Five things F1 Learned: China

After a poor opener in Australia, the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix delivered a cracker of a race. Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious but there are five bigger points to arise from across the weekend.


In amongst the fun, just what did we learn from Shanghai?


  1. Super Max


After an engine misfire landed Max Verstappen down the grid, he showed why he is one of the best young talents around.


Starting down in 16th place, the young Dutchman took advantage of the mixed start conditions to climb up into the podium mix.


Once the track dried enough for slicks, he made a double super soft strategy work and forced those ahead to switch from a one stop to a two stop.


With ineffective DRS, Verstappen pulled off some impressive overtakes before defending aggressively late on to take his first Chinese podium.


2. Inconsistent stewarding


The stewards’ decisions are questionable at best today.


Sebastian Vettel didn’t line up in his box properly and should of been a slam dunk penalty. He might of not successfully made his error count but if there ever was a sure penalty, it was this one.


Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll’s collision is somewhat debatable because there was plenty of racing room. Perez however shouldn’t of come across too close for them to touch and dump Stroll’s Williams into the gravel.


The investigations for Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen amongst others saw appropriate penalties applied.


3. Fierce Alonso


McLaren Honda might have a poor car but Fernando Alonso outdrove that car today.


Whilst Stoffel Vandoorne struggled at the rear of field, Alonso outdrove the car’s ability and looked set for a comfortable points finish, prior to a technical failure.


With him at the wheel, perhaps this season won’t be as bad as initially feared. Reliability however is questionable and could prevent the Spaniard from maximising his potential to bring points home.


4. Disappointment for Giovinazzi


After a impressive debut weekend last time out, Sauber’s Antonio Giovinazzi fell back to earth with a thud.


Qualifying saw him get out of Q1 but a crash prevented him from starting the next stage. A gearbox penalty followed putting him down to 18th on the grid.


His race didn’t get better after being caught out by water under the bridge, when trying to switch to the left side on lap four.


This is a normal mistake for rookies to make as Jolyon Palmer found out last year in Monaco. The key thing is to move on and learn from the mistakes made here for future races.


If he gets a call up for Bahrain next weekend, expect him to bounce back from this disastrous round and prove why he is one for the future.


5. Plan B needed?


Is contingency plans now needed after the weekend’s schedule was thrown into question, early on?


Friday practice saw just 25 minutes of wet running in the first session before an abandoned second practice saw concerns raised about race day.


Drivers and teams then queried whether the race could of been ran on the Saturday, after weather forecasts suggested a repeat on race day.


Luckily, the weather was decent come race time after a wet morning. The whole debacle has however raised questions over whether a plan B is needed in event of bad weather.


This is a question that the FIA and F1 will need to ask themselves in wake of a potential nightmare having stared them in the face.

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