Max Verstappen surpasses Lewis Hamilton to claim dramatic Chinese Grand Prix Sprint victory… as Mercedes driver says second-place finish was his ‘BEST result in a long time’

  • Max Verstappen moved 15 points clear of at the top of the F1 driver standings
  • Lando Norris admitted his frustrations after the polesitter finished sixth 
  • Fernando Alonso was forced to retire after making contact with Sergio Perez 

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to claim a hard-fought victory in the first Sprint of the 2024 season at the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday. 

The Dutch driver, who started the 19-lap race in P4, moved his way through the field to surpass Fernando Alonso and Hamilton and seal victory. He is now 15 points clear of his team-mate Sergio Perez at the top of the Formula One driver standings. 

Lando Norris had started in pole position but came off the track following a costly mistake in the first lap, as he tried to fend off the Mercedes driver’s advances. The British driver ultimately dropped to sixth place, in what was a frustrating session. 

Hamilton, meanwhile, would go on to claim second place and hailed his performance as the ‘best result’ he has had in a long time.  

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez fended off advances from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to finish third on the podium after an intense battle in Shanghai. 

Alonso would also be forced to retire after making contact with Perez, with the pair going side by side into turn seven, before the Spaniard dropped back in the field.

Hamilton, who narrowly lost out on ending an 867-day wait for a victory, said to Sky Sports: ‘That’s the best result I’ve had in a long time.’

‘I’m super, super happy and grateful. Of course we couldn’t fight the Red Bulls but this is a huge step and huge improvement.’

It was, though, a frustrating session for Norris, who spoke out on the incident that saw him veer off the track due under the pressure of the Mercedes driver in the first corners of the race. 

‘I just lost it, nothing else to say,’ said Norris on his battle with Alonso. ‘Obviously tried to keep it on the outside, but just with this tarmac, [just ran] a little bit wide, coldish tyres and I just lost the rear.

‘So a shame, but it happens. A bit frustrating, but anyway, I think we struggled a lot with our pace. Like, I was just hanging on with the DRS [drag reduction system], otherwise I would have dropped back massively. Our pace was pretty poor, then picked up a bit of damage at the end. 

‘Tough race, not what we were hoping for, but a few points and I feel like we probably would have ended up in a similar position, but Lewis ended up a lot further ahead. I feel like they [Mercedes] were quicker than us but not a lot. Definitely more points were up for grabs but obviously a few mistakes cost me.’

More to follow…