Verstappen wins in China

Verstappen dominates in Shanghai as Norris and Perez clinch podiums

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: The FIA Safety Car leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images ) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202404210226 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen continued his dominant start to the 2024 Formula 1 season with a comfortable victory at the Chinese Grand Prix.

In the first race in China since 2019, Lando Norris finished second, with Sergio Perez taking the final spot on the podium.

Alonso made an aggressive start, powering past Perez at the start while looking to put Verstappen under pressure as well – while the Spaniard couldn’t pass the pole sitter, he did move up into second.

The early pace started to affect the Aston Martin driver’s tyres though, and he soon dropped back in Perez’s DRS range, allowing the Mexican to reclaim second.

The Ferraris almost came together on the opening lap, allowing George Russell to pick up a couple of positions, but Charles Leclerc fought back well to regain the position a few laps later.

Pierre Gasly had a disaster in the pits when he moved off before one of his tyres was fully fitted, knocking one of his mechanics off his feet and resulting in a long pitstop.

After the majority of the front runners had stopped, Norris and Leclerc continued, with both drivers seemingly considered making just one pitstop during the race.

Valtteri Bottas’s day came to a premature end when he suffered an engine failure, leaving him stricken in the run off area. A virtual safety car was needed to clear the Sauber, allowing Norris and Leclerc to take their pitstops while the race was neutralised.

The marshals struggled to move the Sauber, which appeared to be stuck in gear, and after a few laps under VSC conditions, the full safety car was deployed to enable recovery vehicles to move the car.

The safety car briefly returned to the pitlane, but was swiftly deployed again after incidents involving both VCARB cars.

As the drivers were preparing to go back to green flag conditions, Lance Stroll misjudged the speed of the car in front, rear ending Daniel Ricciardo, lifting the VCARB off the ground, shunting him into the rear of Oscar Piastri’s McLaren and resulting in damage to the front of the Aston Martin. Stroll had to pit but Ricciardo was able to continue, albeit with floor damage.

A few corners later, Kevin Magnussen cut across Yuki Tsunoda, ending the Japanese driver’s race and dropping Magnussen towards the rear of the field as he picked up a puncture and had to pit.

As the safety car returned to the pits for a second time, the damage to Ricciardo’s VCARB made it difficult for the Australian to maintain his position, as he dropped from 10th to 18th in just over one lap, complaining of a lack of grip at the rear.

After struggling on for a couple of laps, Ricciardo came into the pits to retire the car, with Stroll being handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision.

There was also a penalty for Logan Sargeant for an infringement under the safety car, and an additional 10 seconds for Magnussen for his incident with Tsunoda.

Norris and Leclerc’s long opening stints had dropped Perez down to fourth, but the Red Bull driver climbed back up into the podium positions as overtook Leclerc, with the Monegasque driver complaining about tyre wear straight afterwards.

After a disastrous qualifying, Lewis Hamilton picked up places during the two safety cars, finding himself running in the points throughout the second half of the race. In the final laps, he looked to put Piastri under pressure for eigth, with the McLaren carrying damage as a result of the Stroll-Ricciardo incident, but the Australian did enough to keep Hamilton behind.

A late pitstop helped Alonso secure the extra point for fastest lap of the race.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Vesrtappen (Red Bull)

2. Lando Norris (McLaren)

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

6. George Russell (Mercedes)

7. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

8. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

10. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

11. Estaban Ocon (Alpine)

12. Alex Albon (Williams)

13. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

14. Guanyu Zhou (Sauber)

15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

16. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

17. Logan Sargeant (Williams)


Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB)

Yuki Tsunoda (VCARB)

Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)

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