[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] CHINESE GRAND PRIX: RACE PREVIEW

One of the world’s financial and political powerhouses, China hosts round three of the Formula 1 World Championship.

The grid touching down in futuristic, affluent and cosmopolitan Shanghai – China’s most populous city – which reflects the nation’s huge importance as a new car market, more than 25 million sold last year.

China’s purpose-built Grand Prix circuit is 45 minutes’ from Shanghai, the 5.4 kilometre track a supreme technical challenge with 16 turns and a top speed of 335 kilometres per hour. Michael Schumacher’s 2004 lap record for Ferrari still stands. There are two DRS activation zones – on the long back straight and downhill pit straight, with two DRS detection points.

For the drivers, Shanghai’s long constant radius corners are a nightmare for the front tyres – so setup is key to a great lap.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“The circuit is incredibly tough. It’s a lot of right handers, very, very tough on the front tyres so front graining is the biggest issue. So it’s really, really important to try and find a good balance.”

The back straight, for the drag down to Turn 14, is generally the best spot for overtaking, but into Turn 6 isn’t the only alternative.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“You can sometimes make a move into turn 9, I think it is turn 9, so this part of the track I enjoy. It’s like in the middle of the track, and, yeah, normally you see some good battles here.”

Lewis Hamilton is the most successful F1 driver in China, with five wins – while Fernando Alonso, and Nico Rosberg have two. Four other drivers have won the event, Rubens Barrichello the first in 2004.

Hamilton, though, heads to the event as favourite, with the four-time F1 World Champion and his W09 dialled into the track’s demands.

SOUNDBITE (English) LEWIS HAMILTON,
4-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“It’s actually a circuit that really suits my attacking style that people talk about.”