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Formula One Chinese Grand Prix Preview

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McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix

McLaren at the 2013 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix

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We’re now at the third race of the 2013 Formula One season, the Chinese Grand Prix, which once again is taking place at the Shanghai International Circuit.

Built in 2004, the 3.4-mile circuit features a long back straight--also the DRS activation zone where drivers have plenty of opportunities to overtake--followed by a hairpin turn.

The circuit is also one where strategy can make a huge difference: in the past we’ve seen a wide variety of strategies being used, with some very close finishes.

Compared to the previous Malaysian Grand Prix, the cooler temperatures in China are much kinder on both crew and cars, although the weather can be quite changeable and rain is quite often a feature.

The surface of the Shanghai International Circuit is quite hard on tires, so that could prove a challenge for teams. Pirelli has brought its P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tires to China: the same combination as last year, although all compounds generally are softer and faster this year.

At the same time, the company also has its Cinturato Green intermediates and Cinturato Blue full wets in case the weather turns sour. The current weather forecast is cool but dry conditions and only partly cloudy skies.

Much of the attention this weekend will be on Red Bull Racing duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, due to their apparent fallout during the previous race in Malaysia. Vettel concedes that the race outcome will still be in people's minds but his focus now is on the race in China.

After two races, he leads the Drivers’ Championship with 40 points, followed by Lotus’ Kimi Räikkönen with 31 points and Mark Webber with 26 points.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull Racing leads with 66 points, followed by Lotus and Ferrari both on 40 points.

Stay tuned for our complete coverage over the race weekend, including a weather forecast tomorrow, qualifying report on Saturday and full results coverage on Monday.
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