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Mercedes failed worse than Ferrari and Stroll caused a stupid accident. Chinese GP results

Date: May 30, 2024 Time: 19:38:56

The first Chinese Grand Prix in five years took place in Shanghai, where a new sprint format also debuted. The victory in both races and in the classification was obtained by Max Verstappen, who after the finish line said that his car was going as if it were on rails, but Sergio Pérez could not keep up with his teammate; The team will have to find out why Checo was unable to catch up to Lando Norris and was only third.

We will try to understand how the balance of power has changed over the last five races, who is to blame for the strangest collision of the season (behind the safety car!) and whether the new sprint weekend format is really better than previous. one.

How was the Chinese Grand Prix?

Norris ruined Red Bull’s plans to do a double. But Verstappen didn’t even notice him.

Ferrari or McLaren: who is closer to the leaders?

Before the start of the weekend, Ferrari was considered Red Bull’s main rival. They did not expect to fight for victory in Maranello, but they did hope to get ahead of McLaren. Even Lando Norris, who finally got on the podium, admitted that before the start he didn’t believe he could keep the Scuderia drivers behind. What happened to the team that was first after Red Bull in all the previous races of the season?

As Leclerc said after the finish, Ferrari slowed down on hard tires: on hard ones, Charles lost to Norris by about half a second per lap. Thus, only between laps 32 and 38, the Monegasque was almost four seconds behind McLaren! At the finish line, Leclerc and Lando were separated by almost ten seconds. Such a weak pace was a surprise even for the team itself, and so far the engineers have no answer to the question of where the speed went.

Ferrari lost too much in hard

Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Sainz’s pace over the distance turned out to be lower this time than Leclerc’s: the Spaniard, who changed tires even before the safety car came out, lost an average of 0.3 seconds per lap compared to his teammate , and in the end he lost the same ten seconds with him. However, he also had exactly the same problems with the hard tires. Whether the problem is in the configuration or the chassis features, this has yet to be resolved.

Does it turn out that McLaren is now the second force in the peloton? Not precisely. Norris honestly admitted that he doesn’t know why McLaren was faster this time. “Everything went well for us today and I don’t know why. Before the race I made a bet with the engineer that he would finish 35 seconds behind the Ferrari. “I am glad I was wrong, it is a pleasant surprise,” he stated. In Maranello they are preparing new products for the next race; Then we will evaluate the true pace of the two teams.

Sainz is still without a contract for the 2025 season:

The most important decision in the F1 driver market. What does Alonso’s new contract with Aston mean?

Mercedes is worse than Aston Martin

Be that as it may, the difficulties of the Ferrari cannot be compared to the problems of the Mercedes. This weekend, the W15 was only the fifth fastest car, and if Alonso had had an extra set of “hard”, it’s not a given that Russell would have stayed in the top six. For the third year in a row, the former champions have failed to fix their car and the current car looks even worse than the previous ones.

In the first segment with the “middle”, Russell managed to stay close to Piastri, but after the pit stop, George could not do anything with Alonso, although he was on harder tires: ten laps before the safety car appeared . George was almost three seconds behind the Spaniard. He was able to overtake Fernando and Óscar only because of the lack of “hard” in the first and the damaged bottom of the second.

Even with outsiders, Hamilton had problems

Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images

Hamilton’s career was even more revealing. Lewis started with the soft and in the first segment he still had problems with Haas and Kick-Sauber and couldn’t catch RB. “The day before I changed the settings incorrectly and paid for it. “I have never experienced understeer like this in my life,” the former champion shared after the finish line. “I will do everything I can to prevent this from happening again.”

Experimenting with settings is a consequence, not the cause of problems. To achieve at least an acceptable pace with the car, the drivers have to take risks, and each time almost blindly. In the next stage, Mercedes will bring the first major package of updates and this will be, in a sense, the moment of truth: in Miami there are many long and fast corners, and they are considered the main weakness of the W15.

We help Toto Wolf decide:

Classification

So who should replace Hamilton at Mercedes? Sainz, Antonelli or someone else?

Alpin is almost in the top 10. Are the problems over?

The Alpin team was perhaps the main disappointment of the beginning of the season: in the first four classifications, the French car was the slowest. But for this weekend, the engineers prepared a new bottom section, and it paid off: Ocon, who received updates, gave the team the best starting position this year, the best finish and moved it out of last place in the Constructors Championship.

Furthermore, Esteban’s pace throughout the course turned out to be higher than that of both Williams drivers and slightly lower than the average lap time of Zhou and Hulkenberg. Gasly, by the way, drove the race even faster, but was able to attack more actively due to a greater number of pit stops. However, Pierre’s pace is also a good sign, especially considering that he competed with a car of the same configuration and will only receive news in Miami.

Alpin is little by little catching up to its rivals

Photo: Peter Fox/Getty Images

However, it is too early to rejoice. Kick-Sauber looked great this weekend and if it wasn’t for the engine problems, Bottas would have fought Hulkenberg and been ahead of Ocon. Williams faced unexpectedly high tire wear this time, and even with it, Albon lost to Esteban at the finish line by less than two and a half seconds. And Stroll, if he had been a little more attentive, probably would have finished ahead.

DRS ruins racing:

Stop hiding behind an overtaking parody. Formula 1 must make a bold decision

Who is to blame for a collision behind a safety car?

Talking about a walk. Lance this weekend was the author of perhaps the most ridiculous collision of the season. At the restart, on lap 27, the Canadian did not notice that many people had slowed down before the penultimate corner and charged towards Ricciardo at full speed. With this mistake, Stroll ruined the race not only for himself, but also for two other drivers: Ricciardo flew into Piastri from the impact and bent his diffuser.

“Someone in front braked and the car in front almost stopped; I had nowhere to go,” Lance justified after the finish line, but Ricciardo was not satisfied with his explanation. “In a restart, you can’t predict what the leader will do and you have to be prepared for anything,” Dan says. -Did he really accuse me? I just calmed down, but now I’m angry again! “I saw the recording and at the moment of impact he didn’t even look at me.”

Stroll and Ricciardo collide

Photo: twitter.com/f1

The new format was a success, but…

If we return to the new format of the weekend with the sprint, then, in general, the organizers’ idea was a success. Recall that the main objective of the reform was to prevent the sprint from ending the intrigue of Sunday’s Grand Prix: the drivers now have the opportunity to change the configuration and therefore the balance of power can change. This is clearly illustrated by Hamilton: a magnificent sprint was followed by a rather mediocre Grand Prix.

On the other hand, this format generally discredits the idea of ​​sprint. A shutout is unlikely to attract many more spectators to the screens and stands than the second practice, because in the sprint, anyway, almost half of the drivers will not be able to compete for points. And with the end of the sprint and the start of the main classification, the short race fades into the background as if it never happened.

Readers’ Choice:

Classification

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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