Max Verstappen earns fourth victory in five F1 races at Chinese GP

Max Verstappen earns fourth victory in five F1 races at Chinese GP

SHANGHAI — Another Formula 1 race. Yet another victory for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

The three-time defending champion won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday starting from pole, his fourth victory in five races this season and his 23rd in the last 27 extending through last season.

Only a brake failure last month at the Australian GP in Melbourne probably kept him from sweeping all five.

Verstappen trailed for only a few laps following a pit stop. Lando Norris of McLaren was about 14 seconds behind Verstappen in second — the eighth time he has been No. 2 in his career as he still seeks his first victory. Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was third.

The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc, in fourth, and Carlos Sainz rounded out the top five, holding off Mercedes driver George Russell and Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin in sixth and seventh, respectively.

The rest of the points finishers following on were Oscar Piastri of McLaren, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg in tenth.

Verstappen now has 110 points to lead the standings followed by Perez (85), Leclerc (76), Sainz (69) and Norris (58).

“It felt amazing,” Verstappen said. “All weekend we were incredibly quick and it was just enjoyable to drive. The car was basically on rails and I could do whatever I wanted to with it. Those kind of weekends are amazing to feel.”

Verstappen was asked if this was the most dominant victory of his career.

“It was a good one, yeah,” he said without getting specific.

The next GP is Miami on May 5. Will Verstappen power through that street race?

“Completely different track,” he said. “Different tires. Different tarmac. So you never know.”

The saftey car came out twice in the middle of the race. Once after Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas stalled at the edge of the track with a blown engine, and again with two nearly simultaneous incidents.

In one, Kevin Magnuessen clipped Yuki Tsunoda, and in the other, Lance Stroll ran into the back of Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen’s rule in F1 also extended to Saturday when he took the inaugural sprint race of the season.

Verstappen, after winning in Japan two weeks ago, was critical of running a sprint in China. He hasn’t changed his mind very much — despite winning.

“The sprint format was better,” Verstappen said. “But let’s not overdo it as well. We are already doing 24 races, six of these sprint events as well. I get it. I guess it sells better and better…

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