• 12 JUNHO 2024
MIN 15º MÁX 23º

Max Verstappen wins first sprint race of the year at the Chinese GP

Dutch driver Max Verstappen (Red Bull) won today the first sprint race of the six scheduled for the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship season, at the Chinese Grand Prix, the fifth race of the season.

Max Verstappen wins first sprint race of the year at the Chinese GP
Notícias ao Minuto

07:04 - 20/04/24 por Lusa

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The three-time world champion and championship leader, who started from fourth place on the grid, finished the 19 laps with a 13.043-second advantage over Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who was second, and 15.258 seconds over Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull), who was third.

Briton Lando Norris (McLaren), who had pole position for this sprint race, reacted late to the start signal and was overtaken by Hamilton, who was starting from second place on the grid. In the fight to try to regain the lead, he ended up going wide on one of the first corners and sank in the standings, not going beyond the sixth final position.

The first obstacle for Max Verstappen to assault the first place was overcome. The Dutchman launched himself in pursuit of the Spaniard Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), who was, at the time, the second classified. It took seven laps to overtake the former world champion, on corner 14, rising to second place, just under two seconds behind the leader.

It seemed that the fight for the 2021 championship was being repeated, but the truth is that Hamilton gave little fight to the three-time champion. It took Verstappen just two laps to stick to the rear of the Mercedes and consummate the overtaking again on corner 14 of the Shanghai circuit, which had not hosted a Grand Prix since 2019, before the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

As soon as he took the lead, Verstappen did not slow down, digging a distance of over 13 seconds in the remaining 10 laps, with a devastating pace that places him as the main favorite to win the main race on Sunday.

If the winner had no major contest, the fight for the lowest step of the podium was intense. For more than half of the race, Fernando Alonso was in third place, but serving as a buffer for a carousel in which his compatriot Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Sergio Perez and the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) followed.

Sainz attacked Alonso, the two cars touched and the Aston Martin ended up with a flat front right tire, leading to Alonso's retirement, already in the pits.

The one who benefited the most was Perez, who took advantage of the Spanish duel to overtake the two rivals simultaneously, in the same maneuver.

When Alonso pulled into the pits, Sainz got involved in a new hand-to-hand fight, now with his teammate at Ferrari, Charles Leclerc, who got the better of it for the first time this season.

This was Verstappen's eighth triumph in sprint races, since the novelty was introduced in the championship, two years ago, and allows him to reinforce the championship lead, going from 15 to 17 points ahead of Sergio Perez, in second.

The main race of this fifth round of the year will be held on Sunday.

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