Ferrari will utilise the same engine from Bahrain in Charles Leclerc’s car, despite the heartbreak suffered in attempt to gain the prancing horse’s first win in China since 2013.
Following such issue in the desert, Ferrari identified it as “a short circuit within an injection-system control unit” as it was revealed they’ve never seen such problem before with that part.
To overcome the incident, hopes of a Ferrari win potentially lie with Leclerc following the continuous errors witnessed by his team-mate, Sebastian Vettel.
After the German’s spin in Bahrain, the questions over if he can handle the pressure have surged as former Renault driver, Joylon Palmer, called it “unthinkable” for a four-time World Champion to be committing such mistake incessantly.
Already 22 points behind championship leader Valtteri Bottas, Vettel is in full knowledge that he must overcome the error and win in China to not only cut the gap, but remind Leclerc who the World Champion at Ferrari is.
Considering how quick and mature the 21-year-old was in Bahrain.
However, for Vettel to do such this weekend will be a huge ask following the Mercedes dominance of recent years, winning five of the past seven races in Shanghai.
Especially with Lewis Hamilton as a rival, who holds the record for the most wins in China with five – two for McLaren and three for Mercedes.
Whilst gaining a one-two in each race so far, the Silver Arrows are still aware there is plenty to improve upon following the raw pace Ferrari showed in Bahrain qualifying. In full knowledge a strong Saturday will go a long way in bid to win their third race this season.
Although, if either Red Bull driver claims pole in China, then Formula One will witness its 100th different pole sitter at its 1000th race.
Two landmarks potentially coming into one around Shanghai.
What about China’s previous winner?
Winning from sixth on the grid in 2018, Daniel Ricciardo’s scintillating performance in Shanghai came after superb overtakes against World Champions like Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.
Yet, a year later and his performance could not be more of a contrast.
Following his risky move to midfield Renault from Red Bull, two DNFs in both races for the French team has the Australian only aiming for a point finish in China, despite the competitiveness he showed for his previous team.
However in his decision to move, it looked as though he would undoubtably be Renault’s number one driver, but Nico Hulkenberg has ensured this isn’t the case as he has been the quickest of the two so far this season.
The German claimed a solid seventh in the opening race around Albert Park, Melbourne.
But, the team have also failed to impress following their questionable performance in Bahrain, which witnessed the two drivers both retire on the last lap due to engine problems.
Three DNFs in two races is simply not good enough.
Therefore, it has been Haas at the forefront of the midfield with Renault fully aware there is plenty to improve upon, starting in China.
What about Lando Norris?
With a much more competitive McLaren car than of recent years, this has enabled Norris to drive into Q3 on both qualifying sessions of the season, despite only being a 19-year-old rookie.
Although in Australia he couldn’t transfer his Q3 into a point finish, he did so in Bahrain and what a drive it was.
Qualifying tenth, the Brit then went onto finish sixth thus causing people to heap the praise on the rookie, considering he has out-performed his team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, in both races.
Eyes will be fixed on the 19-year-old to see if he can continue his fine form in China and build momentum as the McLaren car looks to now be on an upward curve in terms of competitiveness, as Norris revealed it is “better than he anticipated”.
Therefore, a captivating battle lies ahead around Shanghai as Formula One arrives at its 1,000th Grand Prix, but an early start for British viewers as the race starts at 07:10.
However, it looks to be well worth the early start as the 2019 season continues to be as intriguing as ever.
First seen on Formula 1