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  • Max Verstappen Wins China F Sprint Race Ahead Of Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen wins China F1 sprint race ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen denied Lewis Hamilton the first sprint win of his career after passing his rival to win in China on Saturday.

Hamilton started second, and rolled back the years at the Shanghai International Circuit by beating pole-sitter Lando Norris off the line, and taking control of the 19-lap charge to the chequered flag.

But Verstappen, who started fourth, ended Hamilton's dream of re-entering the winner's enclosure for the first time in 867 days when he blasted past the Mercedes driver on the ninth lap.

Verstappen crossed the line 13 seconds clear of Hamilton with Sergio Perez taking third.

Hamilton joined Norris to form an all-British front-row in something of a topsy-turvy grid following yesterday's rain-hit qualifying session.

The seven-time world champion was quicker away from his marks than Norris, and as they entered the first corner, he was fractionally ahead of his compatriot.

Hamilton hugged the inside line of the long, right-handed first bend, with Norris desperately trying to remain at least on level terms.

But off the racing line, Norris struggled for grip, and he slid off the track, dropping back down the field to seventh.

Hamilton, who has endured the worst-ever start to a season in his misfiring Mercedes machine, was back in the lead of an F1 race, with Fernando Alonso tucked in behind and Verstappen being forced to fend off Carlos Sainz.

"Why is my battery flat," yelled Verstappen as he struggled to make any impression on Alonso ahead.

For a moment, it looked as though Hamilton could be in a position to take the victory – his first of any sort in F1 since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5, 2021, only for Verstappen to sensationally unlock the speed in his all-conquering Red Bull machine.

On the seventh lap, Verstappen passed Alonso at the penultimate corner and then set about closing the 1.8-second gap to Hamilton.

The Mercedes driver was immediately on the radio. "This thing won't turn in the low-speed corners," he bemoaned, with Verstappen taking a second out of his lead in just one lap.

At the start of lap nine, Verstappen was crawling all over the back of Hamilton's mirrors in scenes reminiscent of their championship battle for the ages back in 2021.

Hamilton's race engineer Peter Bonnington came on the intercom to tell Hamilton that Verstappen was behind.

"Leave me to it, man," snapped Hamilton. "I can see him."

Verstappen moved into Hamilton's tow on the 210mph drag to the last-but one corner before jinking to the right of the Mercedes and launching his Red Bull up the inside.

Hamilton was unable to afford any sort of resistance and Verstappen made the move stick. He then demonstrated the speed of his Red Bull by establishing a two-second lead in just one lap.

Further back, and Alonso, 43 this summer, was commendably keeping a gaggle of faster cars behind.

But his resistance ended on a fascinating 16th lap which saw him go wheel-to-wheel with the Ferrari of Sainz.

Alonso and Sainz even banged wheels through the seventh corner with Perez able to sneak ahead of the duelling duo. Charles Leclerc followed through, too, as Alonso lost three places in one lap before diving into the pits with a front-right puncture. He later retired the car.

Sainz then appeared to force team-mate Leclerc off the road as they battled for fourth position in the closing stages.

"What the f***," yelled Leclerc who managed to pass his team-mate a few corners later to finished fourth. Sainz crossed the line in fifth with Norris sixth.

Speaking after the race, Hamilton said he was pleased with the result.

"This is the best result I have had in a long time so I am super happy," he said.

"This is a huge step and a huge improvement. The rain helped yesterday. The race was tough and if I started further back I would have struggled to make progress."


2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix - Sprint Race Results

1 Max Verstappen NED Oracle Red Bull Racing 19 Laps
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team +13.043s
3 Sergio Perez MEX Oracle Red Bull Racing +15.258s
4 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari +17.486s
5 Carlos Sainz ESP Scuderia Ferrari +20.696s
6 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team +22.088s
7 Oscar Piastri AUS McLaren F1 Team +24.713s
8 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team +25.696s
9 Zhou Guanyu CHN Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber +31.951s
10 Kevin Magnussen DEN MoneyGram Haas F1 Team +37.398s
11 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Visa Cash App RB F1 Team +37.840s
12 Valtteri Bottas FIN Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber +38.295s
13 Esteban Ocon FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team +39.841s
14 Lance Stroll CAN Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team +40.299s
15 Pierre Gasly FRA BWT Alpine F1 Team +40.838s
16 Yuki Tsunoda JPN Visa Cash App RB F1 Team +41.870s
17 Alex Albon THA Williams Racing +42.998s
18 Logan Sargeant USA Williams Racing +46.352s
19 Nico Hulkenberg GER MoneyGram Haas F1 Team +49.630s
  Fernando Alonso ESP Aston Martin Aramco F1 Team DNF

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