2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Verstappen Claims First China Win

Round five of the 2024 F1 season returned to China at the Shanghai International Circuit for the officially titled Formula 1 Lenovo Chinese Grand Prix 2024.


By Ben Bush
Updated on May 17, 2024

Reviewed and checked by Lee Parker

2024 Chinese Grand Prix Race Start
Max Verstappen leads at the start of the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Formula 1 made its long-awaited return to China in 2024, with the Shanghai International Circuit hosting the fifth round of the season. The weekend marked the event’s comeback after a four-year break since 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Race Guide

Date: 19th April 2024 – 21st April 2024
Shanghai International Circuit
Laps: 56
Circuit length: 5.451km
Previous Winner: Lewis Hamilton (2019)

The excitement for the race’s return was also heightened as Shanghai became the venue for the first of the 2024 season’s six Sprint weekends. With the Sprint format in action, drivers were limited to a single 60-minute free practice session on the Friday before Sprint qualifying kicked off later the same day, adding an extra layer of challenges to the team’s preparations.

While the Shanghai circuit is well-known in the sport, its track surface presented another unknown for teams during the Thursday circuit walks. After a four-year break, areas needed improvement ahead of the weekend. Initially, some drivers and teams mistook the darker sections of the track for painted areas, but it was later revealed that these patches were treated with bitumen. This treatment aimed to prevent the track from disintegrating and to reduce dust building up on the surface. Despite these initial concerns about grip, the track didn’t prove as challenging as feared when practice began on Friday. There was so much grip on Turn Seven that it caused sparks from the cars’ skidblocks to set fire to the trackside grass.

Weekend schedule
DateSessionLocal Time
19 April 2024Free Practice 1 (FP1)11.30am local time
19 April 2024Sprint Qualifying3.30pm local time
20 April 2024Sprint Race11:00 am local time
20 April 2024Qualifying3:00 pm local time
21 April 2024Race3:00pm local time

During Friday’s Sprint qualifying, Lewis Hamilton looked to have taken pole, only to be beaten by his fellow Brit, Lando Norris. Hamilton would line up second, with Fernando Alonso in third and Max Verstappen in fourth. The following day during the Sprint, Max Verstappen surged from fourth place on the starting grid to win the season’s first Sprint race. Lewis Hamilton secured second place for Mercedes, followed by Sergio Perez in the Red Bull.

Max Verstappen continued his form from the Sprint race into the race’s qualifying session later on the Saturday by claiming pole and making it Red Bull’s 100th F1 pole position. Lewis Hamilton’s elation in securing second just hours earlier turned sour with a shock Q1 exit and qualifying 18th for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix. Max’s teammate Sergio Perez claimed second, and Aston Martin’s Alonso in third.

In the race Max Verstappen led almost every lap and secured his first Shanghai victory and his fourth win in five races in the 2024 season, extending his lead in the world championship over Sergio Perez. Lando Norris in the McLaren capitalised on two Safety Car interruptions to finish second, thwarting Red Bull’s hopes for a one-two finish by keeping Sergio Perez at bay. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton managed to climb from his poor starting position of 18th on the grid to finish ninth, salvaging points in a challenging race.

Championship background

After bouncing back from a retirement at the Australian Grand Prix with a dominant win in Japan, Max Verstappen was aiming to maintain his momentum for a fourth consecutive drivers’ title.

Amid the unpredictability introduced by the Sprint format, Ferrari was keen to regain the form that saw Carlos Sainz spearhead a one-two finish for the team in Australia.

Meanwhile, following a lacklustre performance in Japan, Mercedes was determined to bridge the gap to the leading pack during Lewis Hamilton’s final season with the team before he moved to Ferrari in 2025.

The weekend also saw Zhou Guanyu, Formula 1’s first Chinese driver, compete on his home turf for the first time.

Race entries

With just one practice session, due to the Sprint format, there were no reserve drivers or upcoming talent taking part in free practice, unlike in Japan where Super Formula racer Ayumu Iwasa had taken Daniel Riccardo’s seat in FP1. That meant every driver from the start of the season made an appearance in FP1, Sprint Qualifying, the Sprint Race, Qualifying and the Race.

Tyre choices

Pirelli, the official F1 tyre supplier, chose the C2, C3, and C4 compounds for their return to Shanghai’s 5.451km track, which is known for its diverse mix of low-, medium-, and high-speed corners.

The inclusion of the Sprint format meant that the usual allocation of dry tyres was reduced from 13 sets to 12, comprising two sets of C2 hards, four sets of C3 mediums, and six sets of C4 softs. However, the number of wet-weather tyre sets remained unchanged, with five sets of intermediates and two sets of full wets.


Free Practice

With a Sprint weekend in China, just one Free Practice session was featured on the Friday. This left the competitive hierarchy uncertain after FP1, as teams experimented with various strategies during the only 60-minute practice session.

Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin unexpectedly led the grid in FP1 before Friday’s Sprint Qualifying, in a session that was momentarily disrupted by a trackside grass fire. Fifteen minutes into the session, a small fire erupted on the grass inside of Turn Seven, prompting Race Control to bring out the red flag and send the cars back to the pits, allowing marshals to extinguish the fire.

Stroll posted the quickest lap at 1:36.302, beating Piastri by 0.327 seconds, with Verstappen close behind by an additional 0.021 seconds.

Full Free Practice Reports

Sprint Qualifying

After changes to the Sprint format in 2024, the shortened session of 44 minutes was held on a Friday for the first time.

Lando Norris secured pole position in a thrilling Chinese Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying, outpacing Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso finished third, with Max Verstappen in fourth.

Norris clinched the Sprint pole after his fastest lap was dramatically reinstated at the very last moment of a rain-affected session. At first, it seemed Lewis Hamilton had secured pole when Norris’s last lap was deleted for exceeding track limits. However, in a last-minute twist, stewards reinstated the lap, handing Norris his second career Sprint pole. Fernando Alonso grabbed third place for Aston Martin, and Max Verstappen, the defending world champion, finished fourth after also having a lap time deleted for leaving the track during the session’s final stages.

Sprint Qualifying Report

14Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes1:36.3841:36.0471:57.94013
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:37.1811:36.2871:59.20115
314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.8831:36.1191:59.91514
41Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:36.4561:35.6062:00.02812
555Carlos SainzFerrari1:36.7191:36.0522:00.21415
611Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:36.1101:35.7812:00.37512
716Charles LeclercFerrari1:36.5371:35.7112:00.56615
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes1:36.5421:35.8532:00.99015
977Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.1121:36.0562:01.04416
1024Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:37.5441:36.3072:03.53716
1163George RussellMercedes1:37.3101:36.34510
1220Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:37.0331:36.47310
1327Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:36.9241:36.47810
143Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT1:37.3211:36.5539
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:36.9611:36.6778
1610Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:37.6326
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:37.7206
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:37.8126
1922Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT1:37.8926
202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:37.9236

Sprint Race

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen made his way to the front during Saturday’s Sprint race at the Shanghai International Circuit, transforming a modest fourth-place start into a dominant win.

Throughout the 19-lap race, Verstappen slowly climbed positions, capitalising on Lando Norris’s off-track mishap on the first lap, then passing Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and finally Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton secured second place, while a heated contest for third eventually favoured Sergio Perez after Alonso suffered a puncture. The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, along with McLaren’s Norris and Oscar Piastri, and George Russell—who adopted an audacious strategy with soft tyres—rounded out the point scorers.

Sprint Race Report

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
2014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes17DNF0
Note: Alonso received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.


Max Verstappen maintained his excellent form by securing a commanding pole position at the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix, marking Red Bull’s 100th pole in their history.

Verstappen led each session at the Shanghai International Circuit and further improved his time in Q3 to a standout 1m 33.660s. The fight for the second spot was intense, but his teammate Sergio Perez ultimately claimed it. Fernando Alonso drove his Aston Martin to third place, staying ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, with Charles Leclerc finishing sixth.

Full Qualifying Report

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

What happened in the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix?

Shortly before the race, Logan Sargeant switched from his 20th position on the grid to start from the pit lane, allowing Williams to tweak the setup in preparation for the next Sprint weekend in Miami.

As the drivers lined up and the tyre blankets were removed, most drivers had opted for medium tyres, while Stroll, Hamilton, Tsunoda, and Sargeant chose softs, and Magnussen selected hards.

When the race began, pole-sitter Max Verstappen maintained his lead from the front into Turn 1, while Fernando Alonso executed a stunning move around the outside of Sergio Perez to slot into second between the Red Bulls.

Norris and Piastri initially held fourth and fifth for McLaren, but the race quickly heated up behind them as George Russell advanced to sixth and Nico Hulkenberg to seventh, pushing the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz towards the back of the top ten.

Leclerc made his move at the end of the first lap, overtaking Hulkenberg at the final hairpin, and Sainz mirrored Alonso’s earlier manoeuvre on Perez by passing the Haas driver on the outside at Turn 1.

Hulkenberg’s position continued to slip down the order as Lance Stroll, starting on softs, overtook him for ninth. Valtteri Bottas hovered just outside the points in 11th, followed closely by Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon.

Pierre Gasly was 14th in the other Alpine, with the Red Bull pair of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda behind him (Ricciardo lost positions on mediums, and Tsunoda gained on softs). He was trailed by a group including Hamilton, Magnussen, local favorite Zhou, and Sargeant.

At the front, Perez used his DRS to catch up to Alonso, overtake him cleanly at Turn 6, and secure a Red Bull one-two, with Verstappen extending his lead.

Replay footage revealed some wheel-to-wheel contact between Hulkenberg and Stroll as they jostled for position, with Hulkenberg alleging he was pushed off the track. The stewards opted to review the incident, along with a similar tussle involving Albon and Gasly.

After being overtaken by Perez, Alonso quickly found himself under pressure from Norris. Using DRS on the back straight on Lap 7, Norris swept past the two-time world champion to seize third place. Soon after, the cameras switched to Russell, who was vigorously defending against Leclerc.

Russell managed to hold off Leclerc at the final hairpin, but Leclerc executed a strong exit and stayed close behind the Mercedes, overtaking him around the outside at Turn 1 at the start of Lap 9, moving up to sixth.

That same lap marked the beginning of the day’s first pit stops, with Zhou and Hulkenberg switching to hard tyres and Tsunoda to mediums, narrowly avoiding contact in the pit lane rush. This triggered a wave of mid-field tyre changes on the next lap.

Leclerc’s ascent continued as he passed Piastri for fifth at the final hairpin on Lap 12, which also saw Alonso and Russell diving into the pits for hard and medium tyres, respectively.

The pit lane was busy, with Gasly experiencing a notably slow stop. A mishap occurred when he prematurely pulled away before all four tyres were securely attached, causing a mechanic to stumble; fortunately, no injuries were reported.

By Lap 14, Verstappen opted to pit from the lead to switch to hard tyres, followed by Perez. This briefly handed the lead to Norris, followed by Leclerc, Piastri, and Sainz.

After switching to mediums, Hamilton made a bold move around the outside of Tsunoda at Turn 1, trying to recover from a sluggish start on softs. However, he soon expressed frustration over the radio about his car’s lack of speed.

Verstappen, now on fresh hard tyres, quickly made his presence felt, overtaking Leclerc at Turn 6 for second place on Lap 16. Pit stops for Piastri and Sainz reshuffled the front runners, leaving Norris and Leclerc among the few yet to stop, with Magnussen also extending his stint in the mid-field.

Drama unfolded as Bottas’s car came to a stop at Turn 11, his engine failing. Initially covered by yellow flags, the situation escalated to a Virtual Safety Car, disrupting the race’s rhythm further.

The unfolding situation played to the advantage of those who had yet to pit. Leclerc quickly seized the chance to stop under the Virtual Safety Car, followed by Norris on the subsequent lap. Stroll and Hamilton also changed tyres during this period. However, the VSC soon escalated to a full Safety Car as Bottas’ car became immovable, stuck in gear.

As the race neared its midpoint, a flurry of pit stops occurred under the Safety Car. Front-runners Verstappen, Perez, Alonso, Piastri, and Russell all made pit stops, along with Hulkenberg, Ocon, Tsunoda, Albon, Zhou (who had a delayed stop), and Gasly, intensifying the race’s strategic diversity.

Post-pit stop, the race order was Verstappen and Perez, both having made two stops, followed by Norris, Leclerc, and Sainz, each on their first stop, all equipped with hard tyres. Alonso was on softs after two stops, with Russell and Piastri on hards, Ricciardo on mediums, and Stroll on hards.

Before the Safety Car returned to the pits for the restart at the end of lap 26, Norris received a team message indicating that all drivers except Alonso were likely aiming to finish on hard tyres. Verstappen then smoothly led the pack as racing resumed.

Shortly thereafter, tension spiked as Tsunoda, following a strategic swap with teammate Ricciardo, was spun out by Magnussen at Turn 6. This resulted in terminal damage to Tsunoda’s car and a punctured tire for Magnussen, who limped back to the pits.

Replays captured a dramatic bottleneck at the final hairpin just before the restart, with Stroll colliding into Ricciardo’s rear, scattering debris across the track and briefly lifting the RB off the ground.

This chaos required another Safety Car, during which Alonso overtook Sainz for fifth place just before the field was neutralised again.

In the midst of this, the stewards remained busy, investigating potential Safety Car breaches involving Sargeant and Hulkenberg, as well as reviewing the incidents involving Tsunoda/Magnussen and Stroll/Ricciardo.

Behind the leading pack, Hamilton, Ocon, Albon, Sargeant, Zhou, and Gasly had all made two pit stops and were on hard tyres. Magnussen and Stroll, trailing due to their incidents, were both on their second and third stops respectively, both now on mediums.

As lap 31 concluded, the race resumed with Verstappen flawlessly leading the restart, followed closely by Norris, Leclerc, and Perez, with Alonso, the outlier on soft tyres, maintaining fifth ahead of Sainz, Russell, Piastri, and Hulkenberg.

“I’ve got no rear on the exits,” Ricciardo expressed his frustration as he rapidly dropped from the points-scoring positions to 13th within just a few corners, with Hamilton, Ocon, and Albon swiftly taking advantage of his struggle. Meanwhile, news broke that Stroll had received a 10-second penalty for causing the earlier collision.

Ricciardo was forced to pit and retire his car at the end of the lap, joining Tsunoda and Bottas on the sidelines, while Magnussen also received a 10-second penalty for causing Tsunoda’s spin, and Sargeant was penalised for a Safety Car violation.

Despite their penalties, Stroll and Magnussen engaged in an intense battle for 16th place, trading positions several times before Stroll secured his position at the sweeping Turn 1 and 2 complex.

The focus then shifted to the battle for the final podium position between Leclerc and Perez. Leclerc defended vigorously until Perez managed to overtake him on lap 39 at Turn 6. Leclerc queried his team, “Are we sure we are pushing for Plan D? Because the tyres are not great.”

Piastri then contacted his team to inquire about potential damage. Replays confirmed that he had sustained significant rear-end damage in the incident involving Stroll and Ricciardo.

Meanwhile, Hamilton chased down ninth-placed Hulkenberg, overtaking him impressively at Turn 8, and then set his sights on Piastri, who was managing his own damage.

Predictably, Alonso pitted with 12 laps remaining to switch from soft to medium tyres, rejoining the race in 12th place and ready to mount a charge through the field. He quickly set the fastest lap and passed Albon, Ocon, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, and Piastri, notably with a daring slide at the final corner.

The crowd was further entertained in the closing laps as Zhou overtook Sargeant for 15th at the final hairpin, drawing cheers from the local fans. Gasly also managed to pass Sargeant, but not without calling him an “idiot” for his defensive efforts.

As the race concluded, Verstappen comfortably maintained his lead to claim victory. He was followed by Norris and Perez on the podium, with the McLaren driver effectively holding off his Red Bull rival. Behind them, the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz and Mercedes’ Russell completed the top positions.

Alonso celebrated a robust recovery to finish seventh, followed by Piastri, Hamilton, and Hulkenberg. Ocon, Albon, and Gasly finished outside the points in 11th, 12th, and 13th respectively.

Zhou made another late pass, this time on Magnussen, to finish his home race in 14th, while Stroll also finished ahead of Magnussen and Sargeant, all three carrying the burden of their 10-second penalties.

Sargeant closed out the grid, managing to stay on the lead lap despite the challenges and Safety Car disruptions, while Ricciardo, Tsunoda, and Bottas were sidelined early due to their incidents.

2024 Chinese Grand Prix race results

11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT561:40:52.55425
24Lando NorrisMcLaren Mercedes56+13.773s18
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT56+19.160s15
416Charles LeclercFerrari56+23.623s12
555Carlos SainzFerrari56+33.983s10
663George RussellMercedes56+38.724s8
714Fernando Alonso*Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes56+43.414s7
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren Mercedes56+56.198s4
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes56+57.986s2
1027Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari56+60.476s1
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault56+62.812s0
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes56+65.506s0
1310Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault56+69.223s0
1424Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari56+71.689s0
1518Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes56+82.786s0
1620Kevin Magnussen**Haas Ferrari56+87.533s0
172Logan Sargeant***Williams Mercedes56+95.110s0
NC3Daniel RicciardoRB Honda RBPT33DNF0
NC22Yuki TsunodaRB Honda RBPT26DNF0
NC77Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari19DNF0
*Fastest lap: Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes) – 1:37.810 (lap 45)
**Magnussen received a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision.
***Sargeant received a 10-second time penalty for a Safety Car infringement.

2024 Post-Race F1 Championship Standings

Championship standings for Drivers’ and Teams after the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

2024 Post-Race F1 Drivers’ Championship Standings

1Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT110
2Sergio PérezMEXRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT85
3Charles LeclercMONFerrari76
4Carlos SainzESPFerrari69
5Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren58
6Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren38
7George RussellGBRMercedes33
8Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Mercedes31
9Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes19
10Lance StrollCANAston Martin Mercedes9
11Yuki TsunodaJPNRB-Honda RBPT7
12Oliver BearmanGBRFerrari6
13Nico HulkenbergGERHaas Ferrari4
14Kevin MagnussenDENHaas Ferrari1
15Alexander AlbonTHAWilliams Mercedes0
16Esteban OconFRAAlpine Renualt0
17Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team0
18Daniel RicciardoAUSRB-Honda RBPT0
19Pierre GaslyFRAAlpine Renualt0
20Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team0
21Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Mercedes0

2024 Post-Race F1 Constructors’ Championship Standings

1Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT195
3McLaren Mercedes96
5Aston Martin Mercedes40
6RB-Honda RBPT7
7Haas Ferrari5
8Williams Mercedes0
9Alpine Renualt0
10Stake F1 Team0

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About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

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