Caterham dropped Charles Pic for Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua in free practice one of Ma’s home race. It was not an easy session for the hometown driver, who had several runs for HRT on Friday last year.
He ended with a best lap of 1:43.545 in 20 laps, 6.8 seconds off Nico Rosberg’s leading time in the Mercedes, 1:36.717 at the Shanghai International Circuit. More importantly, he was 1.5 seconds slower than Caterham teammate Giedo van der Garde.
Ma locked up at Turn 11 with 53 minutes remaining in the 90-minute session, and flat-spotted his only allocated set of tires.
Ma and Alexander Rossi, Caterham’s two reserve drivers, have the opportunity to drive in several Friday free practice sessions this year. Rossi takes van der Garde’s place in FP1 next race in Bahrain. Caterham’s race pair of Pic and rookie van der Garde have yet to beat Marussia rookie Jules Bianchi in a qualifying session this year.
Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.
This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.
Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.
IMS President J. Douglas Boles
“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.
“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”