Hamilton struggled throughout the weekend, but when it mattered in qualifying, he produced a strong lap to secure a front row start. With starts being arguably his weakest area, he was on top of it this weekend, and after taking the lead into the first turn, controlled proceeding unchallenged thereon in.
It was a more on form Bottas this weekend after a poor showing in Bahrain. Taking his seventh pole position, Bottas’ chance of a win slipped away mere metres into the Grand Prix. However, he kept Hamilton in his sights throughout to secure another 1-2 finish for Mercedes.
After a disastrous outing in Bahrain, Vettel was gunning for the win in Shanghai. However, as Mercedes was simply in a class of its own, a podium finish was probably the best he could have achieved.
Verstappen did well to split the Ferraris in the race after heavily outperforming teammate Pierre Gasly in qualifying. He had a go on Sebastian Vettel, but just didn’t have the pace in the car to keep up with the German.
Leclerc ended up getting hit hard by Ferraris strategy call. It seemed he lacked a little pace compared to Vettel throughout the weekend, but still should have finished in at least fourth place.
Heading into the season, Red Bull probably expected Gasly to pick up mostly sixth place positions. That he managed in China but was still a long, long way off Verstappen. Nevertheless, it was an improvement from Australia and Bahrain.
It was the race that Ricciardo was hoping for. After two consecutive DNF’s for Renault, picking up the ‘best of the rest spot’ and his first points of the year was exactly what he needed as he continues to acclimatise himself in his new team.
Typical Sergio Perez. After missing out on a spot in Q3, the Mexican perfected a one-stop strategy, doing what he does best. Obtaining more points for Racing Point, it was a smooth and successful race for the 29-year-old.
Like Bahrain, Raikkonen had a pretty quiet weekend. After ending his streak of Q3 appearances, he too drove a one-stop strategy and picked up more points for Alfa Romeo.
Albon was the popular choice for Driver of the Day after the race, as he drove to a solid P10 finish after starting from the pit lane. It was a great race drive, but his wreck in FP3 which put him out of qualifying can’t go unmentioned. It remains to be seen if his Honda power unit can be used again going forward.
Grosjean was unlucky to not be able to set a time in the final stage of qualifying, as Haas came from having no pace in Friday practice to getting both cars in Q3 when it mattered. Even though they did not show the pace that they had at the first race of the season in Australia, it was strategy which was the limiting factor that meant Grosjean couldn’t score any points.
Stroll has continued his seven-race streak of being eliminated in Q1 (although four of these were for Williams), and he did not show the same pace that his teammate Perez had in his Racing Point during the race. A late pitstop prevented him from a possible P11 finish, but this would still not have earned the Canadian any points.
Magnussen had a similar strategy to his teammate Romain Grosjean, a strategy that ultimately didn’t work. However, the Dane did not have the speed of Grosjean in the race.
Sainz suffered yet another blow in what has been a horrible start to the season for the Spaniard, as he lost a lot of time in his first lap collision with Kvyat. He extracted all he could from the car in qualifying, where he was comfortably faster than his teammate Norris, and then had good race pace in his comeback drive.
Giovinazzi is had another weekend to forget, where he was unlucky to not be able to complete a timed lap in qualifying. However, he also was quite far off the pace of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen during the race. The Italian also managed to be beaten by Sainz, which should never have happened given the gap between the pair after lap one.
Yet again we do not feel that it would be fair to give the Williams’ drivers a rating, as they can only be compared against themselves. It was still a relatively good performance from Russell, who made a two-stop strategy work to beat his teammate Kubica for the third race running.
Kubica had a much better weekend than the previous two rounds of the season, as he was much closer to his teammate George Russell both in qualifying and the race. He is still suffering from issues with his Williams car that aren’t apparrent on Russell’s FW42.
Norris had his first retirement in Formula 1 at the Chinese Grand Prix, which came after a disappointing qualifying meant he was caught up in the first lap incident with Kvyat and his teammate Sainz. He didn’t have much pace in the race up until his retirement, due to heavy damage to the floor, sustained during the incident.
Kvyat performed well in qualifying to miss out on a Q3 appearance by only 0.022s, the stewards deemed the Russian to be the cause of the first lap incident with the two McLarens. This meant he was awarded a drive-through penalty, which effectively ruined his race. Toro Rosso later retired the car to reduce the engine and gearbox mileage.
After losing out by a small margin in qualifying to Ricciardo, Hulkenberg was unfortunate to have to retire his RS19 after only 15 laps due to yet another MGU-K problem for Renault.