F1 Chinese Grand Prix: five things we learned from Shanghai
Max Verstappen shows he can sing in the rain; long live overtaking – it’s now better than ever; Niki Lauda should know better than bet against Mercedes
1) Max makes his mark
Max Verstappen has been rightly criticised, moving across Kimi Raikkonen on the Kemmel straight at the Belgian Grand Prix last year being a low point, but in China the 19-year-old was simply breathtaking. The flaws that come with youth are matched by an audacity that is a joy to behold. The Dutch driver passed nine cars on the opening lap and was in fourth place by lap six. After the safety car restart he skinned Raikkonen around the outside and shortly afterwards his Red Bull team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, up the inside of turn six, while Valtteri Bottas was a further victim. His place on the podium was down to more than just attacking; Verstappen defended with a maturity and skill that belies his years when being chased down by a determined Ricciardo. The pair went at it hard and it was Verstappen who came out on top to take third place. The Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, called it a “remarkable drive” acknowledging Verstappen has proved he has the talent in the wet that marks out the great drivers. If Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are two of the best drivers of the current generation, Verstappen looks to be at the head of the new breed. If Red Bull can bring his car up to speed with Ferrari and Mercedes, Hamilton and Vettel are going to have to look beyond their mutual appreciation society and face a very real threat.