Race Date: 17th April 2016
Circuit Name: Shanghai International
Practice/Qualifying: 15th & 16th April 2016
Number of Laps: 56
Circuit Length: 5.451 km
Race Distance: 305.26 km
The China Grand Prix gets underway at the Space Age Shanghai International circuit today and the main news leading up to this weekend’s GP was the embarrassing decision by F1 bosses to revert to the old qualifying format. The new format introduced at the start of the new season proved to be a farce which outraged the majority of major teams and their collective pressure on F1’s bosses lead to this week’s U-Turn by the sports rulers.
Lewis Hamilton’s 2016 season received another set-back this week as it was announced yesterday he will receive a five place grid-penalty for Sunday’s GP. The penalty was handed down as Hamilton’s Mercedes required a new gear-box after the old one sustained damage during his first corner collision at the Bahrain GP a fortnight ago.
Hamilton is still searching for his first GP win since landing the 2015 Championship at the USA GP last year and with teammate and 2016 Championship leader Rosberg in such good form it’s hard to see Hamilton recording his first GP win of 2016 this weekend, even though he’s been fastest in both qualifying sessions this season.
Mercedes have dominated the last-two China GP with Hamilton and Rosberg finishing first and second respectively in 2015 and 2014 and Hamilton also qualified fastest on both occasions. While it’s tempting to advise Hamilton for Pole Position this weekend the replacement of his old gearbox does leave some doubts in the mind so I will pass him by on this occasion.
Team-mate Rosberg has won the last two GP from first bend to last and at a canter. Rosberg’s chances of victory this Sunday have been improved by his team-mates five place grid penalty and at Even money he looks like a good bet to make it three GP wins in a row this Sunday. William’s Felipe Massa’s driving and car continue to be consistent; he’s finished fifth and eighth this season, has finished in the top-six seven times in his last ten GP, finished fifth here last season and barring any unforeseen mishaps this weekend represents good value at 2/1 to finish in the top-six again. .