Verstappen wins incident-packed 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix

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Verstappen wins incident-packed 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix

The first Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in five years got underway on Sunday at the Shanghai International Circuit. It was an incident-filled event with the top order changing frequently, but in the end Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was able to cement another victory.

He was followed by McLaren’s Norris in second, close to 14 seconds behind, and fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in third, some 19 seconds behind. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five.

Verstappen started on pole, and despite a strong challenge from Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was comfortably in the lead with a 10-second gap in the early phases of the race, which served as round five of the 2024 season. However, Verstappen’s gap would be erased by two consecutive safety car periods near the halfway point.

Initially, there were was a virtual safety car called after Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas came to a stop due to power unit troubles. It then changed to the actual safety car after it was determined Bottas would need to retire. Verstappen and Perez changed tires at this point and Verstappen managed to hold his lead spot after the restart on lap 26.

2024 Formula 1 Shanghai Grand Prix

2024 Formula 1 Shanghai Grand Prix

Further back, there was drama as Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll ran into the rear of RB’s Daniel Ricciardo after the Australian needed to brake hard to avoid running into fellow Australian Piastri ahead. Both were able to continue but Stroll was given a 10-second penalty and two penalty points on his licence for the incident.

Just a handful of corners later, RB’s Yuki Tsunoda was hit by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, requiring the safety car to be deployed again. Magnussen would also receive a 10-second penalty this time. Ricciardo would eventually be forced to retire and was later given a three-place grid drop for the upcoming Miami Grand Prix, plus two penalty points on his licence, for overtaking Hulkenberg during the safety car period.

Following the second restart at the end of lap 31, Verstappen comfortably pulled away from the pack, with Norris behind followed by Leclerc. Verstappen continued to build a gap and shortly later was able to cruise all the way to victory. Perez was behind the trio but was able overtake Leclerc who was on a one-stop strategy and saw his tires fading at this point.

Following the weekend’s action, Verstappen leads the 2024 Drivers’ Championship with 110 points. Perez is second with 85 points, and Leclerc is third with 76 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 195 points, versus the 151 of Ferrari and 96 of McLaren. The next race on the calendar is the Miami Grand Prix in two weeks.

2024 Formula 1 Shanghai Grand Prix

2024 Formula 1 Shanghai Grand Prix