Formula One hits Shanghai for round two of the 2017 season this weekend. After a relatively quiet Australian Grand Prix, there are some big talking points up and down the grid as we enter the Chinese Grand Prix.
Mercedes vs Ferrari
Mercedes might have to learn to be tactical if they’re to continue their reign against a resurgent Ferrari. The battle currently looks to be between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for this season’s title.
Pirelli are taking mediums, softs and super soft tyres to China. The slightly harder tyre options creates a different scenario akin to that of in Melbourne because Mercedes could well go for a split race strategy, depending on what happens at end of the final practice in ideal conditions.
The two Finns will need to step up and prove their mettle after a pretty poor opener by their standards. Valtteri Bottas did at least try and push Hamilton in the latter stages but Kimi Raikkonen was just off the pace.
This weekend could well see an early wet race in the season.
Friday practice is set to see plenty of rain so expect to see hints to who could be threats come Sunday, if we get a wet Grand Prix with Nico Hulkenberg being one to watch.
A overcast end to FP2 is likely but conditions won’t be suitable enough for a full run on dry tyres. This in turn will make Saturday’s sessions vital for gathering necessary info for the race.
Saturday is forecast to be dry with some clouds around. This could prove crucial come qualifying because it could well help front runners, who might struggle in wet or cooler conditions.
Sunday’s weather is currently unclear with showers expected to subside by noon. The current forecast is for cloud throughout the race but rain is expected to return by early evening.
Sunday is expected to see lower temperatures than that of Saturday, which could well mix things up for those who prefer hotter conditions.
All in all, expect a topsy turvy weekend with data from each day being irrelevant the next.
Can Giovinazzi shine?
Pascal Wehrlein is still unfit to race for Sauber so in comes Antonio Giovinazzi for his second weekend.
Unlike a fortnight ago, he will participate on all three days so expect a stronger performance here.
To come in at short notice and deliver a strong performance in qualifying and the race itself is something to be proud of.
Now that he will get a full weekend, there is no reason why he can’t push on and get a few places higher on the grid. If its a crazy wet race, hopefully, the Italian can impress and deliver a finish in the points.