Verstappen wins Chinese Grand Prix sprint race

Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen won the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race on Saturday, 5e round of the season out of 24, contested on the Shanghai track.

Party of 4e place on the grid, the Dutchman was ahead of seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and his teammate at Red Bull, Mexican Sergio Pérez.

On the wind-swept Chinese track, pole-sitter Lando Norris did not resist the onslaught of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) for long: second on the starting grid, the seven-time world champion took control of this race of 19 laps from the first turn while Norris tumbled to 7e place after making a mistake.

Chased by Verstappen halfway through the race, Hamilton finally ceded the sprint lead to the Dutch ogre. “This is my best result in a long time! », Hamilton still rejoiced, acclaimed by the Chinese public. The Briton has not won a GP since the end of 2021.

The two Ferraris, that of the Monegasque Charles Leclerc ahead of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz complete the Top 5 of the race. Pole sitter Norris finally finished 6e of this sprint race, ahead of his teammate at McLaren, the Australian Oscar Piastri.

Qualifications for the GP to follow

Double world champion Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), third in the race with three laps remaining – but under threat from the Pérez-Leclerc-Sainz trio – lost everything after contact with Sainz to gain third place . The Spaniard had to give up.

Thanks to his victory, Verstappen recovers eight additional points in the championship and widens the gap with his pursuer Pérez. Fifteen points now separate the Dutchman from the Mexican.

The Chinese GP, returning to the F1 calendar after five years of absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the first of six rounds of the year to feature a sprint format, which changes the course of the week -end.

Thus, the drivers only completed one free practice session on Friday before qualifying which determined the grid for the sprint race.

Saturday afternoon, the drivers will compete in “classic” qualifying, which will determine the starting grid for Sunday’s GP.

On a circuit which significantly deteriorates the rubber, thus reducing grip, the Red Bull boss said before the start of the weekend that he expected Ferrari “to probably be [sa] closest competitor”, since the Italian team has been particularly successful on this type of surface in the past.

“We’re starting from a blank slate because we haven’t been here for five years, so we’ve never driven cars with ground effect”, dating from 2022, preferred to temper the boss of Ferrari, Frédéric Vasseur, interviewed Friday by AFP. Answer Sunday.

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