Drivers hit the town for F1 works do

Shanghai business district

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai is, in several ways, a true daughter of its country.

The famous pollution is what first sticks with you – or in your throat, more accurately. A nagging chemical burn that appears after a while and stays thereafter.

Then there’s the sheer scale of the place. The track is built in a modern, monolithic style, everything with an imposing magnitude, especially the huge, sponsored bridge over the pit straight that houses the media centre.

The paddock is an empty expanse of grey, incongruously separating the pit garages from the rather attractive setting for the team buildings.

These are dotted pagoda-like around a lily-strewn lake, the only problem with the garden-style arrangement being the labyrinthine paths linking the buildings. It’s easy to get lost – and never find whoever you are looking for.


The paddock is designed to look like Shanghai’s ancient Yu Yuan Garden (pictured) which was built in 1559

The track itself is standard modern F1, but the long, long straight and tight hairpin at its end tend to throw up interesting racing – in weather than can vary between spring chills and early summer heat.

It’s no-one’s favourite race, but it’s certainly one of a kind.

Andrew Benson, BBC Sport’s chief F1 writer

The circuit


The Shanghai International Circuit has hosted 12 grands prix (source: Forix)

The ultimate selfie


This is a rare sight. Almost all the F1 drivers enjoying a meal together. Nico Rosberg snapped this picture in a restaurant in Shanghai, and posted it on social media, along with the caption: “#racingUnited or in Bernie’s words: #windbagsunited”

Build it and they will come – eventually


Despite the belief China is not a well-attended race, 125,000 people watched from the stands in 2015

Best corner


The narrowest and most dangerous corner of the circuit is Turn 14. Coming off the back of the longest straight on the track drivers have to go from speeds of 200 mph to 50 mph in an instant. Get it right, and it is a fantastic chance to make a pass on a rival.

Hamilton’s Shanghai success


Since the first race in 2004, only two drivers have won more than once on the Shanghai International Circuit – Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Hamilton’s wins came in 2008, ’11, ’14 and ’15 while Alonso won the ’05 and ’13 races.

Rain is on its way


No need for over-complicated qualifying this weekend to stir things up, as rain is expected to interrupt the action on Saturday. Friday and Sunday are expected to be dry, according to BBC F1 weather guru Ian Fergusson

Local wildlife


While not specifically native to Shanghai, China is home to the Giant Panda.

‘Interesting racing’


Not famed for its classic races, China often produces bizarre moments – such as the time backmarker Christijan Albers tore a hole in Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher on the warm-up lap in 2005

Nicholls’ new shoes


You can join Jack Nicholls and his new shoes for BBC Radio 5 live commentary across the weekend

Chinese Grand Prix coverage details

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