Ferrari’s battle against McLaren’s pace in Shanghai

Ferrari’s battle against McLaren’s pace in Shanghai

The writing was on the wall in qualifying when both McLarens finished ahead of the Ferraris, and yet the McLarens weren’t even in the Top 3.

Naturally, Charles is the dreaded “Graduate”, the hope for first place on the grid. If he’s not on pole, you’d expect to see Charles on the grid at first, but he often finds himself on the grid. China is the third Grand Prix in a row that Charles has not dominated in qualifying and Verstappen stole his qualifying title.

Lando Norris, on the other hand, has a better experience with his McLaren. He was 5th behind Charles 4 in Tokyo but beat Ferrari there in qualifying. However, Landon is still afraid of the two galloping horses of Leclerc and Sainz because he was sure that Ferrari would beat him in Shanghai. Indeed, Norris, who started fourth with two Ferraris behind him, was certain that he would fall prey to the Scuderia’s red aces.
This is not the case, we will see why.

Great Verstappen

So, in this exciting and extreme Chinese Grand Prix, it was Max Verstappen who took the victory from the extreme position, going through the minefield of incidents and bold passes. His victory was his fourth from five races this season, cementing his dominance in the championship race.

Verstappen timed the race with precision, maintaining his composure amid the chaos as the Shanghai International Circuit saw plenty of strategic maneuvering and unexpected twists and turns. With the virtual safety car intervening with two full safety cars covering the race, Verstappen was steady at the wheel, ensuring he stayed at the front of the field.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris emerged as a surprise contender, employing a pit stop strategy alongside Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Taking the opportunity presented by the Virtual Safety Car and Safety Car Phases, Norris made the most of his position to fight his way up to second place, a position he defended strongly until he reached the checkered flag. Norris and McLaren defied expectations, including their own, with a strong performance.

Despite tire problems late in the race, Leclerc and Sainz took fourth and fifth places respectively. But the question now is whether McLaren has overtaken Ferrari and is the new force to be feared.

Leclerc has a new big competitor with McLaren

Charles Leclerc was reportedly surprised by Ferrari’s unexpected tire problems during the Chinese Grand Prix, which saw the team finish P4 and P5. Despite a difficult start that saw Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz drop to the bottom of the top 10, they battled their way back into contention, only to encounter more obstacles as the race progressed.

By opting for a medium to hard one-stop strategy, Ferrari found themselves at odds with McLaren’s impressive performance on the hard tyre. The intervention of several car safety periods made matters more difficult, leveling the field and preventing Ferrari’s earlier advantage in tire management.

Reflecting on the race, Leclerc is said to have admitted to being surprised by McLaren’s superior speed compared to Ferrari, especially on hard tyres. Sainz echoed that sentiment, acknowledging McLaren’s excellent performance throughout the weekend and the challenges Ferrari faced from the start of being overtaken on the first lap.

So despite their efforts, Ferrari could only manage P4 and P5, with Sainz admitting that P5 was the best they could get due to the conditions. The result leaves Ferrari 44 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings, highlighting the uphill battle they face in the championship race.

Leclerc is third in the drivers’ standings, 9 points behind Perez and 34 points behind leader Verstappen.

Race results

1: Max Verstappen; Red Bull
2: Lando Norris; McLaren
3: Sergio PĂ©rez; Red Bull
4: Charles Leclerc; Ferrari
5: Carlos Sainz; Ferrari

Next stop: Miami