Max Verstappen: “The first laps were difficult” / Formula 1

Max Verstappen: “The first laps were difficult” / Formula 1

With the long race victory, Max Verstappen was able to extend his championship lead. Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez were also happy, finishing second and third ahead of Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Lando Norris was allowed to start the race in Shanghai from pole, but after 19 laps Max Verstappen emerged victorious. Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Pérez completed the top three. The World Championship leader explained after reaching the finish: “The first few laps were very busy, the people in front increased the speed and I had to look at the people behind me who had started using new tyres.”

Hamilton explained: “This is the best result for a long time, so I’m very happy. Of course we didn’t have the speed to beat Red Bull Racing, but this is a big step forward. The race was tough and if I had been further back I probably would have had more trouble getting to the front. “But I learned a lot about the car in this short race and I’m excited to see how it runs on Sunday.”

The seven-time world champion also emphasized: “I think we are still not as fast in the same circuit as the Ferrari drivers, the Red Bull Racing drivers, the McLaren people are also ahead of us for safety, maybe the Aston Martin drivers too. But I don’t expect to be able to fight for the front row of the grid. But the good thing is that we can make adjustments, so I hope we can continue to improve the car.”

And Pérez said: “It was very difficult to pass Carlos and Fernando, who were fighting. The tires were very damaged because we were fighting. Sometimes I also had to defend against Charles. But then I had the opportunity to pass the people in front of me and I took advantage of that.”

Here’s how the sprint went:

After rain hit the final stage of qualifying in China, the GP stars were greeted by a dry Shanghai circuit on Saturday. Most drivers had opted for the medium compound, only George Russell, who started from 11th on the grid, was on the soft tyres. Like his teammate Lewis Hamilton and pole-holder Lando Norris, who were allowed to start from the front row, he started on new tyres.

Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, who were waiting for their place behind the first two, were on the grid on broken rubber. At the start everyone attacked in the same way and Norris was not the only one who had to admit defeat to Hamilton, who took the lead. Due to the trip, he fell back to seventh place behind Hamilton, Alonso, Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc.

Behind the pole sitter was teammate Oscar Piastri ahead of local hero Guanyu Zhou and Kevin Magnussen. Valtteri Bottas, George Russell, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll, Nico Hülkenberg, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant followed in the other positions.

Russell took eleventh place back from Bottas on the third lap and had a good duel with the Finn. Champion Verstappen had to fight a completely different battle, the Red Bull Racing star struggled with battery problems in the first few minutes and struggled to keep up with Alonso.

The controllers also had their hands full, keeping a close eye on the area between Hülkenberg and Stroll in the ninth corner of the first lap of the race, but refrained from issuing a penalty. Sauber drivers Zhou and Bottas were also targeted by race stewards because the Chinese were suspected of taking advantage by riding out at the sixth corner. But even so the administrators came to the conclusion that no punishment was necessary.

Verstappen leads

After five laps, Hamilton led the field with a lead of about 1.5 seconds over Alonso. Verstappen, who had revealed that he was able to solve his battery problems, continued to reduce his gap to the Spaniard. In lap 7, the Dutchman successfully attacked and took second place. Meanwhile, Hamilton complained about the handling of his Mercedes in slow corners.

Verstappen closed the gap on the leader with each lap and on the ninth lap he took the lead on the long straight – and therefore at the same stage where he had previously caught Alonso. As soon as the three-time champion was in the lead, he ran away. Russell was also able to work his way forward; The Brit in the second Mercedes was ninth on lap 12 and had Piastri in his sights.

It wasn’t just the young Australian who was under pressure, Alonso was also looking at his rear-view mirrors because there was a whole team of DRS rivals behind him. Sainz got closer and closer to his teammate, the Ferrari driver himself had his hands full because Pérez was breathing down his neck, who in turn had to avoid the attacks of Leclerc, who was driving behind him.

Sainz showed patience and managed to attack on lap 16. The laughing third was Pérez, who took over third place. Sainz was allowed to be upset because teammate Leclerc overtook him one lap later. The fight between the two Spaniards was harmless because the two touched each other while fighting for third place, the former champion had to go to the pit and eventually the team had to remove the car. The law enforcers noticed a fight between the two people.

There was also an incident between the Ferrari drivers at turn 14, where Sainz pushed Leclerc off the track. “There has to be a penalty,” said 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg. But regulators refrained from imposing penalties.

Things were calm at the front, with Verstappen winning by around 13 seconds over Hamilton and Pérez. Behind the fastest 3, Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, Piastri, Russell, Zhou and Magnussen crossed the finish line ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas, Ocon, Stroll, Gasly, Tsunoda, Albon, Sargeant and Hülkenberg.

Sprint, Shanghai International Circuit

01. Max Verstappen (NL), Red Bull Racing, 32:04,160 minutes
02. Lewis Hamilton (GB), Mercedes, +13,043 sec
03. Sergio Pérez (MEX), Red Bull Racing, +15,258
04. Charles Leclerc (MC), Ferrari, +17,486
05. Carlos Sainz (E), Ferrari, +20,696
06. Lando Norris (GB), McLaren, +22.099
07. Oscar Piastri (AUS), McLaren, +24.713
08. George Russell (GB), Mercedes, +25,696
09. Guanyu Zhou (RCH), Sauber, +31,951
10. Kevin Magnussen (DK), Haas, +37.398
11. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS), Racing Bull, +37,840
12. Valtteri Bottas (FIN), Sauber, +38.295
13. Esteban Ocon (F), Alpine, +39,841
14. Lance Stroll (CDN), Aston Martin, +40,299
15. Pierre Gasly (F), Alpine, +40,838
16. Yuki Tsunoda (J), Racing Bulls, +41,870
17. Alex Albon (T), Williams, +42,998
18. Logan Sargeant (USA), Williams, +46,352
19. Nico Hülkenberg (D), Haas, +49,630
Fernando Alonso (E), Aston Martin, tire damage

World Championship Position (after 4 out of 24 Grands Prix and 1 out of 6 Sprints)

the driver
01. Verstappen 85 points
02. Perez 72
03. Leclerc 64
04. Sainz 59
05. Norris 40
06. Plate 34
07. Russell 25
08. Alonso 24
09. Hamilton 17
10. Walk 7
11. Tsunoda 7
12. Oliver Bearman (GB) 6
13. Hulkenberg 3
14. Magnussen 1
15. Alboni 0
16. Zhou 0
17. Ricciardo 0
18. Okon 0
19. 0 gas
20. Bota 0
21. Sergeant 0

Builders Cup
01. Racing Red Bull 155 Punkte
Ferrari 129
03. McLaren 74
04. Mercedes 42
05. Aston Martin 33
Bull Racing 7
07. Especially 4
08. Williams 0
09. Sauber 0
10. Alpine 0