Difficult conditions see Red Bull Racing struggle in Chinese Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying

    Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

    Difficult weather and practice conditions affected Red Bull Racing during qualifying for this weekend's Spring Race at the Chinese Grand Prix.

    Used to qualifying on and around the front row of the grid this year, reigning World Champion Max Verstappen and teammate Sergio Pérez found conditions difficult to contend with when qualifying for the Sprint Race at the Chinese Grand Prix.

    It's the first time Formula 1 has raced at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2019, and drivers have had just one Free Practice session to adjust to the track before they were forced into qualifying for the first Sprint Race of the 2024 season.

    This had been a talking point amongst drivers prior to the race, with many questioning why the first Sprint of the season would be held at a track that the drivers were not used to - especially since the makeup of cars had changed dramatically since the last time a race was held in Shanghai.

    Nevertheless, Red Bull Racing would have been hoping to put in a strong performance in Sprint qualifying, with a chance for Verstappen and Pérez to add to their points tally and continue to build a stronger lead over the rest of the grid even before the main event this Sunday.

    With a lack of familiarity with the track, rain also caused plenty of challenges for the drivers as Verstappen qualified P4, the lowest qualifying position of the season for him, behind McLaren's Landon Norris, Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso in P1, 2 and 3 respectively, while Pérez qualified P6 behind Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.

    Verstappen's Q3 time was 2:00.028, over two seconds slower than Norris as he struggled for grip in the wet, while Pérez's was 2:00.375 - just 0.347 seconds behind his teammate.

    The Sprint Race will kick off things tomorrow (Saturday 20th April) before qualifying for the Grand Prix takes places four hours later, and Red Bull will be keen to see their drivers improve on today's qualifying and attempt to land a podium - giving the team a positive boost ahead of the main event.

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