Pole chasing Mercs won't match McLaren on race day
Mercedes's red hot qualifying pace offers Michael Schumacher a chance of a 69th pole in China, but if you're looking for a race winner at Shanghai says Mark Hughes, it's still between McLaren and Red Bull's drivers
The long straights of Shanghai circuit are playing beautifully to the double DRS system of the Mercedes, confirmed legal yesterday after Lotus's protest. It looks that way during qualifying simulation anyway.
Last week Ross Brawn spoke of how he was hopeful that the drop in competitiveness from qualifying to race days of Australia and Malaysia was nothing more than set up problems and largely unconnected to the DRS system. He was putting it down to poor choices to do with tyre management. But the pattern in second practice here suggests the shortfall of race pace is still very much there.
Michael Schumacher was fastest of all in qualifying simulation, the system even more potent around here than in Malaysia, thanks to the huge length of the back straight. But in race trim - without using the DRS system at all - both Mercs dropped quickly off the pace, on both types of tyre.
Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order
Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon
OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight
Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition
Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory
Friday's press conference - China
Six of the best: AUTOSPORT answers your Chinese GP questions