Lewis Hamilton secures second place in the F1 Sprint in China

Chinese GP: Strong P2 and Double Points in Shanghai Sprint
Lewis secures second place in the F1 Sprint in China, George improves three positions to P8

F1 returns to China this weekend for the first time since 2019 – and what a return it was! A thrilling F1 sprint opened “Super Saturday” at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Lewis started the first F1 Sprint of the season from P2 on the front row, George started from P11.

While George lost a position at the start, Lewis got off to a great start against pole setter Lando Norris (McLaren) and took the lead.

In the early stages of the Sprint Race, Lewis pulled away from Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), who was still in his DRS window at the start. However, the real danger came from Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, which overtook the Aston Martin on lap seven.

Just three laps later, Verstappen had caught Lewis at the front and passed him. Verstappen’s pace was too strong, but Lewis still had an advantage over Alonso. From now on, it was all about the right tyre management.

Meanwhile, George, who was the only driver on the grid to start on the Soft tyres, fought his way forward through the field. He first overtook Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) and then Kevin Magnussen (Haas) to move into the top 10 after just a few laps.

Towards the middle of the race, he also overtook local hero Zhou Guanyu (Sauber) and improved to P9.

George fought all the way to the finish line to catch Oscar Piastri (McLaren), but didn’t quite make it. However, he benefited from an exciting four-way battle in front of him, during the course of which Alonso suffered a puncture and dropped back. George said thank you and secured the final point in P8.

The tough battle for P3 also gave Lewis the breathing space he needed to bring P2 home safely. A great end to the first F1 Sprint of the year for the team!

The track conditions on Saturday morning looked very different to Friday. The track temperature at the start of the F1 Sprint was 13°C cooler than in FP1. There was also a lot of rain after the Sprint Qualifying on Friday afternoon. As a result, the already green track was even more slippery with little grip.

The track action in Shanghai continues in just a few hours. At 15:00 local time (08:00 UK time), qualifying for the Grand Prix on Sunday gets underway.

As of this season, the teams are allowed to change the set-up of their cars before the second parc fermé in order to prepare for qualifying and the race.

Lewis Hamilton
To be sat on the front-row was a great feeling and reminded me what that feels like. Racing into turn one and taking the lead also reminded me of what I love so much about this sport! It was a very challenging race but to get second was great. Qualifying this afternoon will likely be a lot harder as the other cars are very quick in the dry. We can make some changes though before then so hopefully we can start higher up the grid than we have recently.

George Russell
It was definitely worth taking the gamble on the Soft tyres. They performed OK and it was also good learning for tomorrow. I made a good start but got caught on the outside of turn one. I was aiming to make up two or three positions but unfortunately I lost them instead. Maybe the race would have been different without that. We had a bad day in Sprint Qualifying yesterday so let’s see what we can do this afternoon.

Toto Wolff
Second was a good result. Lewis made a very strong start and that opened up the potential of a strong finish for us. With George, the Soft tyre was a bit of an experiment that we wanted to try. It held on better that expected and that opens up more possibilities for tomorrow.

I think we have a top-six car so we slightly outperformed that but let’s see what happens over the rest of the weekend. If we can run with the Ferraris and the McLarens, that would be a really good step forward.

Source and more info : Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team