2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint & Qualifying Tyre Analysis

SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, CHINA - APRIL 20: Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on Saturday April 20, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)
SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, CHINA - APRIL 20: Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on Saturday April 20, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint & Qualifying Tyre Analysis – A win and a pole position on the same day for Max Verstappen. The Dutchman made a clean sweep of it on Saturday in Shanghai, winning the first Sprint Race of the season in the morning before taking his first-ever pole position at this track in the afternoon. It was the 37th pole of his career and his Red Bull team’s one hundredth.

Verstappen’s best lap of 1’33”660, set on his last Q3 run, was less than two tenths slower than Pirelli’s simulation based on data obtained from the teams. His team-mate Sergio Perez (1’33”982) joins him on the front row, while the second row features the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso (1’34”148) and the McLaren of Lando Norris (1’34”165).

After starting the Sprint Race from fourth on the grid, Max took just nine laps to work his way to the front, passing Alonso and then Hamilton before taking off for his eighth win from 13 Sprint starts. On the virtual podium for the “short” race, he was joined by Hamilton and Perez following some exciting duels over the final few laps, involving Alonso, Perez and the Ferrari pair of Sainz and Leclerc. The two Spaniards came off worst with Carlos finishing fourth, having sustained front wing damage in a collision with his fellow countryman, who also had to pit because of a puncture picked up when they touched.

Two colours clearly dominated today’s two track sessions at the Shanghai International Circuit. In the Sprint Race, the yellow medium compound tyre was the outright favourite, used by 19 of the 20 drivers, the only exception being George Russell, whose Mercedes team opted to make the most of the additional grip provided by the red Soft in the opening laps.

Naturally, the C4 was the star of qualifying, with a single splash of yellow on the list of tyres used, courtesy of Sainz who ran the Medium for his first Q1 run.

Verstappen was presented with the Pirelli Pole Position Award by Wu Chun, now a film actor and prior to that a singer with boyband Mandopop Fahrenheit. He has starred in several Taiwanese films and TV programmes and has one of the biggest followings on Chinese social network, Weibo.

Mario Isola – Pirelli Director of Motorsport

“The second day of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend was really busy with the new format providing plenty of interest for the spectators, who once again today packed out the grandstands. The Sprint Race clearly demonstrated the good performance level of the Medium tyre and thanks to Russell, we saw that the Soft cannot be discounted as a possible compound to use in the race. It could indeed be an ideal solution for the first stint for those wishing to pit early to exploit the undercut, which is very effective here, or maybe in the closing stages of the race to try and make up some places if a driver finds himself behind others on older and therefore less effective tyres.

“Considering the high level of degradation seen so far in yesterday’s free practice and today’s Sprint, a two-stop is clearly the quickest strategy. A mix of C3 and C2 is the best on paper but, as mentioned previously, the C4 could also come into play. In terms of wear, the tyre requiring the most care is the front left, but the rears could also be given a hard time.”

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint & Qualifying Tyre Analysis

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint & Qualifying Tyre Analysis Graphic

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