SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Chinese GP: King Verstappen rules as Red Bull rub it in, Norris P2

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Let’s call him four-time World Champion! Max Verstappen powered to another victory in Formula 1, this time dominating the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, the Red Bull master driver reaffirming he is the King of Formula 1.

Superlatives are exhausted in describing Verstappen’s exploits. In China today, he delivered his most commanding victory of the season, perhaps his most dominant performance ever. From blitzing off the start, then disappearing into the lead at a second per lap. It was Game-Set-Match by the end of that fabulous, wickedly long Turn 1 at Shanghai International Circuit.

Even two back-to-back Safety Car periods that negated his 12-seconds lead did little to change proceedings. Max simply floored it and disappeared to score his fourth win of the season, the 58th of his F1 career. Only Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have won more GPs than the Dutch 26-year-old.

The victory by 15 seconds, drives home how dominant the Adrian Newey & Co. penned RB20 is in Verstappen’s hands, and it’s only the fifth round of the season.

Adding insult to injury was the Red Bull’s exceptional service for their drivers. They double-stacked their lads for the first stops today in the race, with a couple of sensational low two-second tyre changes for both their cars.

It was a class act by the World Champs, Max acknowledging over the radio: “That was fantastic. It was on fire. The car was really, really good. Fantastic job guys. Well done. Pit stops, we did really, really well this weekend.”

Verstappen: These kinds of weekends are amazing

F1 Grand Prix of China podium f1

Interviewed by Nico Rosberg in Parc Ferme, a beaming Verstappen summed up his emotions: “It felt amazing. The whole weekend we were incredibly quick. Just enjoyable to drive on every compound.

“We survived the restarts well and the car was basically on rails and I could do whatever I wanted with it. These kinds of weekends are amazing to feel and to achieve what we did this weekend is fantastic,” added Verstappen, who now leads the 2024 FIA F1 World Championship standings by 25 points after five rounds.

Lando Norris was again game for a fight with his McLaren, and ended the day Best of the Rest by a margin, preventing a Red Bull one-two on the day. Despite his P1 to nowhere fail in the Sprint Race, can be satisfied that he was well better than anyone other than King Verstappen.

Norris reported to Rosberg afterwards: “Surprised, so I’m very happy. I’m happy for the whole team, they deserved it. Good pit stops. Just today worked out. I just wasn’t expecting today. I got everything ready to go home early and not be on the podium, so it’s a pleasant surprise.

“It shows the team have done a good job, have worked hard and it’s paying off. I made a bet how far behind the Ferrari we would finish today. I thought 35s – and I was very wrong by that. So happy to be wrong with myself, and my own bets, but a good day for everyone,” acknowledged Lando who was voted Driver of the Day

Norris: It was not the race I was expecting to have

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 21, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

“I don’t know why, it was not the race I was expecting to have today, but just got comfortable and could manage the tyres a lot, which was an easier task than what I could have yesterday,” added Norris who is P5 in the 2024 F1 points standings after today’s race.

In the other McLaren, it would be fair to say Oscar Piastri was outclassed by his teammate. Although solid as always, he lacked that extra bit Norris was able to deliver on a tricky weekend in China, that probably comes with experience. He also suffered damage during his race to P8. which saw him drop down the order

Red Bull veteran Sergio Perez did all that was expected of him in Qualifying, although again no match for the #1 car. On Sunday, the Mexican got mugged at the start by a slick Norris move, and thereafter could not catch Norris.

Even in the late stages, the McLaren driver had the Red Bull pegged. Checo had to settle P3, when P2 was the inevitable pre-race expectation brought about by his team’s incredible dominance.

Perez: We didn’t read the conditions as perfectly

Max Verstappen and Checo Perez congratulate each other in Parc Ferme after completing the Chinese GP in P1 and P3

Speaking afterwards in Parc Ferme, Perez said: “We were definitely lacking some pace, especially on the medium compound, we struggled a bit with the balance.  We changed a lot from yesterday to today, so we didn’t read the conditions as perfectly as we could.

“But overall it was a strong weekend and we understand the reasons today why the race pace was a little down,” reckoned Perez, who remains P2 in the Championship standings.

Charles Leclerc led home teammate Carlos Sainz for P4 and P5 respectively on an ordinary weekend, when it was expected that the Italian team would take the fight to RBR. But China disappointed for the only team to have beaten the World Champs in the past two years. This weekend they never looked like they had a chance.

George Russell saved some pride for Mercedes with P6, staying out of trouble and grinding out a solid result. Lewis Hamilton turned P18 on the grid into P9 for the six-time winner of the race in Shanghai. An underwhelming weekend for Toto Wolff’s team, well trounced by Red Bull and well beaten by their Norris, driving for their customer team.

Alonso was the star of the show again

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The oldest driver in the field – Fernando Alonso – delivered a memorable performance [My Driver of the Day] by uniquely running a three-stop strategy in contrast to the entire field. His final stint on Mediums was stellar. Emerging P11 after his late stop, then was cheered raucously as he powered his Aston Martin to P7 by the end of the 56-lap race. It was another grand performance.

In stark contrast, in the sister Aston Marin, Lance Stroll was bad. Very bad, punting Daniel Ricciardo out of the race and rightfully penalised for his shenanigans. He finished P15, as his ‘shares’ hit rock bottom, making a case for the worst driver on the F1 grid.

The final point went to a resurgent Nico Hulkenberg, P10 like a victory for the American minnows who are showing the results after the woeful Guenther Steiner era. Haas looking like a decent race team again, with an improving car by all accounts.

Last but not least, Guanyu Zhou showed just why F1 needs him as his every move brought a roar that would drown Verstappen’s ‘Orange Army’ with their enthusiastic chants for the local hero who managed to shine amid the pressure of racing on home soil.

It was hair-raising stuff, images of his emotions overflowing as the packed main grandstand chanted his name, erupting in joy as he emerged from his Sauber. he had not won the World Championship, he had not won the race – he had just finished P14.

Zhou soaked it all up, unknowingly his fans just signed his long-term stay in F1 as the gateway to the greatest untapped market for the sport. It was history-making, Zhou the first Chinese driver to race in China. The beginning of very big things we witnessed today.

2024 Chinese Grand Prix Result

2024 Chinese Grand Prix Result

2024 Chinese Grand Prix Race Report Notes

chinese grand prix f1 grid 2024

All in the top ten start on Pirelli yellow band Mediums. P11 Stroll on Softs as well as Hamilton and Tsunoda. Sargeant starting in the pitlane also on Softs. Magnussen only driver on the Pirelli Hard compound.

Great start from Verstappen and Alonso into P2 around the outside of Perez. Hulkenberg jumped both Ferraris on the opening lap up to P7 but Leclerc takes P7 and Sauinz followed suit a little later.

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By end of Lap 2 Verstappen was 2.5s ahead of Alonso, and pulling away at a second per lap. Russell was an early mover into P6 from P8. Stroll on the move up to P9. Perez stalking Alonso for P2 at this stage, until Lap 5 the Red Bull overtook the Aston Martin.
Verstappen led Perez by 5.5 seconds.

On Lap 7, Norris starts attacking in DRS range of Alonso, to take P3 a lap later. On Lap 9, Leclerc overtakes Russell for P6. The Mercedes now with Sainz to contend with.

Lap 10 Top 10: VER-PER-NOR-ALO-PIA-LEC-RUS-SAI-STR-BOT

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Pitstops begin as backmarkers stream into the pits. Verstappen led Perez by ten seconds at this point. Behind them Norris was a couple of seconds behind the #11 Red Bull. On Lap 12 Leclerc gets past Piastri, as Alonso pits from P4. Russell follows into the pitlane.

Lap 14 Red Bull pit both their drivers, double stacking cheekily with two low-twe seconds stops for their drivers. Superb stuff from the World Champions, just as Alpine fumble Gasly’s stop.

Norris led Leclerc by seven seconds, both still to pit. Verstappen emerges P3 after his stop, Perez in P5. Sainz in the sandwich still on his first stint.

Verstappen overtakes Leclerc for P2. Norris was six seconds ahead. On Lap 19 Max was through into the lead, the pair behind him still to stop. Perez in P4, 12 seconds down on his teammate at the front.

Lap 20 Top 10: VER-NOR-LEC-PER-ALO-PIA-RUS-STR-SAI-HUL

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Only Norris and Leclerc have yet to stop of the top ten drivers at this stage. First yellow flag, Bottas parks his Sauber reporting Ferrari engine failure.

Lap 23, VRC to remove Bottas’ stranded Sauber before a full safety car was deployed triggering a flurry of pitstops. Red Bull pulled in both their drivers.

Top 10 when the race resumed a couple of laps later: VER-NOR-LEC-PER-SAI-ALO-RUS-PIA-RIC-STR

In the Top 10, on their second set of tyres were Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Russell, Piastri and Stroll. Norris, Leclerc, Sainz and Ricciardo yet to make a second change. Alonso on Softs, Ricciardo on mediums and the rest of the field on Hards.

With the field concertina-ed, Verstappen darted away as they were released for a 30 lap sprint to the end on the cards. When the dust settled on a dramatic restart which included Stroll punting Ricciardo, Magnussen did the same to Tsunoda. Not a fortunate day for VCARB. DNF for Yuki, Ricciardo in P9.

Lap 30 Top 10: VER-NOR-LEC-PER-ALO-SAI-RUS-PIA-RIC-HUL

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Yet again a Safety Car took the lead. Restart Verstappen again blitzes away pulling a one-second on the first flying lap and then popping the fastest lap for good measure. Behind him, it was all orderly.

Ricciardo dropped down the order until he too DNFed on lap 35. The Stroll prang took its toll, the Canadian served a 10-second penalty by F1 Stewards. This promoted Hulkenberg to P9 behind Piastri and Hamilton into P10. Later in the race, the McLaren driver appeared to suffer damage during that first restart melee.

At the front Verstappen led by 2.3s from Norris who was 3.0s ahead of Leclerc in P3. Perez in P4 was within DRS of the Ferrari, bobbing and weaving in the Red mirrors.

Lap 40 Top 10: VER-NOR-PER-LEC-ALO-SAI-RUS-PIA-HUL-HAM

Verstappen leading Norris by 4.0s, was five seconds ahead of the Leclerc versus Perez battle for the final podium spot. The Red Bull edged past on Lap 40. Perez looking at a five-second gap to Norris in P2.

Hamilton was more comfortable on the Hards was on the move at this stage, up to P9 and targeting ailing Piastri. Notably of the top 13, only Alonso was on Softs at this stage. The rest were on Pirelli Hards.

Alonso finally pitted for fresh Mediums and on lap 46 set the fastest lap, emerging 11th and gobbling up Ocon and Magnussen. Before setting his sights on Hamilton a second up the road.

By lap 49 Alonso was up to P8, driving on the edge, saved a big moment as he chased. Piastri was next with less fuss. The Spanish legend was up to P7. Russell next.

Lap 50 Top 10: VER-NOR-PER-LEC-SAI-RUS-ALO-PIA-HAM-HUL

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Verstappen led Norris by 11.0s who had Perez pegged at 5.0s behind in P3. Alonso gave chase but Russell was too far ahead. Stalemate until the end.

Verstappen crossed the finish line in cruise control to win by 13.773s from Norris and Perez a further 5.387s behind. That’s the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix podium trio!

Capture


2024 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

PEREZ Sergio (mex), Red Bull Racing RB20, portrait, VERSTAPPEN Max (ned), Red Bull Racing RB20, portrait, ALONSO Fernando (spa), Aston Martin F1 Team AMR24, portrait during the Formula 1 Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix 2024, 5th round of the 2024 Formula One World Championship from April 19 to 21, 2024 on the Shanghai International Circuit, in Shanghai, China - Photo Paulo Maria / DPPI

Who will finish third behind the Red Bulls? Good question. Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez locked out the front row, as the Red Bull RB20 appears to have taken a step up in performance making their drivers the class of the field in Qualifying for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

In fact, Verstappen was class of the field the whole of Saturday, comfortably winning the Sprint Race earlier in the day and then annexing Red Bull’s 100th pole position start in the top flight. Expect the same today at a venue where neither Red Bull driver has won. That is likely to change.

With Max in full flight, Perez is doing fine as his wingman, anything less than a one-two at the end of today’s 18th edition of the Grand Prix in China – back on the F1 calendar for the first time since 2019 – will be disappointing for Red Bull aka the stress of domination. The real question is not who will win, but rather by how much the World Champs win this one.

Therefore all eyes will be on the battle for the precious final step of the Shanghai podium

The ever-young Fernando Alonso leads the charge in the Aston Martin, the Spanish veteran stunning all with P3 in Qualifying on Saturday. He will start behind a fired-up Lando Norris who will be seeking to make amends for his appalling P1-to-nowhere start in the Sprint Race on Saturday.

Either two are good bets to share the podium with the Boys in Blue. And of course, there to pick up anything the Bulls leave on the table on the day.

Unless he ups his game dramatically, Oscar Piatstri is unlikely to have the ‘legs’ to hang out a full race distance with his teammate Norris. The Briton appears to have the edge on the Aussie, who could defy all and turn things around with a strong showing for McLaren today. He is that kind of driver, one who can surprise.

Next up are the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc (P6) and Carlos Sainz (P7) who cannot be discounted to making a surprise comeback from an unspectacular Saturday. They admitted to compromising Qualy’s pace for the long game which the race today will be.

P3 is likely to be one of the chaps starting P3 to P7 because George Russell starting P8, does not have a podium finishing car at his disposal. Ditto his Mercedes teammate, a six-time winner of the Chinese GP, Lewis Hamilton starting from P18 on the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg is in fine form, as he tends to get when contract renewal time swings around, starting P9 he will be hoping for points as will a fired-up Valtteri Bottas in the Stake Sauber, the Finn a winner in China during his time at Mercedes.

Other storylines at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix:

  • Who crashes first? Logan? Lance? Lewis? Carlos or Charles? Dan or Yuki?
  • Is that an Alpine resurgence we are seeing?
  • Did VCARB swap Ricciardo’s chassis with Tsunoda’s? Looks like it!
  • Not much else going on in F1 backmarker-land.

Chinese Grand Prix Facts & Stats by Reuters:

Shanghai international circuit

  • 2024 Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit
  • Round five of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship
  • Lap distance: 5.451km. Total distance: 305.066km (56 laps)
  • No race held since 2019
  • Race lap record: Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari, one minute and 32.238 seconds. (2004)
  • Start time: 0700GMT/1500 local
  • The race made its debut in 2004 and returns after a five-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine of the 16 Chinese Grands Prix have been won from pole.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful with six wins (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019).
  • Two other current drivers have won in China – Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2013 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2018.
  • Mercedes have won six times, Ferrari four, McLaren three. Red Bull’s first Formula One win was at the circuit in 2009.
  • The lowest winning grid slot in China is sixth for Daniel Ricciardo in 2018 and Schumacher in 2006 — when the seven-times world champion took his 91st and final victory in Formula One.
  • The track puts a high level of stress on front tyres, particularly through the opening corners, but also has two long straights.
  • Hamilton has been on pole a record six times in China. Alonso and Valtteri Bottas have also been on pole in Shanghai.
  • Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu, China’s first F1 race driver, is making his home debut in what will be his 49th career start.
  • Teams have no recent data to work with since Formula One’s last visit to Shanghai was in a different technical era, before the current ground-effect cars.
  • Verstappen has led the championship for a record 43 successive races dating back to Spain in May 2022 and arrives in China 13 points clear of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and 18 ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
  • Shanghai hosts the first of the season’s six sprint weekends, with just one practice session on Friday. It is the first time the format has been used in China.

points after chinese grand prix sprint

Victories, Podiums and Pole Position

  • Verstappen has won three of four races this season, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz triumphant in Australia.
  • Sainz is the only driver to have beaten Red Bull since 2022.
  • Hamilton has a record 103 career victories from 336 starts but is chasing his first since 2021 — a run of 49 races without a win.
  • Red Bull won 21 of 22 races last year, with Verstappen victorious in a record 19, and have won 34 of the last 37.
  • The team have won 116 races and are fourth in the all-time list of winners. Ferrari lead with 244, McLaren have 183 and Mercedes 125.
  • Verstappen has won 57 grands prix and is third on the all-time list. Michael Schumacher is second on 91.
  • Hamilton has a record 104 career poles, his most recent in Hungary last year.
  • Verstappen is the first driver since Hamilton in 2015 to take the first four poles of a season. Another on Saturday would be his sixth in a row, including the last race of 2023.
  • The last driver to take pole in the first five races of a season was Mika Hakkinen with McLaren in 1999.
  • Verstappen has 101 career podiums, Hamilton 197.
  • The Red Bull driver set a record of 21 podiums in a season last year but Michael Schumacher remains the only driver to have stood on the podium in every race of a season (2002).

Milestones

  • Red Bull are celebrating the 15th anniversary of their first F1 win and first one-two finish, in Shanghai in 2009 with Sebastian Vettel.
  • On Saturday Red Bull their 100th F1 pole position thanks to Max Verstappen.

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