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The F1 fraternity heads to China for Round 3 of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The event will take place at the Shanghai International Circuit which first booked a spot on the F1 Calendar in 2004.
The 5.45 km circuit has a good collection of slow, medium and fast corners. Sector 1 contains a blend of slow and medium speed corners including the long 270° turn 1. The second sector has some medium and fast corners while the final sector has a 1 km long back straight between turn 13 and 14.
Tyre strategies and possible number of pit stops
Pirelli are bring soft and medium compound to the race. With lower temperatures and general nature of the track, tyre wear won't a major issue as it was three weeks ago in Malaysia. Last year, most team opted for two stops and it took Nico Rosberg to first win of his career and first for Mercedes since 1955. This year Pirelli are expecting three pit stops with two stops being a possibility. Teams like Lotus and Force India who are relatively easy on tyres will be going for two stops while teams like Red Bull who are quite hard on tyres will be forced to make three stops.
A few years ago, only Ferrari and McLaren had the pace to fight for the championship with a couple of teams winning races and scoring podiums on rare ocassions. This year, 4 team's have the pace to win races with McLaren hoping to join the pack by mid-season. At Australia, Ferrari and Lotus seemed to have the faster car while in Malaysia, Red Bull and Mercedes finished on the podium. It's hard to say which team will be fastest this weekend but Mercedes(because of lower temperatures) and Red Bull(because of general pace of the car) should be the strongest. Lotus and Ferrari should be up there as well while Force India should be the fastest amongst the midfielders. McLaren have been working hard for past three weeks to get over their aerodynamic and ride heights issues and would be hoping to go to Bahrain with a decent haul of points.
Eight different drivers have won the Chinese Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton being the only driver to have won the race twice(2008 and 2011). Fernando Alono, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg have all won the race once. Vettel's maiden win in China was Red Bull's first and as of now their only win at the Shanghai circuit.
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