Chinese Grand Prix: A Shanghai surprise in store?

Shanghai business district

The famous pollution is what first sticks with you about the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai - 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.

Formula 1
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

Formula 1
The Shanghai International Circuit has hosted 12 grands prix (source: Forix)

Hamilton's Shanghai success

Lewis Hamilton
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.


tom clarkson
Yeah, it has understandably changed since qualifying. Tom believes Hamilton can now finish fourth

Local wildlife

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

'Interesting racing'

Michael Schumacher's Ferrari at the 2005 Chinese GP
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

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

Turn 14
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.

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