Chinese Grand Prix, Can Mercedes Catch the Red Dragon?

SHANGHAI (CINA) – 17/04/2016
© FOTO STUDIO COLOMBO PER PIRELLI MEDIA (© COPYRIGHT FREE)Chinese Grand Prix 07-09 April

After a thrilling season premiere in Australia, where Scuderia Ferrari won after almost two years, Formula One travels to China for the second race of the season and now the pressure is on Mercedes, which must show if they have an answer to Ferrari’s performance.

The Italians followed a smart strategy which gave the opportunity to Vettel to take the lead of the race after Hamilton’s pit-stop. Mercedes were not able to follow Ferrari’s pace and Sebastian Vettel secured his first victory with Ferrari since Singapore 2015.

Shanghai International Circuit opened its gates to the Formula One fans in 2004, Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl designed the 5.4 km track, and the layout of the circuit was inspired by the Chinese character ‘Shang’.

China hosts one of the most demanding races on the calendar, it has high-speed straights, whilst the acceleration and deceleration effect the tyre behaviour and reduce the degradation of the tyres.

Shanghai International Circuit

Laps: 56

Circuit Length: 5.451 km

Race Distance: 305.066 km

Lap Record: 1:32.238 (Michael Schumacher – 2004)

(Courtesy of Pirelli F1 Media)

Tyre Compounds: Supersoft (Red), Soft (Yellow), Medium (White)

Last year’s world champion was the winner of the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix, followed by the German Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat who finished on the podium with his Red Bull.

Ferrari’s last victory in China was in 2013, while the last time, which the team started from the pole was in 2004. From the other side, Mercedes dominates in Shanghai for the last couple of years.

“In Shanghai last year everyone had their eye on the tyres as wear is typically high there and we often saw graining, but it’ll be interesting to see how the new compounds perform on this type of track. The weather is often unpredictable and temperatures can change a lot over the weekend, so it’s something all the teams have to manage with the balance and set-up of the car. Shanghai is a really quirky track – Turn 1 is actually my favourite corner on the whole calendar – and it provides a good test for the driver with a high average speed compared to the street circuit of Melbourne. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new cars are capable of there, and I hope we can at least have a trouble-free race and see where we are when the chequered flag falls.” Fernando Alonso said.

McLaren is expecting a tough weekend as the circuit does not fit to their car set-up.

“We expect the Chinese Grand Prix to be even more challenging (than Australia). The track itself also places a lot of stress on the power unit with its slow- and medium-speed corners, and two very long straights. The key will be preparation and set-up.” Yusuke Hasegawa told.

Pascal Wehrlein will be replaced by the rookie Giovinazzi for the second consecutive race, as Pascal is still recovering from his crash in the Race of Champions. Wehrlein is hoping to fully recover before the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Don’t miss PitCrew’s live race coverage, which will start 30 minutes before the race.

Victor Archakis – @FP_Passion

 

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