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Max Verstappen achieves Chinese Grand Prix sprint race, qualifying double, mixed fortunes for Lewis Hamilton

Verstappen achieves Chinese Grand Prix sprint race, qualifying double
© Reuters
Red Bull's Max Verstappen comes out on top in both the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race and qualifying for Sunday's main race.

Max Verstappen continued to showcase his superior form in his Red Bull to win the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race and secure pole for Sunday's race.

In the grand scheme of things as the season plays out, Verstappen may not feel the need to place major emphasis on performing well in the sprint races.

However, the Dutchman was motivated to make an impression at the Shanghai International Circuit after only qualifying in fourth spot.

Having initially overtaken Lando Norris at the first corner, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton held the lead and would ultimately finish an acceptable second on the back of a poor start to the campaign.

That said, Verstappen always appeared likely to catch and overtake the cars in front of him, impressively finishing 13.043 seconds clear over the shorter distance.

Sergio Perez, in the second Red Bull, earned third with a strong finish, forcing the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr into fourth and fifth respectively.

Despite starting on pole, Norris was sixth, just ahead of McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri, while George Russell completed the points.

Hamilton endures dismal qualifying

Later in the day, qualifying proved to be a far more straightforward affair for Verstappen, topping the leaderboard in all three sessions.

In Q3, he finished 0.322 seconds faster than Perez, with Fernando Alonso an impressive third on the grid after failing to finish the sprint race in his Aston Martin.

Norris and Piastri were fourth and fifth respectively, while Leclerc and Sainz Jr were sixth and seventh ahead of Russell in eighth.

Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas, in the Haas and Sauber respectively, completed the top 10, but Hamilton endured one of his worst qualifying sessions in recent memory.

The seven-time world champion is all the way down in 18th place, a combination of making changes to his car setup and running wide on a hot lap.

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Max Verstappen during Chinese Grand Prix sprint race qualifying on April 19, 2024.
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