|Race Date:||13-15 April|
|Circuit Name:||Shanghai F1 Circuit|
|Race Distance:||310.408 km|
|Lap Record:||Michael Schumacher 1:32.238 (04)|
Described by some as Hermann Tilke’s finest creation when it came on to the calendar in 2004, the Shanghai track has a futuristic look that matches the sprawling city near which it is located. Its long straights culminating in tight corners are Tilke hallmarks, while the layout is said to be inspired by the shape of the Chinese character ‘shang’. The cross-track Media Centre has become one of the most recognisable features of contemporary F1. Shanghai’s race has been a movable feast, starting out as a late-season round – indeed it was the final race of 2005 – before switching to its early-season slot in 2009.
2012 was a milestone for Nico Rosberg and Mercedes. The young German scored the first pole position and first Grand Prix victory of his career; it was also the first win for Mercedes since their return to the sport in 2010, in fact the first since Juan Manuel Fangio took the chequered flag at Monza in the last round of the 1955 season.
The first Shanghai winner in 2004 was Rubens Barrichello, whose Ferrari benefited from an unusually ragged performance from his teammate Michael Schumacher to take pole and complete the job with a relaxed drive to the flag. In those super-fast days of tyre wars between Michelin and Bridgestone, Schumacher at least saved face with the fastest race lap of 1:32.238, an average of 212.749 km/h.
A year later Renault were the dominant force as Fernando Alonso took victory from pole en route to adding the Constructors’ title – Renault’s first in their own right – to the drivers’ crown. It was, incidentally, the 340th and final race for the popular Italian outfit Minardi.
In 2006 Shanghai was the stage for the 91st and so far last victory of Schumacher’s matchless career – he retired at the end of that season only to return with Mercedes in 2010. A year later Kimi Raikkonen also won for Ferrari to give the Scuderia its 200th Grand Prix victory in World Championship history.
In 2009 Sebastian Vettel made it a double milestone for Red Bull: their first pole position and their first Grand Prix victory. Mark Webber starred with a stunning pass on Jenson Button’s Brawn Mercedes to ensure Red Bull’s first 1-2 success as well.