sensors, so this weekend should see plenty of intrigue as the paddock comes together in Shanghai.

Although it's not one of the favourite destinations in terms of access to the country, and the grandstands don't tend to be stuffed with people, let alone atmosphere, there's still plenty to look forward too from China this weekend.

Qualifying surprises, best of the rest battles in the race, and all the fallout from the recent F1 news and revelations. Stay on top of all the links, results, news, quotes and more as the weekend unfolds with this handy logbook - updated regularly, so keep checking back.

As it happened: China 2014 extended weekend coverage

  • 18:08

    Three races complete, and we now know that 2014 is going to be an intriguing year - if we weren't aware of that already. The first two races were stacked with reliability and regulation incidents, followed up by a cracker of a race in Bahrain. All of which only goes to raise the anticipation for this weekend's Grand Prix, taking place at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.

  • 18:10

    Red Bull found their fuel flow appeal was rejected this week, so the racing can continue without that hanging over their (and our) heads.

  • 18:15

    Also news this week was the very sad resignation from Stefano Domenicali, who has quit Ferrari to be replaced by Marco Mattiacci. It's either a magnanimous gesture by Stefano, or he was encouraged to make the jump, but either way, Ferrari are hoping the reshuffle will see some improvement. They're currently fifth, FIFTH, in the championship standings.

  • 18:41

    TweetTweet from @PhilDuncanF1: "Hamilton has never won three on the spin in his F1 career. That's what he'll be aiming for in China.

  • 20:10

    Williams team principal Frank Williams celebrates his 72nd birthday today. What are the odds of either Bottas or Massa springing a welcome podium surprise for the F1 legend this Sunday?

  • 20:32

    China might be a tricky event to enjoy for regular paddock attendees, but you cannot fault the hospitality on arrival. Romain Grosjean received this delicious looking welcome cake in his hotel room. Mmmm!

  • 20:39

    Talking of cake, it looks as though driver diets are officially off the menu. Jenson Button shared his amazing looking slice of heaven after a bike ride in Tokyo yesterday.

  • 21:14

    Ahead of the weekend get yourself up to speed with a quick perusal of our preview of the Chinese Grand Prix - including anticipated conditions, circuit and tyre information, the schedule of press conferences and nominated race stewards.

    Notably, Friday's press conference should be interesting as it features Honda's chief officer of motorsport Yasuhisa Arai and the FIA's Charlie Whiting.

    Honda aren't directly involved in F1 at the moment, but will supply the McLaren team with power units next season. Presumably the press conference offers an opportunity for the governing body to defend new Formula 1 regulations against continual criticism coming from the Ferrari team and others.

  • 21:19

    It could be worth keeping an eye on Adrián Fernández who makes his debut as an F1 steward in China. His appointment is a curious one given Fernández was until recently the manager of fellow Mexican, and Force India star Sergio Pérez.

  • 21:28

    It may only be Wednesday, but drivers have already begun their pre-race PR duties. Marcus Ericsson took time out today to meet some of the staff from GE China.

  • 01:45

    One of the first awake and tweeting from Shanghai is the previously mentioned Fernández who shared this post-breakfast piccie.

    @AdrianF007: Good morning from Shanghai, ready for work. Is an honor to be here.

  • 01:48

    Autosport's Jon Noble confirmed that China is just as foggy and/or smoggy as ever. Hope he has some GPS on hand to find the circuit through that.

  • 07:22
    Credit: Twitter/Lotus_F1Team

    Yet more cake in the paddock, as Romain Grosjean celebrates his birthday today. Bon Anniversaire!

  • 07:25

    Reportedly, Luca di Montezemolo is intending to keep a closer eye on his F1 team, as the Ferrari President introduces new team principal Marco Mattiaci. Luca says: "I will help him, I will do like I did in the past: I will stay closer to Formula 1, I'll spend more time on it."

    So, if you thought he was already in the garage too much, giving the evil eye to his Ferrari minions, you thought wrong!

  • 07:26

    TweetTweet from @CaterhamF1: This morning the Shanghai circuit was engulfed in rain (bleeurghh) but it's doing its best to brighten up.. (not hugely successfully so far)

  • 10:38

    What is it like to walk a lap of the Shanghai International Circuit on a Thursday? Conveniently enough the Lotus team can answer that very question, with a turn-by-turn photowalk on a rainy day. Cynics may wisecrack that this is the fastest lap Lotus will turn all weekend, but no us, oh no.

  • 10:57

    The subject of penalty points was raised in the driver press conference today. After just three races Jules Bianchi has already collected four out of a maximum 12 points, while Pastor Maldonado has three.

    Adrian Sutil, who was involved in a collision with Bianchi at the last race, is all for the change, noting that it provides a way to keep the back of the grid in line. "Most important is that there was a change from last year because there were at certain times some penalties, especially for the backmarkers, which were not doing anything. If you’re last and you get a ten place penalty you’re still last and that’s it. This is a little bit different and I think there was a reason why it should be changed and now we need a little bit of time to see if it is working. I hope so."

    Team mate Esteban Gutiérrez, whose Sauber was flipped onto its back by an out of control Maldonado in Bahrain was equally positive about the process, "I think it’s a good system. It puts some conscience on ourselves to not do wrong moves and to respect each other and to race in a fair way, which is how racing should be."

  • 17:42

    TweetTweet from @danielricciardo: Haven't had social media here in china but got on to some now. Preps been good ahead of the weekend. Could be a wet one too

  • 18:24

    One of the most intriguing Thursday questions this season has been: What sponsor are McLaren promoting on their sidepod's this time around? The answer for the Chinese GP is software and solutions company SAP.

    SAP incidentally are behind the new Mission Control Online website which promises McLaren fans an interactive behind the scenes look at the team throughout 2014.

  • 01:48

    Free Practice 1 gets underway in just over an hour. Down at Williams Felipe Nasr returns to the cockpit squeezing in a little mileage replacing Valtteri Bottas for the session.

  • 02:22

    The live commenting thread for all three practice sessions is now open for early F1 discussion.

  • 02:43

    Brand new Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has arrived at the track ready to take his seat on the pitwall.

  • 12:45

    During Friday's press conference Mercedes HPP director Andy Cowell and Renault Sport's director Rob White were asked to discuss the influence new F1 regulations have on road car technology. Both were adamant that the sport can help develop solutions that can be eventually transferred to the road.

    "The regulations were specifically written to take some of the ideas already in the road car world," said Cowell. "Downsizing, downspeeding and turbocharging but adding some new, interesting technologies in there such as the electric turbocharger as a specific example and those sort of projects are already being worked on."

    White further expanded on those thoughts, "It is a big leap, as Andy says. I share the remarks that transfers are already happening. The transfers are not only specific technologies, the e-turbo being one of them, but also the fundamental alignment of the mission we have. Our challenge now is to race, to go as fast as we can with the given fuel allocation, which is a very, very similar mission to our road car colleagues who have to use the smallest amount of fuel to get a given mission done and that’s extremely close."

  • 13:18

    Williams new boy Rob Smedley was interviewed ahead of the weekend by the official F1 app. Discussing his new role, Rob explains he's been tasked with setting up a group within the team to bring together various elements to make them more performance centric.

    He went on to say that while there are less people and resources at Williams compared to his previous experience at Ferrari, it is very refreshing to be working with this collection of young, talented and hungry people.

  • 14:33

    Giedo van der Garde and Felipe Nasr were the only reserve drivers to make an appearance during free practice. Alonso topped the times early in the day, while Lewis Hamilton finished top of the table on Friday afternoon. FP1 results and FP2 results cover the fastest times and total laps covered by all of the competitors today.

  • 14:46

    Ferrari big cheese Marco Mattiacci was the talk of the town today, most notably for sporting sunglasses throughout the day despite overcast skies and intermittent drizzle. It turns out the essential accessories were more of a practical consideration than a fashion statement. Mattiacci admitted during his first F1 press conference that his frenzied first week has begun to take its toll.

    "If you do in less than four days almost 40 hours of flights and you don't sleep in the last four days probably you need sunglasses!"

    Bless him.

  • 20:29
    F1Minute qualifying report

    A sixty second update on Pastor Maldonado's difficult qualifying, as well as his thoughts on the stewarding so far this year.

  • 20:30

    TweetTweet from @maxchilton: Have gone for a blue visor this weekend as there isn't much blue sky here in Shanghai so I created my own blue sky!

  • 00:39

    Word on the street in Shanghai is that qualifying could suffer from a few delays today.

    @JennieGow: 80% chance of rain for FP3 - 90% chance of rain at 2pm for quali...early forecasts did say could be biblical amounts. Could be fun.

  • 06:13

    The thread for qualifying discussion is awake bright and early for any pre-session chatter.

  • 08:51

    A fascinating qualifying session - our third wet qualifying of the year! If you want to catch up with the action lap by lap, these handy highlights should do the trick.

  • 08:52

    Otherwise, head straight to the results to see who did well and who struggled to cope with the difficult conditions.

  • 14:43

    QuoteNico Rosberg was fighting for the top times in the final session of qualifying, but spun on his ultimate flying lap. The German appeared disappointed afterwards, but is keeping it in perspective, as he explains what happened.

    "On my final timed lap, I was half a second quicker going into the last corner – but my time delta on my steering wheel display said that I was two tenths slower. So I just took a big risk and spun because I mistakenly thought I had nothing to lose anyway.

    "However, fourth place is not a disaster. I was quick on Friday doing the race preparation so I am still confident that there is everything to play for tomorrow."

  • 14:44

    Meanwhile, we were all expecting Williams to struggle in the wet conditions, as they have already admitted they prefer the dry. Two drivers in the top ten, with Massa claiming sixth and Bottas seventh is not to be sniffed at.

    Rob Smedley was happy with the results: "To not be penalised by a wet qualifying shows that the work we have done has improved the handling of the car."

  • 14:55

    In the post-qualifying press conference, the question was posed to both Red Bull drivers on whether they had a hope of chasing Hamilton down for the victory. Sebastian Vettel was keen on one particular idea.

    Vettel: I think if we put two chicanes in all the straights then yes.

    Ricciardo: The idea is to get a good start for both of us and just drive side by side the whole race and then just fight it out on the last lap! Yeah, I don’t know. Realistically we have to wait and see but if we do I’m sure it won’t come easy.

    Vettel: But do you agree on the chicanes still?

    Hamilton: Nah.

    Vettel: It was worth a try!

  • 20:48

    Race controlPastor Maldonado has been given permission to start the race tomorrow, so he'll be at the rear of the field. That does mean his five place grid drop carried over from Bahrain is ineffectual. The full starting grid is available here.

  • 20:49

    Meanwhile, if you're after just a sixty second round-up of what happened at the Shanghai International Circuit today, the F1Minute summary should help.

  • 07:30

    Join us for live discussion of the Chinese Grand Prix in the Sidepodcast comments.

  • 10:44

    The fourth Grand Prix of the season failed to deliver the kind of action seen just two weeks ago in Bahrain, but was nevertheless an entertaining affair. Relive the lap-by-lap highlights of Chinese Grand Prix with Sidepodcast's Factbyte Factbox.

  • 11:09

    A little bit of post-race controversy, when the FIA declared the race over as at the end of lap 54. Confusion reigned when Lewis Hamilton was heard on the radio questioning if he'd seen the chequered flag. Turns out he had!

  • 11:09

    The sporting regulations state that: Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given. Which leaves us on lap 54.

  • 11:10

    It only seems to affect Kamui Kobayashi, who had overtaken Jules Biancho on the final lap, but that position has been switched round again. The results have been updated with new times and positions.

  • 11:10

    Meanwhile, it's worth checking out the driver standings and team standings, if only to marvel at the Mercedes lines on the graph.

  • 11:11

    For fans of cake, the Shanghai paddock delivers once again. Happy birthday Max!

  • 17:04

    Ricciardo is taking his first season with Red Bull in his stride. Not only did he beat his four time world champion teammate again in China, team principal Christian Horner has been impressed with the Australian's opening races.

    "He seems so calm in the car, his feedback is exceptional when he talks on the radio it’s like he’s having a coffee in a coffee shop up the road. And he’s enjoying what he’s doing, he’s enjoying being a Grand Prix driver, he’s enjoying driving for the team."

  • 17:27

    You've got to feel for Lotus' Romain Grosjean. After a brilliant qualifying session yesterday and racing in the points on Sunday, his E22 developed a gearbox problem that forced him into early retirement.

    "It had been quite nice in the race as we’d been fighting for ninth position so we were in the points, which is a good improvement from before. It’s the first time we’ve had a problem like this so we’ll have to understand what happened."

  • 17:43

    Following a strong drive to 6th place Nico Hülkenberg alluded to the mini-battle all Mercedes powered teams are having between themselves at the moment, "We have beaten all other customer Mercedes cars, which are our main competition at the moment."

    With Mercedes power carrying such a performance advantage, any teams lucky enough to be running those units are desperately keen to capitalise before the season settles down.

    McLaren's 11th and 13th place finishes make them the worst of the Mercedes runners for the second race in a row, after their double-retirement in Bahrain. There is much work for the Woking team to do before F1's next outing in Spain.

  • 18:30

    Nico Rosberg has shared his latest video message following the race, this time out discussing a significant lack of telemetry, the resulting poor start and first corner tangle with Valtteri Bottas.

  • 18:40
    Packing up in China
    Credit: Lotus_F1Team/Twitter

    @Lotus_F1Team: Time to pack up and get ready to return to Europe

  • 18:44

    During today's race Massa's fantastic start was ruined by a poor first pitstop. The team have admitted fitting the rear tyres incorrectly which they blame on not having good enough processes and procedures.

    Rob Smedley says the team will look into making changes as soon as this on Monday or Tuesday, "When I spoke with all the guys after the race, even the guys in the pitstops who brought the tyres out, I said if we want to blame anyone, then blame me because that's what I'm paid to do. I take that hit on my shoulders, that's my position in the team."

  • 17:16

    Cast your vote on the racing action from Shanghai, with our rate the race polls - there's also chance to select your driver of the day and judge a couple of specific moments in the race too.

  • 19:06

    Do not miss the 60 second race-recap. Arguably more exciting than the event itself!

  • 12:10

    That wraps up our look at the race weekend action in China. The F1 paddock disperses now for a three week break before the Spanish Grand Prix.

  • 12:10

    Thanks for following along, and as always, stay tuned to Sidepodcast for updates, news and views between now and the next time we meet. See you then, F1 friends!

All content in the series China 2014