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F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Verstappen Wins a Safety Car Drama-Filled Race

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Lars Baron

Formula One returns to Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix in 2024, the first race in China since 2019's 1000th F1 Grand Prix.

Grand Prix Results

1st Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2nd Lando Norris, McLaren

3rd Sergio Perez, Red Bull

4th Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

5th Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

6th George Russell, Mercedes

7th Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

8th Oscar Piastri, McLaren

9th Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

10th Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

11th Esteban Ocon, Alpine

12th Alexander Albon, Williams

13th Pierre Gasly, Alpine

14th Guanyu Zhou, Sauber

15th Kevin Magnussen, Haas

16th Logan Sargeant, Williams

17th Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

DNF Daniel Ricciardo, RB

DNF Yuki Tsunoda, RB

DNF Valtteri Bottas, Sauber

Grand Prix

The lights went out at the Shanghai International Circuit, Fernando Alonso starting third, went flying around the outside of Sergio Perez who started second, right around the outside of the Mexican into Turn 1, and even drawing alongside Max Verstappen who started on pole. The Aston Martin would back out heading into Turn 2, allowing Verstappen to build a large gap in just the opening few laps. Both Ferrari's of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc would drop a couple positions, Leclerc running Sainz out wide on the exit of Turn 1, a return on Sainz running Leclerc wide in the Sprint Race yesterday.

Perez eventually cleared Alonso, with Lando Norris also finding his way past the Spaniard just before the first range of pit stops. Norris and the Ferrari's would stay out, as the rest of the field made their first stops. However, as we approached the half distance in the race, Valtteri Bottas' Sauber Ferrari engine would give up the ghost on the Finn, stopping at the run off of Turn 11 and initially bringing out a Virtual Safety Car which forced Norris and the Ferrari drivers to finally come in and make their stop. Suddenly, the VSC would be upgraded to a full Safety Car, which brought Fernando Alonso in for the Soft tyres.

Credit: Lintao Zhang

However, a crash under the Safety Car Restart between Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri as they bunched at the penultimate corner, with Stroll underestimating the gap between him and the RB in front, running into the back of Ricciardo and causing a concertina effect, with Ricciardo running into the back of Piastri's McLaren.

Kevin Magnussen would also collide with Yuki Tsunoda at the exit of Turn 6, giving a puncture to both and with both of these incidents on track, another full Safety Car was deployed. Alonso was on the Soft tyre, and this Safety Car would end up ruining the momentum and potential of those tyres. A slightly baffling strategy to many armchair experts from home, as Alonso would now have to fall back through the field to pit again.

Credit: Lintao Zhang

However, as Fernando Alonso pitted onto the Medium tyres, the Aston Martin would fly through the field, coming through like a hot knife through butter. Alonso would make it ahead of nearly everybody he lost out to, but this time he carried the Fastest Lap with him as well.

Max Verstappen would keep a cool head and control the race, being between six tenths of a second quicker than his teammate, and over a second per lap faster on some occasions. Verstappen would come home to score another impressive and decisive victory over the field in his 2024 championship campaign, which looks already as good as wrapped up. Lando Norris would come home in 2nd place, a fantastic result against the other challenging drivers, and beating one of the dominant Red Bull cars of Sergio Perez, who would come home for the final place on the podium.

Guanyu Zhou would come down the home straight to his adoring crowd, an emotional moment for him as the Chinese fans have had to wait so long, and been through so much - a great moment.

That's all for the Chinese Grand Prix, a solid race and a good overall race weekend with plenty of drama.


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