On F1’s return to the Shanghai International Circuit for the first time since 2019, Verstappen cemented his position as the runaway points leader with a lights-to-flag win in the RB20.

Norris enjoyed a strong run to second, leaving Sergio Perez to settle for third in the other Red Bull.

The Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz occupied positions fourth and fifth, ahead of the lead Mercedes of George Russell.

Our writers give their verdict on the fifth round of the 2024 season.

Mixed feelings after another Max masterclass: 5/10 – Filip Cleeren

Much as I cannot help being in awe of one of Max Verstappen’s most dominant performances so far, which is saying a lot given the run he is on, I can also not help being underwhelmed by the season so far. The Chinese Grand Prix was no different, even if skirmishes in midfield livened up the plot. This race was absolutely crying out for a safety car to spice things up. And then we got one, and the top three still drove off into the distance with large gaps in between…

Shanghai’s unique layout and tarmac coating threw up some intriguing surprises, such as McLaren’s Lando Norris blowing away the struggling Ferraris. That maybe gets it a better score than the race really deserved, but it is annoying that almost every race seems to have a clear second-fastest team rather than a more intense fight behind the sovereign Verstappen.

Even with safety cars and clashes, lack of action at the front is the major problem: 5/10 – Haydn Cobb

A race with two safety cars, multiple clashes, strategy variation and plenty of overtakes should give the Chinese GP a higher score. But when all that only impacts the bottom half of the pack, it blunts the edge and subsequent excitement. Sure, Lando Norris splitting the Red Bulls and the one-stoppers working out is something, but not memorable enough to give it a higher score.

Shanghai shows good racing is possible with current cars: 6/10 – Ben Vinel

This was arguably the best grand prix so far this season, although the bar has admittedly been very low. Max Verstappen gave another masterclass at the front of the field, handling the race perfectly; he was never threatened in the safety car restarts.

However, behind him, there were many interesting fights, including in the top 10. Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll battling it out at the back of the field may not have had much at stake, but it was the best wheel-to-wheel action we’ve seen all year. Such spectacular racing was always a feature of the Shanghai International Circuit; seeing it today proves that current-generation F1 cars – which had never raced there due to the COVID-19 pandemic – are quite capable of overtaking one another in certain circumstances, despite usually falling short of their targets in that area.

Momentum in F1 2024 is slowly building up: 6/10 – Rachit Thukral

It seemed like the Chinese Grand Prix would be another standard F1 affair until the mid-race drama injected some much-needed life into the race. 

While far from a thriller, there was plenty of action up and down the field, and the overtaking moves weren’t just limited to DRS zones. There were also some silly incidents, clashes and strategy variations, plus a wholesome moment for home hero Zhou Guanyu to cap it all off. 

Max Verstappen’s dominance did take away some shine from the race, but the fact that two successive safety car periods bunched up the field and brought some excitement proved that it won’t be too long before F1 2024 delivers an absolute nail-biter.


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