F1 – Verstappen Wins Sprint In China Ahead Of Hamilton And Pérez

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won the first Sprint of the 2024 F1 season, powering through from fourth on the grid to beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, with Sergio Pérez third in the other Red Bull.

When the lights went out at the start of the 19 lap, 100-km dash to the flag, it was Hamilton who got away best and he immediately attacked polesitter Lando Norris of McLaren as they went into the long loop of the first two corners. Norris, on the outside, tried to resist, but he was forced out wide on the dirty side of the track and slid wide. He tumbled down to P7 as Hamilton took the lead.

Behind them, Aston Martin’s Fernand Alonso was in third ahead of Verstappen, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, P´rez and the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Verstappen wasn’t happy, however, and as Hamilton began to build a gap at the front the Dutchman was on the radio complaining that he had a flat battery. He was given instructions to change settings on his steering wheel and during his phase dropped almost two seconds away from Hamilton and Alonso.

Just over a third of the way into the race, Hamilton had carved out a gap of 1.5s to Alonso, but Verstappen, with his battery issues fixed, was charging towards both. At the end of Lap 7, Verstappen closed in on Alonso and passed the Aston Martin driver into the hairpin to take P2.

On lap eight Hamilton ran wide at the hairpin and that was all the incentive Verstappen needed. He closed the gap to half a second as they crossed the start/finish line and then began to apply the pressure through the first sector of lap nine before getting the pass done into the hairpin. With the lead secured, Verstappen raced into the distance, quickly opening a sizable gap to the rest of the pack.

While Hamilton remained a comfortable second, Alonso began to fall back towards Sainz, Perez, Leclerc and Norris, and an exciting tussle developed.

On Lap 14, Leclerc attacked Perez around the outside of the final hairpin, but failed to pass. He tried again on the following lap but locked up and fell back slightly.

On lap 16, Sainz attacked Alonso heading into Turn 6. The pair went side-by-side into Turn 7 and the two Spaniards made contact, allowing Perez to sneak past both at Turn 8.

Alonso dropped back with a puncture and eventually retired. With Pérez in third, the battle for fourth was left to the two Ferraris who almost collided at the final hairpin – prompting an angry radio message from Leclerc – before Sainz ran wide at Turn 2 allowing his team mate to ease past.

From there, the lead positions remained unchanged, with Verstappen taking victory over Hamilton and Pérez, as Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, Piastri and Russell completed the top-eight positions and secured the points on offer.

2024 FIA Chinese Grand Prix – Sprint 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing19 32’04.660
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19 32’17.703 13.043
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 19 32’19.918 15.258
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 19 32’22.146 17.486
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 19 32’25.356 20.696
6 Lando Norris McLaren 19 32’26.748 22.088
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren 19 32’29.373 24.713
8 George Russell Mercedes 19 32’30.356 25.696
9 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber 19 32’36.611 31.951
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 19 32’42.058 37.398
11 Daniel Ricciardo RB19 32’42.500 37.840
12 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber 19 32’42.955 38.295
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 19 32’44.501 39.841
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 19 32’44.959 40.299
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine 19 32’45.498 40.838
16 Yuki Tsunoda RB 19 32’46.530 41.870
17 Alexander Albon Williams 19 32’47.658 42.998
18 Logan Sargeant Williams 19 32’51.012 46.352
19 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 19 32’54.290 49.630
20 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 17 29’39.513 Not running

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