REACTIONS: What teams had to say after qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix

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Having clinched a sprint victory in dominant fashion in the morning, Max Verstappen went on to secure pole position for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix, taking Red Bull’s 100th pole, at the same circuit where they scored their first pole. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó delivers teams' reaction after Day 2 of the Chinese Grand Prix.

Red Bull

Red Bull had a quite start to their day with Verstappen and Perez languishing outside the podium places in the 19-lap sprint race. However, the Dutchman quickyl made inroads, an took a dominant victory in the season's first 100km dash while his team-mate climbed up to P3.

The qualifying session then saw the Red Bull duo lock out the front row in dominant fashion with Verstappen taking Red Bull’s 100th pole, at the same circuit where they scored their first pole.

Max Verstappen – Sprint: 1st, Qualifying: 1st, 1:33.660

“The start of the Sprint was a bit tricky for me because the other drivers on the grid had new tyres, so for the first lap they had a bit more grip than I did. My battery was also completely empty, so I had to do a few changes on the wheel to try and get it back up, but once that was all sorted out the pace was good, I was able to look after my tyres well. Ahead of qualifying we changed the fittings on the car and they worked out really well, so I’m very pleased with that.

"It looks promising for the race, we were strong in the Sprint, but of course there is a lot of information that the other teams can analyse now, so I don’t expect it to be completely straightforward. For the race tomorrow I think that the wind direction could have quite a bit of influence on the balance of the car, but if we do a similar performance to today then I will be very happy. Overall, it was a very good Saturday, I couldn’t have really wished for more.

"We celebrated the Team’s 100th pole today with Checo at the front of the grid with me in P2. Naturally starting from pole will help and although it isn’t always a guarantee, it does make life a bit easier. The support in Shanghai has been great, there are a lot of fans in the grandstand and it has been a while since we have raced here, so I’m very happy to be back and looking forward to tomorrow."

Sergio Perez – Sprint: 3rd, Qualifying: 2nd, 1:33.982

“I was happy with the Sprint result in the end this morning, unfortunately it took me a lot of laps to get by the Spaniards and once I got by, it was just too late to get Lewis. Going into qualifying we did a lot of set up changes and I couldn’t get a good read of the car throughout. It was quite a messy qualifying session, we had a bad Q1 with some traffic.

"My first proper run was my second in Q2 and Q3 didn’t feel perfect either, but I think we managed to learn throughout qualifying and get into a better rhythm. In the end, it was a good one for the Team, I am very happy to have locked out the front row on the day we got our 100th pole. We have a lot better understanding of the car at the moment and that is continuing to pay off. Hopefully we can put on a good show for the Chinese fans who haven’t had Formula One here for a lot of years."

Aston Martin

Having spent the opening part of the sprint race in second position, Fernando Alonso slipped down the order as tyre degradation kicked in later on in the short race. The Spaniard then collided with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz, and suffered a puncture which forced him into the pits for a new set of tyres.

Qualifying saw Lance Stroll struggle for pace with the Canadian ending up 11th on the grid. His team-mate got himself through into Q3 where he delivered a sensational lap to qualify himself P3 on the grid ahead of the McLarens and the Ferraris.

Fernando Alonso – Sprint: DNF, Qualifying: 3rd, 1:34.148

“I am happy with third position in Qualifying today. Both Q1 and Q2 went smoothly, and we progressed into Q3. I then nearly aborted my last lap in Q3 because I lost a few tenths in the first sector. I made back some of this lap time during the rest of the lap, so I kept going and I'm glad I did. We are again a few positions higher in Qualifying than our natural position suggests, but we will take this result and it's always nice to finish in the top three. It will be a real fight to keep our rivals behind us for a full race distance, but let's see what we can do tomorrow.”

Lance Stroll – Sprint: 14th, Qualifying: 11th, 1:34.838
“This morning's Sprint was a difficult race: we struggled for pace and couldn't make much progress. Despite making some set-up changes ahead of Qualifying, the car still isn't where I need it to be and it was frustrating not to make it through to Q3 by such small margins. We'll do our best to fight for points tomorrow.”


Lando Norris – Sprint: 6th, Qualifying: 4th, 1:34.165

“I think it was a good qualifying for us. Maybe P3 was on the cards – but I think we have to be satisfied. Sometimes you win it, sometimes you lose it in these very close sessions. Another good starting position and a good qualifying so I’m happy with today. The real challenge is tomorrow. We need to get our heads down and do our best tonight and prepare the best we can for the main race and get some good points for the team.”

Oscar Piastri – Sprint: 7th, Qualifying: 5th, 1:34.273
“P5, I’m happy with that. I think the last lap in Q3 was pretty solid. A couple of corners were a bit scrappy but that’s just the nature of the beast around here. We’re in a good place to fight for points tomorrow so we’ll see what we can do. We’ll do our best to stay there, which may be tricky as our race pace isn’t quite there as we saw in the Sprint this morning, but we’ll give it our all.”


Ferrari endured a difficult sprint shootout yesterday which saw Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz start from only P7 and P6 on the grid respectively. In the sprint, the Monegasque and the Spaniard could make use of Ferrari's impressive tyre management and improved to P4 and P5 respectively despite a late-race intra-team clash at the hairpin.

The early part of the qualifying session saw Ferrari display encouraging pace, but they were unable to repeat their impressive laps from Q2 when it really mattered and Leclerc and Sainz will line up only P6 and P7 on the grid.

Charles Leclerc – Sprint: 4th, Qualifying: 6th, 1:34.289
"We compromised our qualifying by prioritising the race tomorrow and struggled slightly more than we expected. Our race pace is strong and it will be a long one, with tyre degradation playing a big role here. Even the smallest change of wind can influence the car balance, so anything can happen. We will push tomorrow and let’s see what is possible."

Carlos Sainz – Sprint: 5th, Qualifying: 7th, 1:34.297
"This qualifying session didn't go as well as we hoped, but even after the incident in the last corner we managed to keep it together and reacted positively right away.

"Overall it was a tough session for us, as we struggled a bit too much in sector 1 and our total lap time wasn’t enough to fight for better positions. However I’m confident that in the race, with this set up, we will be faster than some of the rivals starting in front of us. We are up for an interesting race tomorrow where strategy will also play an important role."


Hamilton delivered a brilliant performance in the China F1 Sprint in the morning. While he was unable to beat Max Verstappen in the 19-lap race, his second-placed finish was still an encouraging result following Mercedes' dismal start to the 2024 F1 season. However, Hamilton's joy did not last long as he made a mistake on his last lap in Q1 which meant that he was knocked out in the first qualifying segment.

His team-mate George Russell managed to reach Q3, but he struggled for pace and was therefore unable to challenge for top positions. The one-time race winner will start his second Chinese Grand Prix from P8.

Lewis Hamilton – Sprint: 2nd, Qualifying: 18th, 1:35.573

"To be sat on the front-row for the Sprint was a great feeling. Racing into turn one and taking the lead reminded me of what I love so much about this sport! It was a challenging race but to get second was great.

"We knew Qualifying would be much more tough this afternoon though. I made some sizeable set-up changes after the Sprint to try and improve the car in the slow speed turns. It wasn’t too bad in some corners, but I struggled elsewhere. It was challenging to get the rear tyres to stop into turn 14 and that’s where I locked up on my final lap. If I hadn’t had that, I would have made it through to Q2. I’ll be giving it my best shot tomorrow. We can still have some fun even if we are starting from P18."

George Russell – Sprint: 8th, Qualifying: 8th, 1:34.433
"We didn’t have our best day today. With the strong wind, it was very challenging out there. The conditions had changed from Friday too, so we had to adapt. We took the Soft tyre for the Sprint and it was definitely worth the gamble. It performed OK and it gave us some good learnings for tomorrow. Ultimately, we did well to score a point.

"Qualifying was also tricky. My first lap in Q2 was looking very strong but the red flag forced us to abort. We had to use another set of new tyres to progress to Q3. Without that, we would have had two new sets for the final part of Qualifying and it could have been a different outcome but who knows. We are in that fight between P3 and P8 and, unfortunately, we’ve found ourselves at the back end of that battle in the last few races in Qualifying. Small differences can have a major impact.

"It is hard to predict what will happen tomorrow. It’s all to play for with those cars around us so hopefully we have the pace to move forward."


Nico Hulkenberg – Sprint: 19th, Qualifying: 9th, 1:34.604

“We dropped down the field quite dramatically in the Sprint – there was nothing obvious, no damage on the car. In the pack, right after the start, I think we ruined our tyres over the first few laps. We were just driving in the dirty air of many cars – so we paid a big price for that. After that I hit degradation and just went backwards. Maybe we did a wrong turn on the set-up after yesterday going from FP1 into Sprint quali.

"We intended to make the car better, but it reacted in a strange and different way to what we expected in the Sprint. Then I was very happy with quali, it was very clean, not sure I could have asked for more in terms of execution and my laps. We remedied things from the Sprint, things were more in-line with what we expected – so I’m happy. I expect a tough race tomorrow, I think it will be a stretch for us, but I look forward to it.”

Kevin Magnussen – Sprint: 10th, Qualifying: 17th, 1:35.516

“To keep P10 in the Sprint was a pretty tough task – it seemed like the RB and the Sauber were a little bit faster than us. So, hopefully we can work on that for tomorrow’s race, we’d like to be able to keep the tyres alive a little bit longer. In quali, I only got one lap on the first run as I was called onto the weigh-bridge, we didn’t have time to go out again on that first set of tyres. I only had one lap on my second set, and Sargeant went off at Turn 8 in front of me, I lost a little bit of time there, and then at Turn 14 Tsunoda got in the way. These days it’s just so tight and here we find ourselves out in Q1. I feel like I was a little bit unlucky.”

Kick Sauber

A brilliant day for the Kick Sauber F1 team! Zhou Guanyu finished P9 in the sprint race while his team-mate Valtteri Bottas secured P12. With only the quickest eight drivers earning points in sprint races, home hero did not add any championship units to his tally, but it was still a strong showing.

Zhou did not manage to excel in qualifying, and will only line up 16th in tomorrow's race. By contrast, his team-mate managed to get inside the top ten with a lap time that was only a couple of tenths shy of what Mercedes driver George Russell managed in Q3.

Valtteri Bottas – Sprint: 12th, Qualifying: 10th, 1:34.665
“It’s been a good day, overall, and we can look forward to tomorrow to hopefully finish our weekend on this level. In the Sprint, earlier today, I had a good start but then got a bit unlucky when I got sandwiched in turn six on the opening lap, causing damage to the front wing endplate – which unfortunately made the rest of the race tricky to manage.

"Apart from that, we enjoyed good pace, as we could see with Zhou, who made it into the top ten - which is promising for the main race tomorrow. Qualifying was a different business; it was a straightforward job from our side, and everything went smoothly, allowing us to make it past the Q3 threshold for the first time this season.

"Overall, it’s been good to see our progress on track this weekend so far; we got pretty close to Nico [Hulkenberg] in Q3, so we should be in for some fun tomorrow, and hopefully some action. I think we have a realistic chance to score points, so we’ll need to execute everything to perfection. As a plus, we are getting lots of support from the grandstands, which is surely a great boost do to well. Everyone is really motivated ahead of the race, and we are really raring to go.”

Zhou Guanyu – Sprint: 9th, Qualifying: 16th, 1:35.505
“Racing on a new track for me, the first time in front of a home crowd, with a new weekend format – we knew this weekend had the potential to be challenging, but we have plenty of positives to look back to today, even if qualifying could have been better. I feel we maximised all we could get out of the Sprint: P9 was not enough for a point, but we can feel really confident about the pace we displayed in those 19 laps, as we knew we needed some exceptional circumstances to come away with a place in the top eight.

"Missing out on Q2 in qualifying was disappointing, but it was not an easy session: I first got blocked in turn one on my first proper run, before a lock-up in turn 14 damaged my final attempt. I lost two and a half tenths there, and in the end, we were out by six hundredths. We had the potential to go all the way to Q3, but in such a tight field you need to have the perfect lap and today we were just a little bit short.

"Still, we saw we were quite competitive, especially on the medium tyre, which is a good indication for the race. We know we can push to the limit and make progress tomorrow: much can happen here and I’m looking forward to the race, when the conditions will likely be similar to what we had this morning. The support of the crowd has been incredible, something I never felt in my life: we all want to go out there in the race and give them something to smile about.”


Daniel Ricciardo has looked to have the edge over his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda all through the weekend so far. The Australian, who received a new chassis in Shanghai, finished 11th in the sprint race and secured P12 for the grand prix. By contrast, Tsunoda failed to impress following his strong run in recent races, and finished down in P16 in the 100km dash, and will only line up 19th on the grid tomorrow.

Daniel Ricciardo – Sprint: 11th, Qualifying: 12th, 1:34.934
“So far, it’s been a more positive weekend for us and my best one of the year. We changed the chassis this weekend and I feel the car better and have more confidence in it, so that’s encouraging, but it’s just one track. I’ve always enjoyed Shanghai and I also have a pretty good past here, so I think we need to continue proving our performance in the course of the next few races. We had fun this morning, some positives to take, and some learning for tomorrow’s race.

"Mid-race in the DRS train was a bit tricky, but then once I cleared Valtteri (Bottas), I was able to catch Kevin (Magnussen) quite quickly. We had a good battle in the last few laps, unfortunately, not for points but we knew it would have been hard to get points in the sprint. Personally, I had a better feeling today, and the sprint was definitely a more attacking race compared to the previous ones.

"Given track conditions changed quite a lot from yesterday, there were different circumstances; the rain made the track more slippery and the wind changed quite a lot, hence there were quite a few challenges before quali. I was happy with my lap in quali and feel there wasn’t much more in it. There were a couple of our direct rivals in Q3 and they found a bit more pace, but I do feel we have a bit more pace than some cars around us.

"Even if at the same time, I think some others are challenging us from behind. I’m excited to go racing again tomorrow; the sprint this morning has been encouraging, so I hope we can show a bit more in the long run. It’s probably a one-stop race, but it’s quite a unique front-limited circuit, so potentially even two. I think P12 is a decent place to start and offers the opportunity to try catching the ones in front and get some points.”

Yuki Tsunoda – Sprint: 16th, Qualifying: 19th, 1:35.746

“It’s been tough. This morning during the sprint, I tried to find my way, work the car, and learn a bit more, but I was still struggling. We looked into the data and felt like we made a step forward for qualifying. It’s mixed feelings. In sprint qualifying, I felt I wasn’t able to put it together from my side, but in today’s qualifying, I was pretty happy with my lap.

"I’ve been struggling with rear grip all weekend and looking at the steering trace compared to other cars, I’m fighting my car a lot but I’ve been working hard together with the engineers to improve it and find a solution, and they helped me a lot. Coming into qualifying, we felt good and confident we found an answer for our package. The lap itself I’m fairly happy with but the time doesn’t reflect the feeling, so it feels like we’re just stuck. Ending up P19 again is frustrating and a shame, but we’ll analyse, try to understand, and find the solution. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we have to change something to find more pace and hopefully, we can be close to the points.”


Alpine brought a new floor to Shanghai, but only Esteban Ocon could enjoy its benefit while his team-mate Pierre Gasly will receive the tweaked part in Miami. The two French drivers were clearly more comfortable in their cars than in previous races, and were able to battle against the likes of the RB, Haas and Williams drivers. Interestingly, they secured the very same starting position for tomorrow's grand prix as the finished the sprint race.

Esteban Ocon – Sprint: 13th, Qualifying: 13th, 1:35.223

“Overall, it was a good day compared to where we were yesterday and in previous races. We had a solid race and gained four positions in the Sprint. It is our best starting position of the year and both cars into Q2, so it is a satisfying session from that perspective. It is a small step in performance but not a negligible one.

"Looking at the times, there is still a big gap to make up to those ahead. Seeing how the tyres behaved in the Sprint, the degradation was quite high but manageable, so hopefully it gives us a chance to fight throughout the race and at the end of stints. We will review what strategy options we have available to us and look to make progress in the Grand Prix tomorrow.”

Pierre Gasly – Sprint: 15th, Qualifying: 15th, 1:35.463

“I am happy to be back in China after such a long time, it is a very unique track and great to see all the fans in the grandstand. The Sprint race was quite eventful but a solid result for us. We have made quite some aggressive set-up changes ahead of Qualifying and we knew it was going to be a difficult session, as it has been tricky to get into Q2 for us this season so far. So, I am pleased we have managed to put a clean weekend together up to this point, getting on top of the tyres between each session. The race tomorrow will be very interesting, especially in terms of tyre degradation. We will continue to push hard and get as much out of the car as possible tomorrow.”


Despite introducing an updated halo fairing for the Shanghai F1 race, Williams have endured a very difficult weekend so far. Albon conceded that the nature of the Shanghai International track with its long corners highlights the weaknesses of the team's FW46.

The Thai driver finished P17 in the sprint race, only a place ahead of his team-mate Logan Sargeant. The American finished then last in qualifying, while the former Red Bull driver achieved a slight improvement compared to the sprint shootout with a P14.

Alex Albon – Sprint: 17th, Qualifying: 14th, 1:35.241

"It’s been a tricky weekend so far, so 14th was probably the best we could do today. Our car struggles with the long corners at this track, and the mix of high and low speed corners makes set-up difficult. We had to prioritise low speed corners, compromising stability in high speeds. The wind also affected the balance and made the car feel quite disconnected.

"Today has clarified what we need to work on going forward, and the team can be proud of changes we’ve made ahead of the session. I’m optimistic as we’ve got a good tyre allocation for the race, and winds should be lower. We can definitely fight from here tomorrow."

Logan Sargeant – Sprint: 18th, Qualifying: 20th, 1:36.358
"Qualifying was frustrating as it was a good lap until the spin. The car was on edge in the high speed this afternoon especially over the bumps and changes in tarmac. Nonetheless, it could’ve been a much better session. We used the Sprint as a chance to get a good long run under our belts and from that made some minor changes ahead of Qualifying based on what we felt and what we want for tomorrow. So, we need to see how that plays out in the race. Realistically it’s not going to be easy, but we’ll give it our best go and see where that leaves us."