Max Verstappen controlled it well despite re-starts in F1 Chinese GP, as Lando Norris did well in second from Sergio Perez.

It was a clean start in F1 Chinese GP for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen from pole as he maintained his lead from Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who braved it on the outside to clear Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and maintain position for several laps.

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri stationed in fourth and fifth, but Mercedes’ George Russell cleared the Ferraris to be sixth. In fact, both the Ferrari cars dropped behind Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg to be eighth and ninth.

But both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz made a quick work of Hulkenberg to be seventh and eighth, as the German then lost ninth to Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. Replays showed that the Canadian nearly forced the German off the track but the move was not noted.

The stewards, however, put Williams’ Alexander Albon under investigation for forcing Alpine’s Pierre Gasly off at the hairpin. At the front, meanwhile, Verstappen started to stretch out as Alonso eventually let Perez through for second.

The Spaniard’s early pace came undone when he was passed by Norris for third. Just behind them, Leclerc was on the move after passing both Russell and Piastri to be fifth. With Alonso pitting, it released him to push to catch Norris for third.

The pit stop mania started after Hulkenberg’s move, with Red Bull even doing a double stack. A pit stop for Gasly ended any chance of fighting for points as a race mechanic fell when the car was dropped from the jacks despite not completing the stop.

The mechanic was fine as per the radio. The pit stop jumbled up the grid with Red Bull leading 1-2, while Norris had Leclerc to defend from with a margin at hand. The retirement for Bottas did spice up the race after they had double yellow, VSC and then full SC.

Leclerc initially gained to pit under VSC but an extended VSC allowed Norris to pit too. With the marshals unable to clear the car, the full SC was deployed which gave a chance for others to pit as Red Bull once again went for a double stack.

While Verstappen maintained the F1 Chinese GP lead, Norris and Leclerc slotted in second and third with Perez dropping to fourth from Sainz, Alonso, Russell, Piastri, Visa Cash App RB’s Daniel Ricciardo and Stroll in the Top 10 points position.

The re-start was well for drivers at the head of the field, with Alonso have a lock-up on the soft tyre. But behind him, his teammate Stroll ran onto the back of Ricciardo which causes floor damage to the Australian, while the Canadian had to pit.

There was a move for Alonso on Sainz for fifth, as Magnussen tried to go at Visa Cash App RB’s Yuki Tsunoda at Turn 6. But he did not have control and ran wide to spin the Japanese driver around, thereby ending his race with the Dane having to pit.

The safety car was deployed again as both Stroll and Magnussen were handed 10s time penalty for causing a collision. There was a 10s time penalty for Williams’ Logan Sargeant too after he was found to have overtaken Hulkenberg under the safety car.

It was marginal as Hulkenberg was exiting the pitlane and he crossed the safety car line first by just but Sargeant kept the position. The re-start, meanwhile, saw Verstappen lead comfortably from Norris, who also stretched out a lead on Leclerc.

The Monegasque had Perez and Alonso on his tail, with Sainz a bit far from Russell, Piastri, Hulkenberg and Hamilton in the Top 10. Ricciardo was forced to retire due to damage, joining his teammate to make it a double disaster for Visa Cash App RB team.

Both the Ferrari cars were struggling a touch as Leclerc lost third to Perez, while Sainz came under pressure from Russell for sixth. Even Piastri was under pressure to defend eighth place after having damage from Ricciardo hit under the safety car.

Hamilton was on his toes in ninth after passing Hulkenberg. Up ahead, Alonso decided to pit for medium tyres and dropped to 12th behind Albon but within eight laps, he managed to pass Albon, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Piastri to be seventh.

He then set off to catch Russell for sixth with about 11s to cover. At the front, Verstappen controlled the F1 Chinese GP to win by 13.773s margin over Norris, who had it under him to end up second ahead of Perez, Leclerc and Sainz in the Top 5.

Russell was sixth as Alonso came close to 4.690s margin and had to settle for seventh along with the fastest lap point ahead of Piastri, Hamilton and Hulkenberg in the Top 10 but the German is under investigation with Ocon under 5s on him in 11th.

Albon ended up 12th from Gasly, with Guanyu making up places to be 14th and getting recognised on the main straight after the race. Stroll was 15th with Magnussen in 16th and Sagreant 17th as the last of the finishers in the grand prix.

UPDATE: Stroll was left off in the Hulkenberg case of pushing the German off the track early in the race. Here:

The same happened for Albon who was alleged to have forced Gasly off. Here:

UPDATE 2: Ricciardo handed 3-place grid drop for overtaking Hulkenberg under the safety car. He deliberately did so because the German had overtaken him a lap before. However, the stewards determined that the Australian cannot do that and since he retired from the grand prix, his penalty will be served in the next race.


Alpine, meanwhile, were fined of €10,000 for an unsafe release where they mistakenly pressed the green light, even though the tyre was not fitted. A team member was lightly injured too but they realised quickly of the problem and acted upon it. However, the team remains responsible of the incident which is why they have been fined for it.


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