2016 Formula One Chinese Grand Prix preview

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Shanghai International Circuit, home of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix

Shanghai International Circuit, home of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix

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Round three of the 2016 Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit in China.

The Chinese Grand Prix has called the Shanghai International Circuit its home since the inaugural race in 2004.

The layout of the track is meant to resemble a Chinese character meaning “high” or “above” and the length measures in at just under 3.4 miles. The track is distinguished by its long straight, the longest of the season, as well as its high-speed corners and numerous opportunities for overtaking.

Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix

Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix

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Aerodynamic performance is crucial due to the track’s long back straight and combination of sweeping turns. Around 80 percent of a lap is spent cornering, which means energy is nearly always going into the tires. Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and supersoft compounds for the race.

Looking ahead at the weather for the weekend, rain is predicted for tomorrow’s qualifying session but Sunday’s race should be a dry affair. It should be noted that in Shanghai the qualifying format is reverting to the system used in the previous seasons due to the new knockout format implemented this year proving unfavorable with fans and teams alike.  

It’s also been confirmed that reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton will suffer a five-spot grid penalty due to a decision to replace the gearbox in his Mercedes AMG. You’ll recall the gearbox played up in the previous race in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

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In addition, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has been cleared to race this weekend. He sat out the previous race as a precaution following his violent impact in the season-opening race in Australia.

After the second practice session on Friday, Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] showed impressive pace. Its drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel were at the top of the time sheets though Mercedes AMG’s Nico Rosberg and Hamilton were close behind.  

Going into qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s race, Rosberg leads the 2016 Drivers’ Championship with 50 points. Hamilton is second with 33 points and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo is third with 24 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 83 points versus the 33 of Ferrari and 30 of Red Bull. Last year’s winner of the Chinese Grand Prix was Hamilton.

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