For the second weekend in succession, we were treated to an exciting race in a season that's shaping up to be a close battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. After a race of incidents, Red Bull won the tactical battle as Daniel Ricciardo pulled off some exciting passing moves to claim the victory. Here's the pictorial highlights of our weekend in Shanghai at the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix!
As always, our weekend began on Thursday afternoon with some special trackside activities for our guests, including a Drive the Track Tour, an Exclusive Pit Lane Walk and Photo Op with the winner’s trophy on the Main Straight. The new Formula 1® Pirelli Hot Laps cars were also in action with some lucky guests being driven around the circuit by well-known drivers, including Martin Brundle and Sunday’s race winner Daniel Ricciardo! The drivers were also out to meet the fans and sign some autographs on the Main Straight, including a smiling Fernando Alonso.
Lewis Hamilton finished both of Friday’s practice sessions with the fastest time, but there was little to separate Mercedes and Ferrari at the top of the timesheets. Light rain began to fall during the last minutes of the second practice session, which turned into a downpour when our Insider Access to the F1® paddock began for our Trophy and Hero Package guests. Luckily, we were able to seek refuge in the Pirelli tyre tent! We also visited the Haas Team Garage and Bernd Mayländer told us all about the F1 Safety Car as some of our guests took the opportunity to get behind the wheel! The evening finished with our Paddock Club™ Party, with Force India’s Esteban Ocon as our special guest. After a Q&A with F1 Experiences’ James O’Brien, Esteban was happy to pose for photos.
On Saturday, we welcomed over 100 corporate guests into the Formula One Paddock Club™ for an unforgettable day of VIP hospitality, including the opportunity to meet Sean Bratches, Formula 1’s® Managing Director of Commercial Operations. On track, Sebastian Vettel did the business for Ferrari for the second weekend in a row, securing pole from his teammate Kimi Räikkönen. Valtteri Bottas secured third spot on the grid while Lewis Hamilton could only manage fourth. Everything was set for an intriguing battle on race day!
After overcast skies all weekend, the clouds finally lifted on race day and we were treated to blue skies and sun. A good omen for the race! 2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg made a pre-race appearance in the Fanzone while the grandstands filled for the main event, and for the second race in succession, we were treated to an exciting race. After an early battle for the lead between Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, the race was thrown wide open on lap 29 when the two Toro Rosso teammates collided, bringing out the Safety Car. Red Bull seized their opportunity, swapping both drivers on to the soft tyre during the cautionary period. Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were instantly quicker than their opposition and began making up places. Ricciardo staged a series of aggressive overtaking manoeuvres to take the lead whilst Verstappen came together with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after attempting a move, ruining both their chances. Ricciardo went on to take a popular and unexpected victory, his sixth in Formula 1®. Next up, Baku in two weeks, where Ricciardo won last year. The Championship battle in 2018 is shaping up to be a close one!