Recapping all of the news and notes following Saturday in Shanghai, here is Michael Lamonato's paddock notebook.

Alexander Albon opened the with an enormous crash near the end of FP3. The Thai driver got caught in a tank-slapper over the kerbs at the exit of the final turn, spinning his car rear-first in the barriers with such force the impact could be heard from the media centre at the top of the tower above that part of the circuit.

– Albon emerged from the wreckage unscathed, but the same could be said of the car, which was far beyond repair before qualifying two hours later. He’ll start from pit lane with a brand-new power unit.

Antonio Giovinazzi was unable to set a lap time in Q1 due to an unspecified technical problem. It was a painful result after losing 90 minutes of Friday practice to an incorrectly installed power unit.

Kimi Raikkonen’s progression from Q2 was thwarted when his car “lost speed”, though the Finn admitted afterwards that it may not necessarily have been a loss of power; it could have been a gust of wind that lost him an estimated 0.15 seconds.

– Alfa Romeo is the only Ferrari-powered team that didn’t take a new control electronics component this round, introduced after Charles Leclerc’s power unit problems in Bahrain.

Lance Stroll was knocked out in Q3 for the seventh race in a row.

– Confusion reigned in Q3 when a gaggle of drivers were apparently caught unaware by the chequered flag. Red Bull Racing and Haas both failed to set a time during the second runs, which was particularly costly for the American team, which didn’t even set a first flying lap.

Max Verstappen fumed in his cockpit as the Red Bull Racing driver was overtaken by cars hoping to make it over the line before the chequered flag. He accused his rivals of breaking a gentleman’s agreement not to overtake on qualifying out-laps, a rule several other drivers acknowledged in the aftermath, but all were diplomatic out of the car, noting that the strangeness of the situation and the apparently varied information being fed to them by their engineers excused the behaviour.

– Renault made the top 10 for the first time this season, with Daniel Ricciardo leading teammate Nico Hulkenberg by just 0.004 seconds in P7 and P8.

– Despite predictions that the 1.1-second gap between the soft and medium compounds would be too great for any of the frontrunning teams to use the more durable tyre to qualify for the top 10, both Mercedes, both Ferrari and Max Verstappen all easily successfully qualified for Q3 with the yellow-marked rubber.

– The advantage may not be as great as originally thought, however, with Pirelli suggesting after qualifying that the fastest strategy will be to start on the soft, run for 18 laps and one-stop onto the hard.

– An opening 19-lap stint on mediums before switching to a new set of hards is the second-fastest strategy, while a two-stop comprising two 15-lap stints on softs and a final stint on the hards is the third-quickest way forward. Pirelli notes, however, that hotter weather  — the forecast is for marginally warmer conditions for the race — could make the soft more delicate.

– Ferrari failed to turn its pre-race hype into results in qualifying, ending the day almost 0.3 seconds off the pace. The Scuderia’s straight-line speed advantage remained intact, however, with Toto Wolff suggesting his team was losing a very precise 0.374 seconds per lap down the straights — meaning it has an almost 0.6-second advantage around the corners.

– Wolff also said he would be having talk to his drivers about their approach in the race given Ferrari’s straight-line advantage could leave his team vulnerable to DRS-assisted overtaking if the two drivers squabble for position early, though he noted this has been a procedure since after the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix.

– The Chinese Grand Prix, the 1000th world championship race, is a sell-out, with the forecast weekend attendance expected to represent a 30 per cent increase on 2018’s weekend figures at the Shanghai International Circuit.



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