Shanghai is a technical, challenging circuit, with a couple of relatively long straights connected with a flowing series of corners. Like other Herman-Tilke designed circuits, it stretches the drivers as well as the cars, and offers opportunity for overtaking.
The challenge starts with the first corner, where the cars brake from near maximum speed for a long, tightening right hand corner. Another tough left hand corner further round the lap means that there is a huge load on the both the front tyres, ensuring they get a real workout.
Preventing the teams from simply adding downforce to minimise the wear problems, the back straight is about a kilometre long, and the start/finish is not much shorter, so a balance must be struck with drag in order to maintain outright speed on those straights.