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The seven biggest talking points from the Chinese Grand Prix

Lando Norris stars as Lance Stroll crashes behind the safety car

Chinese Grand Prix 2024
  • Lando Norris needs a race-winning car immediately

    Lando Norris needs a race-winning car immediately

    McLaren arrived in China expecting to have a rough weekend, but for long and complicated reasons to do with the nuances of how tyres work, the team enjoyed its most competitive outing of 2024 so far. Shows us what we know

    In the hands of Lando Norris, McLaren grabbed pole by an almighty 1.3 seconds in the Sprint Shootout, and in the grand prix itself the 24-year-old was rapid throughout as he turned P4 into P2 at the chequered flag.

    The turning point came when the safety car allowed him to pit ahead of Sergio Perez, and with the Mexican over-exerting his tyres to get back past the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, it meant Norris was actually faster than the second Red Bull in the closing stages of the race.

    Lando is unquestionably now in that top tier of drivers that’s home to Verstappen, Alonso, Leclerc and Hamilton… question is, when will he get into a car befitting of his talents?

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  • Lance Stroll had a big impact on the race

    Lance Stroll had a big impact on the race

    Sorry, in the race. The Aston Martin driver was caught out as the field concertina’d up behind the safety car, slamming into the back of RB’s Daniel Ricciardo who then shunted into McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, leaving one Aussie out of the race and the other with crippling damage.

    Stroll pleaded his innocence after the race but Danny Ric was furious, pointing out - while using some unrepeatable language - that the on-board footage had shown the Canadian wasn’t looking ahead in the milliseconds before the crash.

    Just one of those things, or does Ricciardo have a point?

  • Mixed fortunes for Hamilton

    Mixed fortunes for Hamilton

    A weekend of two halves. Lewis Hamilton made the most of the wet conditions in the Sprint Shootout, somehow dragging his Mercedes onto the front row of the grid on Friday before snatching the lead away from Lando Norris when the lights went out.

    Obviously there was no stopping Max Verstappen’s charge to victory, but Lewis still clung on to finish where he started and bag some useful points heading into qualifying proper. Had Mercedes finally unlocked the W15’s potential?

    Er, no. Or if they had they quickly locked it again, with the team still experimenting with setup having failed to pinpoint the sweet spot that the computer insists is there somewhere. Suddenly Hamilton was nowhere in qualifying, knocked out at the first opportunity in P18 and did well to recover some points on Sunday.

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  • When is a stopped car not a stopped car?

    When is a stopped car not a stopped car?

    When it unstops itself, apparently. Carlos Sainz brought qualifying to a shuddering halt in Q2 when he lost it at the final corner and spun his Ferrari into the wall. The crash brought out the red flag but the Spaniard was able to get going again, and with no repairs needed he went straight back out and went third quickest, eventually qualifying seventh.

    Cue a protest from Aston Martin, on the grounds that the rules say that any car that stops on track may not continue in the session.

    A good spot, but the stewards dismissed it on the basis that Sainz had had no outside help and could therefore carry on as normal.

    The sensible outcome, surely?

  • We all shed a tear with Zhou Guanyu

    We all shed a tear with Zhou Guanyu

    He didn’t score any points, but Zhou Guanyu still got his moment to shine after the race had finished with a special board out just for him on the main straight. It meant the Sauber driver - who became the first native to take part in the Chinese Grand Prix - could acknowledge the crowd properly, having first visited the circuit as a fan aged five… way back in 2004.

    What a moment for him.

  • Is Alonso a goalkeeper?

    Is Alonso a goalkeeper?

    Because that was an incredible save. Fitted with fresh tyres for a late charge back up the field, Fernando was chasing Lewis Hamilton when the Spaniard had a massive snap of oversteer exiting the final corner.

    With a tyre in the gravel, the Aston driver somehow rescued himself with a lightning-fast dab of oppo’, quickly moving back onto the Merc’s gearbox and dispatching Lewis on his way to P7. No wonder he’s signed up for many more years to come.

  • We are here for Nico Rosberg’s commentary

    We are here for Nico Rosberg’s commentary

    Sky Sports viewers were treated to the presence of Nico Rosberg (pictured here many years ago, because we could find anything more recent) in the commentary box this weekend, and the 2016 world champ (or perhaps YouTuber-slash-business-tycoon, depending on your age) pulled absolutely no punches as he laid into every driver who cared to make a mistake during the Chinese GP.

    Naturally he took the opportunity to slate former teammate/arch nemesis Lewis Hamilton for blaming his setup for being behind George Russell, although to give him his dues he did later say Lewis was one of the top five drivers ever.

    More Nico, please.

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