Verstappen led the vast majority of a strategic encounter at the Shanghai International Circuit that featured a Virtual Safety Car and two full Safety Car periods, the Dutchman keeping his cool at the front as the drama unfolded behind him.

Norris was one of three drivers, along with Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, to make just one pit stop, having benefitted from the VSC and Safety Car phases to jump Perez for second position, which he managed to hold to the finish.

Leclerc and Sainz followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, despite some concerns from the Monegasque in the closing stages that his tyres would be unable to make it to the end. George Russell led Mercedes’ charge en route to sixth.

Fernando Alonso had an offset strategy after pitting for softs rather than hards chosen by the drivers around him under the mid-race Safety Car. This forced him into a late stop for mediums, and then a string of overtakes to recover from 12th to seventh—McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was his final victim.

After his Q1 exit and some tyre-related struggles in the early laps, Lewis Hamilton worked his way up the order amid drama around him. He wound up ninth thanks to some intelligent overtakes, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg claiming the final point on offer.

Alpine pair Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly sandwiched the Williams of Alex Albon in positions 11 to 13, while Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu crossed the line in 14th as he made history by becoming the first Chinese driver to compete on home soil.

A trio of sanctioned drivers followed, with Lance Stroll classifying 15th, ahead of final finishers Kevin Magnussen and Logan Sargeant, after being given a 10-second penalty for his part in a collision with Daniel Ricciardo under the Safety Car.

Stroll ran into the back of Ricciardo just before the first Safety Car restart when the field bunched up at the tight final hairpin, and after the RB driver returned to the pits to retire with significant damage, stewards slapped the Canadian with his sanction.

Magnussen was 16th in his Haas after tipping the other RB of Yuki Tsunoda into a spin – and retirement – at the exit of the Turn 6 hairpin earlier in the race, a move that also saw the stewards add 10 seconds to his time.

Logan Sargeant finished 17th and last in the second of the Williams machines to conclude another difficult weekend. He was hit with a 10-second penalty for a Safety Car infringement involving Hulkenberg.

Alongside the two RBs, Valtteri Bottas failed to finish when his Kick Sauber developed an apparent engine issue and forced him to pull off the track, with problems removing his car leading to the first Safety Car period.

With the top-three finishers heading to the podium to celebrate, Verstappen’s latest win means he now sits 25 points – and a Grand Prix victory – clear of teammate Perez in the drivers’ standings as the F1 field gets set for another Sprint in Miami in a fortnight’s time.


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