The 2018 Formula 1 World Championship resumes this weekend with round three, the Chinese Grand Prix, which once again takes place at the Shanghai International Circuit.
The 3.4-mile, 16-turn circuit is known for fast corners, a smooth surface, and plenty of overtaking opportunities. And around 80 percent of a lap is spent cornering, so the tires struggle to last, making this one of the races where strategy can make a huge difference. Pirelli has nominated its medium, soft and ultrasoft compounds.
Compared to the previous Bahrain Grand Prix, the cooler temperatures in China this time of year are much kinder on the cars and the crew, although the weather can be quite changeable and rain is often a feature. The current forecast calls for good conditions for both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race.
So far the competition has been extremely close this season between leading teams Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG. Ferrari man Sebastian Vettel is seeking his third win in a row but clearly Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be doing everything they can to prevent that. Hamilton set the fastest times during Friday's practice but Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen was right on his tail.
Going into the weekend, Vettel leads the 2018 Drivers' Championship with 50 points. Hamilton is second with 33 points and Bottas is third with 22 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads with 65 points versus the 55 of Mercedes and 22 of McLaren. Last year's winner in China was Hamilton.
In other F1 news, Ferrari has determined that a faulty sensor is the root cause of Räikkönen's impact with a mechanic during a pit stop at last weekend's race in Bahrain. The sensor was located in the wheelgun used by a mechanic at the left rear wheel of Räikkönen's car. The mechanic wasn't able to get the wheel off on the first attempt but the sensor triggered a green light signal thinking the maneuver was complete.