The annual petrolhead pilgrimage is upon us once more, as racing fans are called to the Shanghai International Circuit by the siren song of roaring engines for the F1 Chinese Grand Prix. Big boys racing big toys at breakneck speeds, all in pursuit of the 2019 Formula One World Championship.
But first: when exactly is F1 Chinese Grand Prix 2019 in Shanghai, you ask? This very weekend April 12-14, 2019.
Here’s the inside track on F1 Weekend...
F1 Chinese Grand Prix 101
Image via Formula1
China’s premiere racing event returns, where you can expect to see the best racers in the world converge on the city. Practice day is on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the big race on Sunday.
And whatever you do, do NOT run onto the track to try a car.
Don't be this guy. Image via BBC
After becoming the first driver of the modern generation to win a fifth world title, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is showing no signs of slowing down in 2019. The Brit secured his first victory of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix, after finishing second behind Finn Valtteri Bottas at the Australian Grand Prix to start the season. With just a one-point difference between these two top-tier drivers, the Chinese Grand Prix is another opportunity to distance themselves from the pack.
The next three drivers in the standings are considerably farther down the point ladder, with Dutch Max Verstappen in third place, while Polish driver Charles Leclerc and German Sebastian Vettel are in fourth and fifth place, respectively.
The Chinese Grand Prix is all set to be an intense showdown. We'll find out if Lewis Hamilton can win his second consecutive race — or if Australian Daniel Ricciardo can bounce back on same track he claimed a victory in 2018.
Shanghai F1 Hall of Fame... and Shame
Image via Buzzfeed
The shame being Lewis Hamilton, who made a negative splash back in 2015 when he opted to concentrate the victory bubbly spray direct on the face of one of the F1 grid girls hosting the prize presentation ceremony. A little bit of respect please, sir.
Anyway, as the Chinese GP goes into its 16th year, here’s who has made it first past the checkered flag...
2018: Daniel Ricciardo
2017: Lewis Hamilton
2016: Nico Rosberg
2015: Lewis Hamilton
2014: Lewis Hamilton
2013: Fernando Alonso
2012: Nico Rosberg
2011: Lewis Hamilton
2010: Jenson Button
2009: Sebastian Vettel
2008: Lewis Hamilton
2007: Kimi Raikkonen
2006: Michael Schumacher
2005: Fernando Alonso
2004: Rubens Barrichello
F1 Essential Gear
Image via @brightOv/Instagram
Normally at the F1 you expect to see a sea of flags from all the nations of the world. But where do you buy the flags? Unless you want to support Ferarri and be Italian for the day, you may have trouble at the track. Head to Fuzhou Lu (between Henan Zhong Lu and Zhejiang Lu, near the Westin), where you’ll find some of the best flag shops in Shanghai.
Horns and Face Paint
Image via @bli_sizeniner/Instagram
The cars are bloody loud, so why not make your own noise? And on that note – you may as well try and get on the TV with a face like the Icelandic flag… Head to the big market at Yu Gardens where you’ll find horns and face paint everywhere.
Image via @alwaysgrettel/Instagram
You can buy ear plugs on the walk up to the track – but their cleanliness is open to debate. Alternatively you can find them on Taobao or give your friend who works in a factory a nudge…
Image via Motorsport
Also available on the way to the track, but you can see more with the naked eye to be honest! There are big screens up around the track, but the graphics can be hard to see, so binoculars can really help your ‘running commentary street cred.’ You can find a decent pair for as low as RMB50-100 on Taobao (use Baopals if you don't want to bug your Chinese friends to help you order).
How to get there
Built on a marsh in 2004 in Jiading District by German master circuit designer Hermann Tilke and his team of 120 architects for a cool USD450 million, the track layout was inspired by the character shang 上 of Shanghai fame. At 5.5 km long, it has widely varying corners, offering plenty of overtaking opportunities, with F1 cars capable of surpassing 300 km/h (186 mph) on the long back straight between corners 13 and 14.
Going by metro? Shanghai Circuit station is on Line 11.
Get four of you in one taxi, buy the driver a KFC and tell him to come back and pick you up at a certain time and point – works a treat. Show the driver 上海国际赛车场 or say 'Shanghai Guoji Saichechang.'
Heineken and F1 are joining forces for this weekend’s racing festivities. Heineken will be invading Taipinghu Park where they’ll be hosting their very own Heineken F1 Shanghai Festival. Expect non-stop entertainment this weekend.
From Friday until Saturday, there will be all sorts of events going on at the Heineken F1 Shanghai Fest. Expect plenty of shows and F1-related interactions. There will also be performances from Dutch DJ Martin Garrix, Chris Lee, as well as Rap of China stars Wilber Pan and GAI. Tickets are free of charge on a first come first serve basis through Heineken's official WeChat account. More details here.
There are also plenty of other F1-related events going on in the 'Hai throughout the week. Bar Rouge is holding F1-themed parties from Wednesday through Sunday night (including the official Heineken after party)...
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[Cover image via Wikimedia]