Another race, another victory for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Chinese GP

The three-time defending champion won the Chinese Grand Prix on April 21 starting from pole, his fourth victory in five races this season and his 23rd in the last 27 extending through last season.

Published - April 21, 2024 02:43 pm IST - SHANGHAI

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with a trophy on the podium after winning the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 21, 2024

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates with a trophy on the podium after winning the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 21, 2024 | Photo Credit: Reuters

Another Formula 1 race. Yet another victory for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The three-time defending champion won the Chinese Grand Prix on April 21 starting from pole, his fourth victory in five races this season and his 23rd in the last 27 extending through last season.

Only a brake failure last month at the Australian GP in Melbourne probably kept him from sweeping all five.

Verstappen trailed for only a few laps following a pit stop. Lando Norris of McLaren was about 14 seconds behind Verstappen in second — the eighth time he has been No. 2 in his career as he still seeks his first victory. Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was third.

The saftey car came out twice in the middle of the race. Once after Sauber's Valtteri Bottas stalled at the edge of the track with a blown engine, and again with two nearly simeltaneous incidents.

In one, Kevin Magnuessen clipped Yuki Tsunoda, and in the other, Lance Stroll ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen's rule in F1 also extended to Saturday when he took the inaugural sprint race of the season.

This was the first F1 in China since 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic and China's clampdown wiped out four races. Shanghai-born Zhou Guanyu finished 14th for Sauber, perhaps his last chance to race at home as teams next season will shuffle their driver lineups.

The real competition in F1 for the rest of the season appears to be for the half-dozen places behind Verstappen and Perez. Mercedes' George Russell called it “a fight” for places No. 3 through No. 8.

“Small differences can have a major impact,” Russell said.

The next GP is Miami on May 5 where it's often a celebrity show. There was also a parade of celebrities in China with former basketball star Yao Ming and double Olympic champion skier Eileen Gu posing for photos in the paddock and on the track before the start of the race.

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