2024 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Highlights

 

Introduction

 

Max Verstappen converted pole position into victory in a 2024 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix full of incidents and overtakes, leading home McLaren’s Lando Norris and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to make four wins from five races this season.

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Verstappen led the vast majority of a strategic encounter at the Shanghai International Circuit that featured a Virtual Safety Car and two full Safety Car periods, the Dutchman keeping his cool at the front as the drama unfolded behind him.

Norris was one of three drivers, along with Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, to make just one pit stop, having benefitted from the VSC and Safety Car phases to jump Perez for second position, which he managed to hold to the finish.

Leclerc and Sainz followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, despite some concerns from the Monegasque in the closing stages that his tyres would be unable to make it to the end. George Russell led Mercedes’ charge en route to sixth.

Fernando Alonso had an offset strategy after pitting for softs rather than hards chosen by the drivers around him under the mid-race Safety Car. This forced him into a late stop for mediums, and then a string of overtakes to recover from 12th to seventh—McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was his final victim.

After his Q1 exit and some tyre-related struggles in the early laps, Lewis Hamilton worked his way up the order amid drama around him. He wound up ninth thanks to some intelligent overtakes, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg claiming the final point on offer.

Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly sandwiched the Williams of Alex Albon in positions 11 to 13, while Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu crossed the line in 14th as he made history by becoming the first Chinese driver to compete on home soil.

A trio of sanctioned drivers followed, with Lance Stroll classifying 15th, ahead of final finishers Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant, after being given a 10-second penalty for his part in a collision with Daniel Ricciardo under the Safety Car.

Stroll ran into the back of Ricciardo just before the first Safety Car restart when the field bunched up at the tight final hairpin, and after the RB driver returned to the pits to retire with significant damage, stewards slapped the Canadian with his sanction.

Magnussen was 16th in his Haas after tipping the other RB of Yuki Tsunoda into a spin – and retirement – at the exit of the Turn 6 hairpin earlier in the race, a move that also saw the stewards add 10 seconds to his time.

Logan Sargeant finished 17th and last in the second of the Williams machines to conclude another difficult weekend. He was hit with a 10-second penalty for a Safety Car infringement involving Hulkenberg.

Alongside the two RBs, Valtteri Bottas failed to finish when his Kick Sauber developed an apparent engine issue and forced him to pull off the track, with problems removing his car leading to the first Safety Car period.

With the top-three finishers heading to the podium to celebrate, Verstappen’s latest win means he now sits 25 points – and a Grand Prix victory – clear of teammate Perez in the drivers’ standings as the F1 field gets set for another Sprint in Miami in a fortnight’s time.

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:

I take my hat off to yet another show of strength from Max Verstappen, who won twice on this first Sprint weekend of the season. Nevertheless, it was an exciting race because, behind the three-time world champion, there was a very close race with surprises, overtaking, and excitement. In fact, there was also great excitement among the Chinese fans who had their eyes glued on local hero Guanyu Zhou all weekend long, and he showed his emotion by acknowledging their support after the race.

2024 Formula 1 Chinese GP

From a purely technical point of view, today’s race confirmed that all three compounds were suitable for use. Obviously, the long Safety Car periods affected the way the race played out, allowing those considering a one-stop to make it work. However, given the level of degradation evident, it would have really been borderline to make the one-stop work without the Safety Car, as there would have been too high a price to pay in terms of performance compared to those who would have been on quicker, and possibly newer, tyres in the final part of the race. In fact, this was demonstrated by Alonso, who came in for new Mediums on lap 43 when in seventh place and was then able to make up all five places lost at the pit stop over the course of his final stint. Finally, it’s worth noting that none of the three compounds suffered from graining, proving that they worked well on this unusual track in very particular conditions.

The day on the track:

Predictably, most drivers opted to start on the Medium, with four—Hamilton, Stroll, Sargeant, and Tsunoda—choosing the Soft and Magnussen choosing the Hard.

2024 Formula 1 Chinese GP

The way the race panned out and the various strategy choices were influenced by three Safety Car periods, one virtual and two real, for a total of around 17 minutes, just before half-distance. This bunched up the pack and mixed things up regarding pit stops and tyre usage to the extent that six drivers – Hamilton, Stroll, Alonso, Sargeant, Tsunoda and Zhou – used all three compounds. Further confirmation of this was the fact that the strategies of the drivers who made up the top ten were very different to one another in terms of the order in which the compounds were used, as well as in the number of pit stops: Norris, Sainz and Leclerc stopped only once, while Verstappen, Perez, Russell, Hamilton, Piastri and Hulkenberg stopped twice and Alonso three times.

2024 Formula 1 Chinese GP

Sainz drove the longest stint of all (39 laps on the Hard), Magnussen went furthest (29 laps) on the Medium, and Alonso did 20 on the Soft.

What’s next?

Next up, it’s Formula 1’s first visit to North America this season, with a race on a track around Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium from 3 to 5 May. The Sprint format will operate for the second consecutive round, meaning just one free practice session and Sprint Qualifying on Friday, with the Sprint Race and Grand Prix qualifying on Saturday, followed by the usual race on Sunday. The compounds chosen for the season’s sixth round are the C2, C3 and C4, the same as here in Shanghai.

2024 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix Race Results

PosNoDriverCountryTeamTimePointsOverall
1.1Max VerstappenNetherlandsRed Bull Racing1:40:52.55425110
2.4Lando NorrisGreat BritainMclaren Racing+13.773s1858
3.11Sergio PerezMexicoRed Bull Racing +19.160s1585
4.16Charles LeclercMonacoScuderia Ferrari+23.623s1276
5.55Carlos SainzSpainScuderia Ferrari+33.983s1069
6.63George RussellGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+38.724s833
7.14Fernando AlonsoSpainAston Martin F1 Team+43.414s731
8.81Oscar PiastriAustraliaMcLaren Racing+56.198s438
9.44Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+57.986s219
10.27Nico HulkenbergGermanyHaas F1 Team+60.476s14
11.31Esteban OconFranceAlpine F1 Team+62.812s00
12.45Alexander AlbonThailandWilliams Racing+65.506s00
13.10Pierre GaslyFranceAlpine F1 Team+69.223s00
14.24Zhou GuanyuChinaKick Sauber F1 Team+71.689s00
15.18Lance StrollCanadaAston Martin F1 Team+82.786s09
16.20Kevin MagnussenDenmarkHaas F1 Team+87.533s01
17.2Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+95.110s00
18.3Daniel RicciardoAustraliaVisa Cash App F1 TeamDNF00
19.22Yuki TsunodaJapanVisa Cash App F1 TeamDNF07
20.77Valtteri BottasFinlandKick Sauber F1 TeamDNF00

2024 Constructor Standings

PosTeamPoints
1.Red Bull Racing373
2.Scuderia Ferrari302
3.McLaren Racing295
4.Mercedes-AMG Petronas221
5.Aston Martin F1 Team68
6.Visa Cash App F1 Team31
7.Haas F1 Team27
8.Alpine F1 Team9
9.Williams Racing4
10.Kick Sauber F1 Team0

Here are the team-by-team highlights:




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