Max Verstappen Wins the China GP Sprint and Secures Pole for Sunday

April 20, 2024Ramon Jones
Formula 1

Max Verstappen started the day off in record setting fashion securing the team’s 100th pole position. 37 having been claimed by the Dutchman, as well as 44 by Sebastian Vettel, 13 by Mark Webber, 3 by Perez and 3 by Daniel Ricciardo. Behind Verstappen was his teammate Sergio Perez in P2 and Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso. Commenting on th session, Verstappen said: “Before I jumped in the car Christian [Horner, Red Bull team boss] told me if you get pole today it could be number 100 for the team, so I was like, ‘Okay, that’s nice, I’ll try and give it a good go’.

Of course that’s an incredible achievement for the whole team. Also a big contribution from Seb back in the day! But it’s fantastic also to have the one-two in qualifying, it showed that the car is again working really well. From my side it’s been a really good start to the year and I feel probably very confident in qualifying, even compared to last year. It’s just a shame of course that we retired in Melbourne otherwise I think we could have had already a very strong lead, but overall it’s still a great start.”

Hamilton Surges to the P2 in Sprint but Drops in Q1

Lewis Hamilton seemingly found the pace he needed to bring it to Verstappen this weekend. Despite falling short after the sprint Hamilton looked as though he’d be competing at the front. Unfortunately come qualifying for the grand prix Hamilton made a surprise Q1 exit. After making a mistake in the hairpin during the first session Hamilton finished in P18. His work will be cut out for him on Sunday if he is to compete for a top 5 finish.

Hamilton was disappointed with the session, “To be sat on the front-row for the Sprint was a great feeling,” he said. Racing into turn one and taking the lead reminded me of what I love so much about this sport! It was a challenging race but to get second was great. 

We knew Qualifying would be much more tough this afternoon though. I made some sizeable set-up changes after the Sprint to try and improve the car in the slow speed turns. It wasn’t too bad in some corners, but I struggled elsewhere. It was challenging to get the rear tires to stop into turn 14 and that’s where I locked up on my final lap. If I hadn’t had that, I would have made it through to Q2. I’ll be giving it my best shot tomorrow. We can still have some fun even if we are starting from P18.

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, CHINA – APRIL 20: Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15 during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on Saturday April 20, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images)

Aston Martin Bounces Back

When asked about his disappointing finish in the sprint race Alonso stated, “Yeah. I mean, I don’t know how far [ahead] Checo is. But yeah, Sector 1, I had a moment in Turn 1 and 2, I nearly lost the car. And then I said, ‘Okay, I keep going or I abort the lap?’, you know, because I lost like two tenths in two corners. But yeah, we didn’t give up. We kept pushing all through the lap. Yeah, we said a good lap time. I think the car did improve since this morning. We made a few set-up changes. Let’s see tomorrow if we can translate that into points.”

Of note Oscar Piastri had a slight off but was able to recover and made it to Q3 finishing P5 with teammate Lando Norris starting ahead in P4.

Grand Prix Qualifying Results

11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:34.7421:33.7941:33.66018
211Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:35.4571:34.0261:33.98219
314Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:35.1161:34.6521:34.14815
44Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:34.8421:34.4601:34.16515
581Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:35.0141:34.6591:34.27316
616Charles LeclercFERRARI1:34.7971:34.3991:34.28920
755Carlos SainzFERRARI1:34.9701:34.3681:34.29717
863George RussellMERCEDES1:35.0841:34.6091:34.43320
927Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:35.0681:34.6671:34.60421
1077Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:35.1691:34.7691:34.66515
1118Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:35.3341:34.83812
123Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT1:35.4431:34.93412
1331Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:35.3561:35.22315
1423Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:35.3841:35.24114
1510Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:35.2871:35.46315
1624Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:35.5058
1720Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:35.5166
1844Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:35.5736
1922Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT1:35.7469
202Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:36.3587

Sprint Race Results

11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1932:04.6608
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES19+13.043s7
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT19+15.258s6
416Charles LeclercFERRARI19+17.486s5
555Carlos SainzFERRARI19+20.696s4
64Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES19+22.088s3
781Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES19+24.713s2
863George RussellMERCEDES19+25.696s1
924Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI19+31.951s0
1020Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI19+37.398s0
113Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT19+37.840s0
1277Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI19+38.295s0
1331Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT19+39.841s0
1418Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES19+40.299s0
1510Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT19+40.838s0
1622Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT19+41.870s0
1723Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES19+42.998s0
182Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES19+46.352s0
1927Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI19+49.630s0
Note – Alonso received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.