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#pounditSunday, May 26, 2024

Max Verstappen accomplishes career first in Shanghai

Max Verstappen standing up

Jun 19, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen of The Netherlands stands during the national anthems after winning the Montreal Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

Max Verstappen accomplished a career first on Sunday in Shanghai when he won the Chinese Grand Prix. Sunday’s win was part of a big weekend for Verstappen — one that indicated Red Bull has returned to its dominant form.

Not only did Verstappen win his first Chinese Grand Prix, but he also won the sprint race on Saturday. Additionally, although safety cars and tire strategy were not ideal for Sergio Perez, Perez was still able to battle back to and make it onto the podium for a P3 finish. Perez’s third-place finish ended a 5-week streak this season where the same constructor had finished 1-2.

Despite Red Bull’s success at the Shanghai International circuit, the same could not be said for its sister team VCARB as both Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo were forced to retire due to damages sustained to their car by Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll respectively.

In what has been established battle for second place behind Red Bull, Ferrari seemed to have much more pace this weekend than McLaren. However, Lando Norris was able to establish good race pace and tire management and finish second, although pre-race he had predicted to his race engineers that he would be around 35 seconds behind Ferrari at the end of the race.

Ferrari ultimately lacked the pace they had shown in qualifying, resulting in Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finishing 4th and 5th.

Lastly, Lewis Hamilton, who was able to secure a second-place finish in the sprint due to advantage of wet weather during sprint qualifying, ended up qualifying 18th for the grand prix and finishing 9th, just inside the points. With the glaring lack of pace, Mercedes will have a lot of work to do catch up and compete with Aston Martin, Ferrari, and McLaren.

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