Well the dust is yet to settle after an explosive Bahrain Grand Prix but we’re straight back into the action in Shanghai.
Lewis Hamilton will be desperate to claim his and Mercedes first win of the season at a track where he seems to perform at his best. He has won 5 of the last 10 races held at the Shanghai International Circuit and he has been vocal about not losing any more ground to Vettel in the race to regain his Championship. Hamilton started race week by describing Ferrari as having more straight line speed than his Mercedes but he has still managing to stay just ahead in FP1 and FP2. The world champion finished top of the timesheets in both sessions but FP2 is painting a very promising picture for the race ahead.
There was only 0.108s splitting the top 4 made up of the Mercedes and Ferrari with Raikkonen getting to within 0.007s of Hamilton. The Finn outperformed his teammate once again with Bottas also getting in front of Vettel. Will this be the race where Raikkonen can put in the performance on a Sunday to beat his teammate? I’m sure Hamilton will be hoping so but Ferrari could start to favour Vettel with his current 17 point lead in the drivers Championship.
The two Red Bull’s were a little further behind as per usual but race pace again seems very close. If Ricciardo and Verstappen manage to get both cars to the end of the race without reliability issues or mistakes then there is a 3 team, 6 driver battle ahead of us. I think I have said that in Australia and Bahrain but hopefully this time it actually happens.
Best of the rest
Hulkenberg and Magnussen continue to impress for Renault and Haas respectively but it’s still anyone’s guess what the running order is below the top 6. Renault look like the most consistent team in the midfield with both drivers running in the top 10 of most sessions this season. McLaren are ahead on points at the minute but there seems to be greater variances in their performance from session to session and track to track. Vandoorne did suffer a pit stop malfunction in FP2 with another tyre not being attached correctly. This is the 5th occurrence this season which has triggered an investigation by the FIA.
Pierre Gasly outperformed his teammate once again but was a mile away from his heroics in Bahrain when he took 4th. Toro Rosso are still firmly in that midfield battle which is where they expect to be with hopes they can challenge the top of the midfield over the year.
Unfortunately, Williams continue to struggle with Stroll spinning and bottom of the timesheets and Sirotkin a few places above him. It would be an achievement to get out of Q1 at this stage which is a sad state of affairs for one of the biggest names in the sport.