Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Conquers Another Circuit by Winning the Chinese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen added to his outstanding 2024 season by winning the Chinese Grand Prix in comfort, with second-place Lando Norris sitting over 13 seconds behind at the finish. The win in Shanghai brought his total to four on the year and 58 for his career. By taking the sprint race the previous day, Verstappen enjoyed a strong points haul – 25 for the GP and 8 for the sprint – pushing his lead in the standings to 25 points over teammate Sergio Perez (110-85).

“It felt amazing,” said Max Verstappen. “All weekend, I think we were incredibly quick. It was just enjoyable to drive every single [tire] compound as well.

“[The] restarts I think we survived that well. The car was basically on rails; I could do whatever I wanted to with it, and those kinds of weekends are, of course, amazing to feel. Then, to achieve what we did this weekend is fantastic.”

Norris started fourth but, by the mid-point, had worked himself up to second and held on from there, giving him 15 podiums for his career. Perez finished third after starting in second but being shuffled back at the start.

Charles Leclerc put together a solid race to finish fourth, maintaining a streak of finishing in the top four in every race this season. Teammate Carlos Sainz managed to take fifth after making his hard tires last the second half of the race.

George Russell used a strong start from eighth to finish sixth and bring a bit of a bright spot to what has been a dreary year for Mercedes thus far. Fernando Alonso started third and looked like a top five would be possible but he was unable to keep his Aston Martin up front and earned seventh on the day.

Oscar Piastri, even with diffuser damage sustained when Daniel Ricciardo popped him at the conclusion of a safety car period, still found a way to earn eighth. Lewis Hamilton, after a disastrous, by his standards, qualifying session that put him in 18th place, worked his way through the back half of the grid to cross the line in ninth.

Nico Hulkenberg added another valuable point to the Haas season total by grabbing the last points-paying position. 

The race began under what has seemingly become the norm, with Verstappen posting himself in the lead and then racing out to a sizable lead. This GP started no differently and Verstappen was out of DRS range (one-second gap) by the end of the first lap. The rest of the field made a  clean getaway, though Russell pipped the Ferraris.

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A scary moment came on lap 13 when Pierre Gasly pitted. His right rear tire was not fitted correctly and popped one of his pit crew on lap 13

The crew member was said to be fine, but the fact that the stewards did not penalize the team is a matter worth questioning.

A second instance of questionable officiating came when Valtteri Bottas parked his car on lap 21 after suffering a blown engine.

For reasons unknown to logic, track officials did not bring out the virtual safety car until lap 22, well after Bottas had already exited the car.

The ensuing yellow flag period brought much of the field in for tires and shuffled the running order, save for Verstappen holding the lead.

The green flag waved on lap 27, providing an entertaining restart, a combination of stellar driving at the front and calamity in the rear with Lance Stroll rear-ending Ricciardo to start.

This incident caused damage to the floor of Ricciardoʻs floor and diffuser and later forced him to park the car. Stroll found himself with a 10-second penalty for causing a collision, though he avoided the same penalty earlier in the race.

Also during the restart, Kevin Magnussen clipped Yuki Tsunoda, sending Tsunoda in a spin and out of the race with right rear damage. Magnussen also earned a 10-second penalty for his disappointing driving.

During the yellow-flag period, Logan Sargeant joined the 10-second penalty club for safety car infringement, something that looked benign and questionable as he seemed to pass Hulkenberg without issue, even under the safety car conditions.

The second safety car period ended on lap 31, with Verstappen again pulling away from the field. From there, the race returned to being a standard affair as Verstappen again showed his dominance while the midfield continued to trade positions in a fight for the scraps.

On a touching note, race organizers created a spot for Zhou Guanyu to park his car after finishing his first Chinese GP. Zhou was able to celebrate with the people of his country and offer his gratitude in an emotional moment.

2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix Results

Up next is the Miami Grand Prix in two weeks, May 5. Coverage will begin at 4 p.m. ET on ABC.

About the author

As a writer and editor, Ava anchors the Formula 1 coverage for the site, while working through many of its biggest columns. Ava earned a Masters in Sports Studies at UGA and a PhD in American Studies from UH-Mānoa. Her dissertation Chased Women, NASCAR Dads, and Southern Inhospitality: How NASCAR Exports The South is in the process of becoming a book.

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