Red flag delays scupper China FP1 running, Verstappen quickest for Red Bull

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Max Verstappen led Red Bull to the top of the timesheets in opening Formula 1 practice for the Chinese Grand Prix, squeezing a lap in as the majority of the session was red flagged due to poor weather conditions.

FP1 started with rain falling and was suspended after just four minutes when race control reported that the medical helicopter was unable to land at the local airport due to the poor visibility and weather conditions.

A 30-minute delay followed as conditions improved marginally, with the session eventually returning to green and allowing drivers to get out on the intermediate tire.

Verstappen managed to put in a lap of 1:50.491 for Red Bull, finishing 1.5 seconds faster than the rest of the field, but running was soon scrapped once again when Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg spun off at Turn 2. With his car beached, Hulkenberg had to walk back to the pits, with the marshals left to recover the R.S.17.

Minutes later, the session was red flagged once again, with race control declaring that the local airport had been closed entirely due to the poor weather conditions.

The final 25 minutes of the session ticked by without any track activity, with the checkered flag eventually emerging to bring an end to a largely fruitless practice for the F1 field.