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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Motorsports / Formula 1 News / Formula 1, Round 5: The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

Formula 1, Round 5: The 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

Publish Date: 04/18/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
The 2017 Chinese Grand Prix: F1 fans at Formula One Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai Circuit.

Heading Back to China

Would you believe it’s been a whole five years since the Formula 1 circus last rolled into China? In fact, last year we were saddened by the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix so we went back down memory lane and discussed some of the most iconic Chinese Grand Prix moments.

So much has gone down since Lewis Hamilton took the checkered flag, from him racking up two more world titles to Max Verstappen’s triumphant three-peat. And don’t even get me started on the team shuffles and retirements – Racing Point’s now Aston Martin, Renault’s become Alpine, and Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel have hung up their helmets (while Fernando Alonso’s made a comeback!).

This time around, we’ve got some fresh faces gearing up for the Shanghai showdown. Think Oscar Piastri, Yuki Tsunoda, and Logan Sargeant, all ready to tackle the track for the first time. But the real spotlight’s on Zhou Guanyu, making history as the first Chinese driver to compete in Formula 1. After waiting patiently since his debut in 2022, he’s finally getting his shot at racing in front of a home crowd, and it’s shaping up to be one epic weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit.

And let’s not forget – it’s also the kickoff for the Sprint weekends of the season, adding an extra layer of excitement to an already thrilling event.

The Red Bull vs. Ferrari Showdown

Red Bull’s been a force to be reckoned with under the current rules, but Suzuka seems to be their playground. Last year, they dominated, and while they still looked strong this time around, the competition’s definitely closing in. The gap between Max Verstappen in pole position and Oscar Piastri in second last year was about the same as the gap covering the top seven cars this year – talk about tightening up the field!

And who would’ve thought McLaren would outshine Ferrari in qualifying? Lando Norris laid down an impressive lap, but in the race, Ferrari showed they’ve got some fight left in them. Heading to Shanghai, a track that plays to Ferrari’s strengths, could mix things up even more.

Mercedes on the Hunt

Japan was a rollercoaster for Mercedes. Hamilton was feeling good during practice, but race day didn’t go as planned, leaving him in ninth place with a combination of some damage and bad strategy, whilst Hamilton’s team mate finished in P7 . The team’s scratching their heads, trying to figure out why they’re not seeing the expected performance gains. But there’s a glimmer of hope – they’re hitting their downforce targets, which means the potential’s there, they just need to unlock it.

By the weekend’s close, Toto Wolff acknowledged that Mercedes is undergoing a “rebuilding phase,” grappling with the puzzle of why the car isn’t delivering the anticipated improvements in lap times. This revelation coincided with Mercedes realizing that the car is generating the desired downforce figures on the track, but failing to translate that into performance.

F1 Sprint is Back!

Whether you like it or notΒ  (I’m not a fan), get ready for some high-speed action because the F1 Sprint is making its return for the 2024 season. The 100km dash is set to kick off at the Chinese Grand Prix before hitting Miami, Austria, Austin, Brazil, and Qatar. It’s all about speed and aggression, with no pit stops unless disaster strikes. And with points up for grabs for the top eight finishers, every lap counts.

But that’s not all – the Sprint weekends shake up the usual schedule, with a Sprint Qualifying session replacing FP2 on Fridays and the Sprint itself taking the place of FP3 on Saturdays. It’s a sprint to the finish, with drivers and teams battling it out for extra points and bragging rights.

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