Verstappen Dominates in Another Victory, Red Bull Mechanics Shine, Norris Takes Second Place

Another victory for Verstappen, a concert of mechanics in the pits, second place for Lando Norris. But also the double DNF of the RB team and the inattention of Lance Stroll.

The winners

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Sergio Pérez reached the podium.

The winners

  • Max Verstappen a Red Bull
  • Red Bull mechanics
  • Lando Norris
  • Nico Hülkenberg

Continued 2 / 11

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen drove for another victory. Due to an earlier pit stop, he dropped to third place, but managed to get ahead of Leclerc and Norris without any problems. If you have a fast car, you don’t have to take risks (which we saw in China with some drivers) and you can afford the luxury of patience.

Verstappen’s shootout on the wet track didn’t work out. But he managed to get to the first place in the sprint. Alonso’s slightly unconventional strategy deprived him of a point for the fastest lap of the race. Otherwise, he would get the maximum number of points.


Foto: Getty Images / Mark Thompson

Continued 3 / 11

Red Bull mechanics

We have to give the mechanics of Red Bull separately. Their work did not have that much of an impact on the outcome of the race, but they still did an incredible job. Already in Japan, Red Bull’s four stops were the four fastest stops in the race. But in China they perfected it.

Red Bull could afford a double stop thanks to the greater distance between the drivers, and even twice at the same time. Again, these were the four fastest stops (out of a total of 39 stops).

Verstappen was always the first to enter the pits. Perez followed. On lap 13, the stops lasted 2.18 and 2.0 seconds. Ten laps later, 1.90 and 2.05 seconds. In addition, three of these four stops are the three fastest stops of this season! The fastest of the rest were the Ferrari mechanics in Australia. They passed Leclerc in 2.18 seconds, the 10th fastest stop of the season today.

Continued 4 / 11

Lando Norris

McLaren should have done worse than Ferrari in China. But in the end it was the other way around. Lando Norris showed himself already in the shootout, which he won. The sprint didn’t work out for him after a mistake at the start, but he still got three points in it.

Norris was fourth in qualifying. He was then lucky to have a virtual safety car, thanks to which he (together with Leclerc) could make a pit stop. Subsequently, he was able to stay ahead of Pérez until the finish line.

Norris was helped to a great extent by Leclerc. It took Pérez eight laps to overtake Leclerc. During them, he apparently flattened his tires. Then he could no longer overtake Norris. After overtaking Leclerc, the loss to Norris was 5.6 seconds and at the finish it was practically the same. But we don’t want to detract from the merits of Norris, whose pace was great.

From the restart to the finish, Norris was on average 0.5 seconds slower than Verstappen but at the same time 0.35 seconds faster than Leclerc.


Foto: Getty Images / Lars Baron

Continued 5 / 11

Nico Hülkenberg

Nico Hülkenberg is reportedly on Audi’s list. In China, he was able to score this year’s third points. A point is worth its weight in gold for the teams in the bottom five because it can decide. In the case of Haas, it increases the lead over the three teams that have not scored this year, while at the same time keeping them in the game for sixth place – the best position from the second five.

Hülkenberg was successful in qualifying, where he finished ninth on the grid. He was then helped by a collision between Stroll and Ricciardo.


Foto: Getty Images / Lars Baron

Continued 6 / 11

Losers

Daniel Ricciardo (retirement, consequences of collision), Cunoda (collision) and Bottas (engine) did not finish the race.

Losers

Sequel to 7/11

Sergio Perez

Pérez finished “up to” third. In his case, it was a combination of circumstances. After the start, Alonso got in front of him, who of course braked him. Before the first pit stops, he had a loss of almost 10 seconds on Verstappen. He “gained” half of it in the opening four laps behind Alonso. Because of this, he dropped more places than Verstappen after the stop. Then came the safety cars. After them, he got ahead of Leclerc, but no longer ahead of Norris.

Third place is still solid. He took home 21 points from China, which was more than Leclerc, who is now third in the championship.


Foto: Getty Images / Lars Baron

Continued 8 / 11

Ferrari

Ferrari did not get the maximum possible for the first time this year. In the previous two races, the Ferrari drivers either won a double or finished right behind the Red Bull drivers. This time they were beaten by Norris and none of the Ferrari drivers made it to the podium for the first time.

But overall it wasn’t too bad. Ferrari took home 31 points from China, which is more than McLaren.

We put Ferrari among the losers mainly because of unfulfilled expectations. They should have clearly been closer to McLaren and Red Bull in China. However, Norris was faster in the race and the reds, as usual, did not even qualify. After the start, they also fought with each other.


Foto: Getty Images /  Peter Fox

Sequel to 9/11

Racing Bulls

Team RB lost both cars within seconds (although Ricciardo did not formally retire until later). Cunoda collided with Magnussen, Ricciardo collided with Stroll before the restart.

For Ricciardo in particular, the weekend was going relatively well up to that point. He finished 12th in qualifying, beating Cunoda. He also did quite well in the race.

Ricciardo said before the race that he felt good in the car after receiving the new chassis. But for now, according to him, it is premature to say that it is just a change of the chassis.

As if that wasn’t enough, Ricciardo was penalized after the race. He drops three places in Miami for overtaking under SC. He thought he could get back ahead of Hülkenberg, who passed him in a collision with Stroll.

It’s paradoxical, because it’s a bigger penalty than what Stroll got for the collision.


Foto: Getty Images / Lars Baron

Continued 10 / 11

Fernando Alonso (?)

If you start third and finish seventh, you cannot be considered a winner. Aston Martin doesn’t have the car to compete with Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. It’s on par with Mercedes. So if Alonso beats at least one Mercedes driver and finishes behind the first three teams, it can be considered a success. Alonso managed to pass Piastri, who had a damaged car.

Alonso fitted the soft tire for the third stint. Towards the end of the race, he had to pit again, because he would not have reached the finish line from the 23rd lap on soft. Mercedes, McLaren and RB drivers had only one hard compound before the race. The RB drivers finished the race, Norris extended the first stint and pitted only once. After medium, Piastri applied medium once more and then hard. Alonso built after the 11th lap and put on a hard one. Then he switched to soft shoes.

At the end of the race, Alonso made a chase and managed to catch a skid after a trip to the gravel zone at the last corner (which sent Sainz into the barrier a day earlier). In addition, he received a point for the fastest lap of the race. But he didn’t have time to overtake Russell and it is quite likely that he would have beaten Russell with a different strategy – he was ahead of him before the second stops. That’s why Alonso is our loser but with a question mark.

Continued 11 / 11

Lance Stroll a Aston Martin

Mercedes didn’t exactly have a good weekend in China (but when did they), but they still manage to take more points than Aston Martin – 18 versus 7 to be exact.

If Lance Stroll wasn’t the owner’s son, he’d probably be gone a long time ago. If Aston Martin wants to fight Mercedes for fourth place, it needs two drivers.

Stroll made a schoolboy mistake before the restart. He didn’t follow the cars in front of him and hit Ricciardo hard. Probably no need to add more…


Foto: Getty Images /  Clive Mason

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