Without a doubt one of the hardest tracks in the world, China is a very unique track which boasts one of the very longest straights in Formula One, as well as some very twisty and tricky corners along the way.
The lap starts by trying to get a good exit from the final corner before you approach the mystifying Turn One. Braking at just the right point, with the just the right power is crucial, otherwise your lap can be finished after just the first corner. This difficult right hander is curved and swerving, and is just so difficult. It goes so far that it merges into the second corner, a left hander before Turn Three, which completes the early set of corners. They seem to take for ever but they really don't, and often you can see the drivers wrestling with the steering wheel in their desperate attempts to gain crucial time in these corners. Four is a bit of a nothing corner which is a kink in the straight that finishes at Turn Five. This tight right hand hairpin is a good overtaking spot. However, one of the best overtakes of last year's race came at Turn Six, a gentle left hander where Lewis Hamilton passed Sebastian Vettel to take the lead five laps from time. This can be taken flat if done correctly, and it is followed by Turn Seven, a right hander followed up with two tough left handers. Then there is a straight which requires extremely hard braking at around 75 metres, and getting the right amount of kerb on the left hand corner. Then the right hander which is very circular, which leads onto one of the longest straights on the calendar. You have to get your braking extremely precise here otherwise you will almost certainly run wide. The straight ends with a hairpin, which leads onto another straight, though not nearly as long this time. And finally a 90 degrees left hander which once again needs some kerb usage, and it leads on to the last few hundered metres to complete a lap of the Shanghai International Circuit.
Here is Jenson Button's qualifying lap from last season, which earnt him second on the grid.
JENSON BUTTON - 2ND PLACE LAP 2011
The season continues in Shanghai, and keep with my blog for all the news and reaction from the third Grand Prix of the season.