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CHINESE GP: VERSTAPPEN UNMATCHED, MCLAREN ON TOP, FERRARI STRUGGLES



Max Verstappen enchanted Shanghai with a stunning performance this weekend. Securing victory in the Sprint race and pole position in qualifying, he dominated the Grand Prix masterfully. If we want to be precise, there was a slight hiccup in the Q3 of the Sprint qualifying, with rain relegating him to "only" fourth place. However, for the rest, it was a perfect weekend for Verstappen and the Red Bull team, showcasing great skill in finding the right setup for the RB20 in every situation except rain. As previously highlighted in the Japanese GP, Red Bull quickly recovered from the setback in Melbourne, bringing their total victories to four out of five Grand Prix races. That's what we call dominance.


Compared to previous races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, Red Bull failed to achieve a one-two finish. Sergio Perez was overtaken at the start by a brilliant Fernando Alonso, and although he regained the position, he was unfortunate with the second pit-stop, which happened under virtual safety-car conditions, penalizing him. Despite finishing third, Perez couldn't catch Lando Norris but still brought home crucial points for himself and the team in the constructors' standings. Perez has shown increasing solidity and team orientation in 2024, abandoning individual ambitions to challenge Verstappen for the championship, an approach that had mentally hindered him in previous seasons.


Lando Norris, the pole-sitter in the wet Sprint qualifying, made an error in the same race, dropping to seventh position, but managed to climb back to second during the race. The McLaren-Mercedes maintained a consistent pace, without needing additional tire changes, allowing Norris to secure his second podium of 2024. On the contrary, Oscar Piastri had less luck, with damage to his MCL38 affecting his performance.


Ferrari's team principal, Frederic Vasseur, was not satisfied with the performance of the SF-24. Despite an uncertain qualifying with sixth and seventh positions, they hoped to gain ground over the long distance. However, McLaren proved to be a tougher opponent than expected, with Charles Leclerc fighting to maintain fourth place, while Carlos Sainz finished fifth.


George Russell's Mercedes finished sixth, with Lewis Hamilton struggling to climb from 18th to ninth place. It was another disappointment for Toto Wolff's team, already reeling from a poor performance in Suzuka. Despite a strong qualifying in the rain, Hamilton couldn't replicate the performance in the Grand Prix.


Fernando Alonso jumped to second place at the start but slipped to seventh at the finish due to suboptimal pit-stop strategies. Lance Stroll caused a safety-car incident with Daniel Ricciardo, compromising both their races.


Nico Hulkenberg secured a valuable point for Haas-Ferrari, while Esteban Ocon brought some brightness to the Alpine team with their best result of the season. Chinese fans celebrated Guan Yu Zhou, even though his result was in the back of the pack.




© Cavalieri Garage & Co.

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