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2013 Chinese Grand Prix Preview

Apr 11, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of China - Previews Getty Images

The three week break has done little to extinguish any talk about “multi 21” and the internal battle at Red Bull Racing, but as we return to the far east for the Chinese Grand Prix, the stage is set for a thrilling race on Sunday.

Chinese Grand Prix Talking Points

Webber requires a strong result

Just when you thought the multi 21 debate was over, Sebastian Vettel has today said that Mark Webber didn’t deserve to win in Malaysia, reigniting the battle within Red Bull. Webber will be keen on beating Vettel to silence the critics and, most importantly, his teammate. If there ever was a time for the Australian to pull a result out of the bag, then this is it, although the head-to-head stats between the drivers in China during their time at Red Bull together reads 3-1 in Vettel’s favor.

Ferrari and Mercedes look to bridge the gap

Fernando Alonso’s retirement in Malaysia has been seen as an embarrassing event for both the driver and the team, but Ferrari will need to move on in China. Typically, the team struggles in the early season, yet Felipe Massa’s two strong scores will give them hope of a good result in China. Mercedes will look to move on from their own team orders debacle, and the track will provide many happy memories from the team’s first win last season.

Who is leading the early season development race?

The three week break has given teams their first chance to work on upgrades and new parts for their cars. McLaren claim they have made steps forward following their worst start to a season in over a decade, whilst Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg is confident that his team has made big strides during the break. Alternatively, Williams have written off China and Bahrain, claiming that they are waiting until Spain for their first major package: news that both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will undoubtedly grimace at.

Dry running could finally reveal the pecking order

Both Australia and Malaysia saw an element of wet running over the race weekend, masking the true pace of each team in places. However, the forecast for Shanghai does not mention any rain, meaning that we could finally see where each team stands in 2013 – could being the key word.

A big weekend for Chinese motorsport and Ma Qing Hua

The 2013 Chinese Grand Prix will be the tenth running of the race, but this year’s event is particularly special: Ma Qing Hua will become the first Chinese driver to compete at his home grand prix, deputizing for Caterham’s Charles Pic in Free Practice 1 on Friday. If he can impress, and if the rumors about Pic’s financial stability are vindicated, then it may not be long until China has its first full time Formula One driver.

Track: Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai (5.451km)
Laps: 56
Corners: 16
Lap Record: Michael Schumacher 1:32.238s (2004)
Tire Compounds: Soft (Option); Medium (Hard)
2012 Winner: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012 Pole Position: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
2012 Fastest Lap: Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber) – 1:39.960
DRS Zones: Main straight (T16 to T1); T13 to T14

Friday – Free Practice 1: 10:00am local/10:00pm ET (Thursday)
Friday – Free Practice 2: 14:00pm local/02:00am ET
Saturday – Free Practice 3: 11:00am local/11:00pm ET (Friday)
Saturday – Qualifying: 14:00pm local/02:00am ET
Sunday – Race: 15:00pm local/03:00am ET

  1. ditto65 - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Webber should have cleaned Vettel’s clock.

    • manchestermiracle - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      Here’s hoping he does so in this race.

    • apexassassin - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      Oh, you said “clock”… my bad. I was about to tell you Webber does a great knob-polishing. It’s all he’s good for.

  2. manchestermiracle - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Gosh, that Vettel sure is a stout teammate, isn’t he? If that chip he’s got on his shoulder gets any bigger he’ll start looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame. For someone who’s supposed to be the #1 driver on his team he’s turning out to be a real douchebag.

    • ditto65 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:42 PM

      Douchebag is what came to my mind as well.

      • chaparral2f - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:31 PM

        Same thought I had about your comment. Kind of fits you, doesn’t it?

    • chaparral2f - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      Tell us how you really feel. Gosh, might you be one of the sheeple who is just mad and pouting because Seb has owned Webber for three consecutive seasons? I seriously doubt you have ever like Seb. BTW, how do you feel about Alonso? Just wondering….

  3. chaparral2f - Apr 12, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    I like the first part about Webber shutting up. The guy is another David Coulthard. I hope Seb cleans Webber’s clock so badly that Webber will think about retiring after the Chinese Grand Prix. I have to assume that those people who are backing Webber are secretly Alonso fans. The two kind of go together. Go Seb!

    • techmeister1 - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

      There are some real clowns on here with ignorant comments.

      One way or another Vettel will get what he has coming to him and he ain’t gonna be happy when it happens. Generally in life what goes around comes around. Vettel was a nice young man when he first came to F1 but as with Hamilton, fame and fortune turned the two of them into egomaniacs. Yes they are good drivers but they aren’t the best drivers in F1 past or present. Without an exceptional car neither one of them ends up on the podium.

  4. purplesectornet - Apr 15, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    The only one ignorant is you. Vettel is a three time champion – you may not like him but that makes him better than good.

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