Winners and losers from F1’s 2024 Chinese Grand Prix

The inaugural Chinese Grand Prix might have featured a runaway winner – just as its sprint race counterpart had a day earlier – but that doesn’t mean the first Formula 1 race weekend in Shanghai since five years was a failure.

Here’s our pick of those who should be most satisfied and a slightly more substantial list of those reflecting on a disappointing weekend.


Lando Norris

Sublime driving crushing the pain of sprinting – and showing, perhaps for the first time this season, that McLaren can actually live up to those lofty pre-season expectations.

Oscar Piastri’s damage swelled the gap between the two cars at the end, but Norris really had his act all weekend racing anyway, extending stints wonderfully to set up a finish in which he wasn’t even really threatened by two nominally faster cars. behind him.

No wonder Red Bull’s Helmut Marko refuses to give up on the idea of ​​one day having it in the car. – Valentin Khorounzhiy

Max Verstappen

Another imperious overtake from Max Verstappen, but which had the added benefit of accentuating the difference it makes in a dominant but not impervious Red Bull.

This exists firmly in the realm of the hypothetical, but you get the feeling Verstappen would have done what Sergio Perez couldn’t after that mid-race stop that didn’t favor Red Bull had he been instead of Perez.

The proof that Verstappen, unlike Perez, was always going to finish ahead of all rival cars was present in his qualifying performance, in the ease with which fourth place in the sprint became first place in the sprint and in his pace compared to Perez . even once his teammate had re-overtaken Fernando Alonso during this first stint.

The Red Bull RB20 was always going to win a huge number of races, regardless of the established/proven driver behind the wheel. But Verstappen allows Red Bull, again and again, to win with that extra layer of comfort, even when race circumstances throw a wrench in the works. – V.K.

Nico Hulkenberg

“Good job guys. Solid race. Not very spectacular but yeah, better one (point) than nothing, right?”

A point is definitely better than nothing right now for Hülkenberg and Haas in an F1 midfield that, aside from the Australian GP, ​​has been starved of scoring opportunities so far in 2024.

It also makes for a much more impressive start than expected for a team many thought was still drifting to the back of the pack at this point in the year. Instead, he scored in three of the five grands prix – just like Hülkenberg, who has only managed this once all season in 2023.

Haas may have been a little disappointed not to make it to the final part of sprint qualifying on Friday, but given there were no points on offer for the midfielder in this race he had a chance to resetting for the qualifiers proper and the main event.

The team and Hülkenberg made the most of it – Hülkenberg welcomed the change to the parc ferme rules which are part of this year’s sprint weekend format changes – a second chance by ensuring they were the first to pick up whatever was on offer if anyone among the ‘big’ five got into trouble. – Jack Cozens


Daniel Ricciardo

It was a very good weekend for Ricciardo, but even before Lance Stroll’s calamitous collision which he said “ruined” his race, it was already looking like a losing battle.

RB clearly didn’t have the pace to be a points car on merit this weekend – the only chance it would have been something like, well, that Ricciardo/Stroll crash. But even if it happened to anyone else, Ricciardo stood there on that restart on worn medium tires against a chasing group on fresher, harder tires.

However, it was all hardly his fault, and the important takeaway is that at every stage he was ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda this weekend – even though he had nothing to show for it. in the results column. or the championship ranking.

He’s also already compromised his Miami GP weekend with a very understandable penalty for overtaking Nico Hulkenberg under the safety car – although that means he was effectively punished far more for his relatively minor missteps than Stroll was only responsible for eliminating him from the race. . – V.K.

Lance’s Walk

An uneven weekend that denied redemption due to a clumsy mistake that sparked understandable anger from Ricciardo.

Stroll’s crew makes it clear what happened, and their lack of contrition for their role in the restart accident will deny them the grace that the particular nature of the accident perhaps warrants.

He was going to score points anyway, but in hindsight it’s more of an indictment than an excuse, after two qualifying sessions over the weekend in which he exited in Q2 while his teammate Fernando Alonso was dragging the car near the front of the gate. . – V.K.


Ferrari’s weekend is probably the most memorable for its two drivers who collided several times – as well as for Carlos Sainz’s crash and comeback in qualifying on Saturday – but behind it all lies a disappointing performance that dramas specific were not enough to excuse.

Leclerc’s Chinese GP looked set to come alive in a spirited start to his first stint, but he didn’t have the measure of Lando Norris’ McLaren and couldn’t capitalize on the ‘extra’ gun of Sergio Perez as Norris did. .

“It just wasn’t a very good weekend for us as a team,” summed up Sainz, who continued to give Leclerc a hard time on a lap in Shanghai but looked clearly second in the race .

“We just weren’t strong enough as a team.” – V.K.

Fernando Alonso

Seven more points, including a fastest lap for Alonso, for an Aston Martin team that he says “we see every Sunday that we are the fifth fastest team.”

So why the entry of the losers? Simply put, there was a lot more on offer this weekend.

Of course, his exit from the sprint race was an unfortunate consequence of his nevertheless robust attempt to come back ahead of Carlos Sainz for third place in the sprint, and Alonso might well have been just as direct in private as he was in public about the insignificance of points. he lost there. After all, he wants more than what he’s fighting for right now.

But that still represented a decent points haul that was begging, and that’s before we get into Aston’s strategy around safety car pit stops at the grand prix. This makes more sense now that Alonso has had a chance to explain it – he simply didn’t have another set of hard tires – but does going for the mediums first instead of the soft ones would have allowed him to go to the end given the second intervention of the safety car which followed?

His return to seventh was entertaining, and Alonso seems quite happy with that considering Aston’s situation. But Mercedes are there to take and at the moment Aston – who, it must be said, are more hampered by the other car’s insufficient performance – are not making the most of this opportunity. – J.C.


Another race weekend in which Sauber looked a marginal points contender – perhaps even better than that at times – ends with its potential so clearly untapped.

Valtteri Bottas was probably going to find himself just outside the points if the race proceeded normally without his engine dying – but, once again, he was unable to capitalize on the misfortune of others because his misfortune and that of of his team came first.

At least it wasn’t the pit stops this time, but Sauber has now fallen to last in the constructors’ standings, with Williams and Alpine also having no points but leading the best tie-break result.

It’s a bit of a glimmer of hope – but also a bit of insult added to injury – that the Sauber is clearly better than both of those cars. – V.K.

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