Formula 1 - 2024 China Sprint Race Recap

BY Sean Loo

Saturday at the Shanghai International Circuit saw Red Bull’s Max Verstappen reclaim his place with a masterful victory in the Sprint race.

It was quite the spectacle, with Verstappen elegantly climbing the ranks over 19 laps, leaving his rivals clearly behind.

This year's revised format meant that Friday’s Sprint Qualifying dictated the grid for this 100km dash, dishing out points to the top eight finishers.

Norris had initially grabbed pole in a dramatic, rain-affected session, closely followed by a trio of world champions - Hamilton, Alonso, and Verstappen - boasting an impressive twelve world titles among them.

As race day dawned with significantly better conditions, it was revealed that most opted for medium compound tyres, save for Russell, who went for broke on the softer option.

The race start was electrifying: Hamilton bolted superbly, challenging Norris through the sweeping turns, with Norris sliding wide and tumbling down the order in a heart-stopping moment.

Hamilton initially took the lead, followed closely by Alonso and Verstappen. However, Verstappen, after a brief moment of concern over a battery issue that saw him fall back, recalibrated and mounted a formidable challenge.

He soon overtook Alonso and set his sights on Hamilton, who was struggling with handling in the low-speed corners.

Verstappen’s relentless pursuit paid off when Hamilton, grappling with his car's limitations, ran wide, allowing Verstappen to narrow the gap and eventually overtake.

From there, Verstappen stretched his legs, showcasing the RB20’s prowess in clean air and clocking lap times that left the competition trailing.

The final laps were nothing short of a melee for the third spot, with Alonso, Sainz, Perez, Leclerc, and Norris embroiled in a taut battle.

Alonso’s puncture dropped him out of contention, while Sainz and Leclerc’s tussle saw the former momentarily take the lead before a daring move by Perez at Turn 8 pushed him ahead.

In the end, Verstappen soared past the chequered flag, followed by Hamilton and a hard-fought third place for Perez. Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, and a persistent Piastri, along with Russell, who made his tyre strategy work wonders, captured the remaining points.

As for the home crowd hero, Zhou Guanyu, despite a compromised start, he had to settle for ninth, just shy of the points, concluding his debut race on home soil amid cheers and spirited support.

Photo credits: Formula One