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F1: in China, Max Verstappen wins with mastery

Again and again him. Formula 1 world championship leader Max Verstappen won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, for the first F1 race in the country since 2019.

Starting on pole in front of full and heated stands for the return of the Chinese GP after five years of absence due to Covid-19, the Dutchman took his 58th victory in Shanghai in GP and the fourth of the season in five races (out of 24).

“The sensations were incredible (…), the car was on rails, I could do whatever I wanted,” rejoiced the three-time reigning world champion, who had never won in China.

The day before, the insatiable “Mad Max” had won the first of the six sprint races planned for this season.

Behind him, the McLaren of Lando Norris, which was not expected to perform as well this weekend, finished second, ahead of the other Red Bull of Mexican Sergio Pérez.

“I didn't expect that,” responded Norris, who concluded a good weekend after taking pole in the sprint race. “I was surprised by a lot of things – Ferrari's lack of pace, our good pace, us compared to Red Bull…”. His Australian teammate Oscar Piastri finished 8th.

The Ferraris, which were expected to be at the forefront in China, complete the Top 5 – the Monegasque Charles Leclerc having beaten the Spaniard Carlos Sainz.

– Cars of security –

F1: in China, Max Verstappen wins with mastery

Max Verstappen, at the wheel of his Red Bull, did not tremble on Sunday in China © AFP – HECTOR RETAMAL

For the fifth meeting of the season, the horizon was still very clear for “Mad Max” on this Sunday of racing.

He was never worried . Not even by the intervention of the safety car on the 24th lap (out of 56), after an engine problem on the Sauber of Finn Valtteri Bottas.

On the restart of the race, new incidents: the Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) hit the rear of the Racing Bulls of the Australian Daniel Ricciardo when, at the same time, the other Racing Bulls of the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda was hit by the Haas of Dane Kevin Magnussen, which necessitated another neutralization of the race.

Once the setbacks were over and the safety car returned to the garage, Verstappen resumed his takes off and wins with more than 13 seconds ahead of Norris.

The unstoppable Dutchman concluded an almost perfect weekend from an accounting point of view, since only the point for the best lap in the race escaped him. This went to double world champion Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), 7th in the GP.

In the drivers' championship, Verstappen now has a lead of 25 points over his dolphin Pérez.

– Best for Alpine –

Acclaimed by his audience since the start of the weekend, Zhou Guanyu finished 14th in his Sauber. Very emotional upon arrival, the Shanghai native, arriving in the elite in 2022, is the first Chinese in history to compete in Formula 1 in China.

The Briton Lewis Hamilton, who was also favored by the public in each of his appearances, crossed the line 9th after starting from a very distant 18th place under the eyes of former Chinese basketball star Yao Ming. The seven-time world champion, in trouble at the start of the race at the wheel of his Mercedes, still holds the record for F1 victories in Shanghai (six).

F1: in China, Max Verstappen wins with mastery

Esteban Ocon on Sunday, before the start of the Chinese Grand Prix © AFP – PEDRO PARDO

Among the French, Esteban Ocon failed to reach the points with his Alpine. Eleventh in the race – the team's best result this season – the Normand arrived in China with a new chassis and a new flat bottom, improvements intended to lift the French team from the bottom of the rankings.

Ocon could however benefit from a possible penalty from the German Nico Hulkenberg, 10th and under investigation. A decision is expected during the day.

His Alpine teammate and compatriot Pierre Gasly, who has not yet benefited from these improvements, finished 13th. However, the Frenchman is also under investigation after an incident during a pit stop.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116