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Verstappen dominates the Chinese Grand Prix amid safety car chaos

Max Verstappen took an impressive victory at the Chinese Grand Prix, navigating a race marred by two safety car periods. The Red Bull driver finished well ahead of second-placed Lando Norris of McLaren and his teammate Sergio Perez, who completed the podium.

At the start, Fernando Alonso briefly overtook Perez for second place, but the Mexican driver regained the position a few laps later. The McLaren duo of Norris and Oscar Piastri held firm in the chasing pack until Valtteri Bottas’ retirement triggered a virtual safety car, followed by a full safety car as marshals struggled to remove the stricken Stake F1 Sauber car.

Thanks to the safety car period, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Norris were able to leave Perez behind, while Verstappen extended his lead at the front. Shortly after the restart, another safety car was deployed due to a collision between Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and Daniel Ricciardo’s Visa Cash App RB, which ultimately led to Ricciardo’s retirement. Yuki Tsunoda, also from Visa Cash App RB, retired after contact with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

In the final stages, Perez managed to overtake Leclerc and claim third place, while Norris held onto second place. Leclerc finished fourth, while his teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. finished fifth after a challenging race. George Russell had a quiet performance but remained sixth for Mercedes, ahead of Alonso, who set the fastest lap. Piastri took eighth place after suffering floor damage from contact with Ricciardo, allowing him to hold off a recovering Lewis Hamilton in ninth. Nico Hulkenberg claimed the final point for Haas in tenth.

Esteban Ocon (11th) and Pierre Gasly (13th) finished outside the points for Alpine, separated by Alexander Albon’s Williams in 12th. Home favorite Guanyu Zhou was 14th, the only finisher for Stake F1 Sauber. Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen were each hampered by a 10-second time penalty, leaving them 15th and 16th respectively. Logan Sargeant was the last classified finisher in 17th place for Williams.

Despite the safety car interventions, Verstappen’s superiority was clear: the Dutchman finished 13.7 seconds ahead of Norris, who himself was 5.5 seconds ahead of Perez in the identical Red Bull machine.

Classification

1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

2. Lando Norris, McLaren, +4.034

3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing, +4.624

4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +20,179

5. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +35.403

6. George Russell, Mercedes, +32.925

7. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +37.206

8. Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +47.432

9. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +51.414

10. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas F1 Team, +55.629

11. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +55.696

12. Alexander Albon, Williams, +58.065

13. Pierre Gasly, Alpine, +62.402

14. Guanyu Zhou, F1 Sauber bet, +59.542

15. Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +58.768

16. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +68.889

17. Logan Sargeant, Williams, +72.155

Pensions

Daniel Ricciardo (Visa Cash App RB) – lap 34, crash damage

Yuki Tsunoda (Visa Cash App RB) – lap 27, crash

Valtteri Bottas (Stake F1 Sauber) – lap 21, engine failure