Preview – Chinese Grand Prix
Two wins from two for Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, could be things be going any better for the team? Well the little bit of Australia which is the other side of the garage probably thinks so and that pesky KERS refuses to be everything it is supposed to be cracked up to be. However, while Christian Horner may just self-combust if one more person asks him about flexible front wings, can anyone stop them from making it three out of three?
McLaren would like to think they can. After a brave decision to drop their original exhaust system put them close in Australia, Lewis Hamilton nearly pinched pole in Malaysia. The team’s exhaustive development programme continues apace with new updates, reputedly a new floor and diffuser, set for appraisal ahead of this weekend’s race. Unfortunately, two poor starts from Lewis Hamilton has hampered his progress so far – a big let-off for Vettel as Red Bull have struggled to come to grips with KERS.
“Off the back of two successive podium finishes for the team, we’re not only hopeful of maintaining our finishing record, but of improving it too. We’ve made no secret of our desire to take the fight to Red Bull, and we’re fully aware that stronger opposition will make it harder for them to have a smooth and uninterrupted weekend.”
Elsewhere, a potentially wet qualifying session offers a glimpse of hope for the chasing pack but realistically, it looks like once again they’ll be left to pick up any scraps that come their way – something Renault have been particularly adept at so far in 2011.
Ones To Watch
McLaren made it a one-two finish last year and armed with the Mercedes engine and arguably the strongest KERS on the grid, the long straights may give them an extra edge this weekend. Perhaps Vettel won’t have it all his own way?
After missing the 107% mark by a country mile in Melbourne, Hispania were comfortably inside last weekend. In fact, with their current rate of development, maybe they’re the team to threaten Red Bull’s dominance? (Or maybe not.)
Practice 1: 10:00
Practice 2: 14:00
|While the first practice session is likely to be dry, increased chance of rain later. Maximum temperatures of 24°C|
Practice 3: 13:00
|Scattered showers, with a 40% probability that qualifying will be affected, maximum temperatures of 24°C|
|Set to remain dry with a northwesterly breeze, maximum temperatures of 22°C|
Our guide to the Shanghai International Circuit: Track Notes – Shanghai
Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Mercedes GP Petronas, Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Williams F1, Virgin Racing