Friday, April 16, 2010

Mercedes Power Strong on Day 1 of Prep for Chinese Grand Prix

Home to the third Asian continent round of four initial races on the Formula 1 tour, the open wheel racing machines set course for the 5.451 kilometer (3.387 mile) Shanghai International Circuit in the People's Republic of China for the 6th running of the Chinese Grand Prix. Active winners of the grand prix includes Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel from last season. What makes this noteworthy is that, in 6 previous runnings of the Chinese Grand Prix, there has yet to be a repeat winning driver on the track.

Further adding to the unpredictability of the apparent variables in this grand prix is a chaotic start to the 2010 Formula 1 season overall. Three drivers competing in three different cars hold victories in the first three rounds of the Formula 1 series this season. This feat was last accomplished by the Formula 1 tour in 1990. While front-runners Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing have all recorded their first wins of 2010, the streak different driver/team victories could be extended if Mercedes GP or Renault would find the top of the podium in China.

In first day preparations for the Chinese Grand Prix, teams powered by Mercedes-Benz engines continue to show a consistent presence at the top of the Formula 1 time sheet. The top 4 times in both Chinese Grand Prix practices were captured by Mercedes-Benz powerplants of McLaren-Mercedes and the fully factory-backed Mercedes GP team. Overall, the second of two practice sessions proved fastest on day 1 with 2008 race winner Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest mark of 1 minute, 35.217 seconds for McLaren. Mercedes GP's Nico Rosberg posted the second fast on the day. Teammates for the top-2 runners in practice Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher were nearby on quick times.

Filed behind the Mercedes-Benz powered vehicles, the Red Bull Racing cars placed 5th and 6th fastest times with Sebastian Vettel leading Mark Webber. Red Bull Racing's satellite team Scuderia Toro Rosso, received a tremendous amount of attention for the wrong reasons. In first round of practice, a frightening scene transpired on the car of Sebastien Buemi entering into turn 14. As Buemi braked into th corner, the front suspension system of his Toro Rosso seemingly exploded sheering the front front wheels off the vehicle. Sebastien Buemi slid into the run-off zone but not made mild contact with a retaining barrier. Buemi was unhurt and no other drivers or spectators were directly threatened by parts flying from the Toro Rosso. Upon examining the vehicle, the Toro Rosso race team linked the suspension failure to a new-for-China design change to the front suspension upright. After the accident, the Formula 1 team reverted back to the design used the previous suspension uprights.

Foreshadowing the Chinese Grand Prix, a considerable focus in China is off-track as the aftermath of a devastating earthquake. Occurring in the western part of the country, 1,144 people are reported to have perished since the Wednesday earthquake shook the ground.

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