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Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix 2024

Winners and Losers from 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix

Who has made the list of Winners and Losers from the 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix weekend?

Ricciardo China race
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

It was not quite a perfect weekend for Max Verstappen as the Chinese Grand Prix returned to the calendar for the first time since 2019.

Yes, he won the sprint and converted Red Bull's 100th F1 pole into his 58th F1 win but as ever, that doesn't leave a lot to write about his weekend.

This article has received some criticism in the past for ignoring Verstappen after such a win, and there are only so many times it is possible to write about Verstappen doing Verstappen things without it becoming repetitive and boring to write and for you to read.

Instead, the idea is to bring you stories from up and down the field that you might have missed - and we start with Lando Norris.

Winner - Lando Norris

Sprint race pole, fourth on the grand prix grid and a second place represents a good weekend from Norris, a driver who was downbeat after fluffing that sprint pole.

A bad launch on the new medium tyres cost him as Lewis Hamilton hung him out to dry as Norris attempted to go around the outside, but he was never going to win that race.

Second was the minimum he should have delivered, but the team rallied behind him on Saturday, before he delivered yet another podium in the race.

His driving after the safety car restart was first-rate to maintain the gap to Sergio Perez in the chasing Red Bull - a much faster package than the McLaren which continues to struggle in the low-speed corners.

Perez was 5.7s behind the Briton when he finally passed Perez - and that gap was 5.4s by the end of the race.

It did briefly fall to 3.8s after a mistake from Norris, but he earned his time back in typical gritty fashion.

A weekend that ended on the up for a driver who just needs a little more self-belief at times.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Sergio Perez

And on the flip-side, we have Perez.

It was not his fault that the safety cars meant Red Bull would opt to pit for the second time to switch to a new set of hards, but with half the race to go, it was a sure expectation that he would have passed Norris and Leclerc in a car that in his team-mates hands was at times 1.5s per lap faster.

He pulled a nice move on Fernando Alonso for second after being mugged at the start, and in truth, falling to third at the start made no difference.

But he took too long to pass Leclerc and made no inroads into catching Norris.

It is still a podium and this race won't be the crucial deciding factor in whether he stays for next season, but it just adds a crumb of doubt in Red Bull's minds.

Even though he has made a big step forward over the winter, what is worrying is that Verstappen has as well, and it looks at the moment as if Perez cannot beat his team-mate, which at times he has proved capable of doing.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Nico Hulkenberg

Five races in, and Nico Hulkenberg has scored points in three of them and was 11th in another.

He is having a quietly fantastic season, picking up what is on the table for Haas, when it is realistically fighting for 10th place in races provided the top four teams and Alonso hoover up P1-P9 with Lance Stroll usually struggling to be where he should.

Once again, he stared in qualifying with ninth on the grid in another Q3 appearance for a driver who has revitalised his career and looks set to be around for the medium-to-long term if he does move to Stake/Audi as he has been touted to.

If there are any further bigger prizes on offer for Hulkenberg and Haas in the coming races, it is the combination to be there to deliver whereas their rivals can blow hot and cold.

Hulkenberg might not blow white-hot but he does so consistently and hoovers up whatever that car is capable of on the day.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner and Loser - Daniel Ricciardo

An unusual situation here where a driver counts as both a Winner and Loser in the same race.

Armed with a new chassis, Ricciardo had a much improved weekend up until he was rammed by Stroll.

He out-qualified Yuki Tsunoda by nearly half-a-second in the sprint, finished five places ahead in it, and was three-tenths ahead in qualifying for the grand prix, making Q2 whilst Tsunoda took the back-row.

In the race, the Australian was a legitimate contender for points and was running ninth under the safety car before Stroll took him out. It was exactly the type of weekend Ricciardo needed and he should take some much-needed confidence from it, even if he will carry a three-place grid drop into Miami for overtaking under the safety car - something the veteran of 244 grands prix shouldn't have done.

And then came Stroll.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Lance Stroll

Whatever the cause of the concertina effect that Stroll claimed - and was probably correct in apportioning the blame to - this was unacceptable.

Stroll is no mug and a driver who has been around for eight years now and has 148 starts to his name.

You have to expect that the field will bunch up at a hairpin as the safety car ends and be prepared for that.

He wasn't looking at the RB in front of him, focusing on the apex of the corner and rammed Ricciardo into the air - with the Australian then destroying the back of Oscar Piastri's car ahead in the chain reaction.

He was hit with a 10-second time penalty and a couple of penalty points.

For a driver under pressure as questions are asked about his value to the team given what Alonso is doing in the other car, this was just not on, and rounded off a poor weekend.

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