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Shanghai delivered an eventful Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, with a race marked by retirements and yellow flags. Max Verstappen took the lead, closely followed by Lando Norris (driver of the day) and Sergio Perez.

As the lights went out at the Shanghai circuit, Fernando Alonso, behind the wheel of his Aston Martin, quickly gained an advantage over Sergio Perez. Alonso then attempted a move on Verstappen, but the Dutchman, as skillful as ever, held onto the lead. Further back in the pack, Hulkenberg’s Haas sought to overtake the two Ferraris, which eventually regained their initial positions.

In a lightning start, Verstappen’s Red Bull took the lead, opening up an impressive gap in the early laps (2.5 seconds on the 3rd lap). In the rear, the Scuderia Ferrari cars, with an aggressive Russell, were not fast enough to hold off the Englishman. Mercedes held back Sainz and Leclerc (2 seconds), before Leclerc regained the upper hand on the 10th lap.

After the first pit stops, Lando Norris took the lead in Shanghai, closely followed by Charles Leclerc after the Red Bulls’ stops on the 14th lap. Alpine suffered a setback with a poor pit stop for Pierre Gasly, relegating him to 20th position.

Drama in Shanghai

The retirement of Bottas’ Sauber on the 21st lap changed the dynamics of the Shanghai Grand Prix, “the engine blew” according to Valtteri via his radio before parking his car at the side of the track.
The deployment of the virtual safety car following a yellow flag provided an opportunity for Ferrari to fit new tires for Leclerc, who emerged behind Fernando (5th, 22nd lap). McLaren did the same with Lando Norris, who opted for hard tires, putting him out of the paddock in 3rd position on the 23rd lap.
Christian Horner seized the opportunity to bring his two drivers into the pits as well (24th lap) to fit new tires. The misunderstanding of the day is attributed to the Aston Martin team, which opted for soft tires for Alonso. This strategy proved particularly risky and did not pay off over the following laps  as the former world champion struggled to gain speed and grip.
Then, the safety car entered (27th lap) and the green flag was waved, restarting the race. Meanwhile, Max Verstappen redoubled his efforts with his Red Bull, once again widening the gap, while chaos reigned at the bottom of the standings. Lance Stroll collided with Ricciardo, while Yuki was bumped by Magnussen, who lost a tire due to a puncture, leading to another yellow flag and this time, the safety car made its return. It took until the 32nd lap to return to a normal rhythm.

Red Bull Double

In the final phase of the race in Shanghai, the top of the standings remained stable, with the top 5 unchanged. On the 38th lap, Perez overtook Leclerc for 3rd place, and the Mexican driver chased Lando Norris. In vain, as the British driver delivered a spectacular, faultless race, casting doubt on a possible recruitment by Red Bull, also closely followed by Mercedes.
The end of the race was dominated by Fernando Alonso, who eventually switched to medium tires, coming out in 11th place. This didn’t stop him from overtaking his opponents, finishing 7th and in the points for Aston Martin and setting the fastest lap.
Max won his very first race of the season after securing the team’s 100th pole position this weekend in China, followed by Lando Norris, still in search of his first Formula 1 victory. Sergio Perez took 3rd place.

See you soon for the Miami Grand Prix.