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Chinese Grand Prix: Veterans could spring a Shanghai surprise
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Adam Scriven
Fernando Alonso has signed a contract extension with Aston Martin
Fernando Alonso has signed a contract extension with Aston Martin

- Mercedes have won five of the last six Chinese Grands Prix
- Fernando Alonso has won the Chinese Grand Prix twice in his career

- Recommended bets:

Fernando Alonso top-six finish
Nico Hulkenberg top-10 finish

It was a return to normal service in Japan last time as Max Verstappen led home a Red Bull 1-2 following the team's travails in Australia.

However, the pack are slowly but surely catching up and with this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix taking place at a circuit that has not been raced for five years, could we be in for a surprise in Shanghai?

The stats

There has been no Chinese Grand Prix since 2019, but Red Bull won the race in 2009 and 2018.

All four of this year's races have seen a team claim a 1-2 finish - three for Red Bull and one for Ferrari in Australia.

Carlos Sainz has finished on the podium in all three races he started in 2024.

Fernando Alonso has two top-six finishes in the last three races.

Nico Hulkenberg has two top-10 finishes in the last three races.

McLaren claimed a Sprint victory and two Sprint pole positions last season.

Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz have shared the podium after two of this year's four races
Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz have shared the podium after two of this year's four races


There are a host of curveballs being thrown at the F1 teams this weekend, not least of which is that the last time the series visited Shanghai the cars were built to a completely different set of rules.

Teams rely on historical data to decide on strategies and car set-ups, but they have no information relevant to the current generation of machines and will treat this like a race at a new circuit.

The last time that happened, in Vegas last year, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc came close to denying Verstappen his 18th win of the season, and there are more factors to muddy the waters in China.

This is the first of six Sprint weekends, and features just one hour of practice rather than the usual three, and even that could be disrupted with a threat of rain forecast.

One driver who will not be fazed by whatever is thrown at him is Fernando Alonso.

Having committed his long-term future to Aston Martin, the man with more F1 miles on his clock than anyone in history is relaxed, focused and happy.

While he has not racked up the string of podiums that started last year with, Alonso has nonetheless done a superb job to earn ninth, fifth, eighth and sixth-place finishes in this season's first four races.

The Spaniard, who has won twice in Shanghai, should find the many tight corners suits his green machine, which cannot be said of the McLarens, who have started the season a little disappointingly.

That could leave Alonso battling the Mercedes cars of George Russell and his old sparring partner Lewis Hamilton for the best-of-the-rest title behind the Red Bulls and Ferraris, and the veteran looks overpriced at 3/1 for a top-six finish.

Fans of the Netflix documentary show Drive to Survive will be well aware of the ups and downs of life at Haas, but this season has started fairly brightly for the American-owned team.

With the five top teams holding a bigger-than-usual advantage over the chasing pack, points have been hard to come by for the lower half of the grid this year, but Haas have registered three top-10 finishes.

Two of those were earned by German Veteran Nico Hulkenberg, and he is of interest at 15/8 to finish in the top 10 and increase his tally in China.

Hulkenberg finished 10th in Saudi Arabia, helped by some superb defensive driving by his team-mate Kevin Magnussen behind, before leading home the Dane as they finished ninth and 10th in Australia.

The German was just outside the points in 11th in Japan last time, but the unusual weekend format gives his team a chance to shake up the established order.

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