Mercedes have finished on the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix in every season since 2012, Renault and Haas are yet to record a retirement in Shanghai, and McLaren haven’t reached Q3 at the track since 2013. Here’s how the teams’ histories compare at the Shanghai International Circuit!
Mercedes have scored more points at the Chinese Grand Prix than any other team. The team have won here five times and there has never been an occasion where they’ve left Shanghai without points. DNFs for Michael Schumacher in 2012 and Nico Rosberg in 2013 are the only two occasions where a Mercedes car has failed to finish within the points here. The team enjoyed 1-2 finishes at the track in 2014 and 2015. 2011 is the only time so far that neither Mercedes driver has appeared on the podium since they returned to the sport in 2010.
Mercedes have claimed pole position for the Chinese Grand Prix six times but have only locked-out the front row once, in 2015. Last year marked the first time neither of their cars qualified on the front row for this event since 2011. Schumacher’s Q2 exit in 2011 and Lewis Hamilton’s Q1 exit due to car issues in 2016 are the only times Mercedes’ cars haven’t featured in the final part of qualifying here since 2010.
In every season since 2013, a Ferrari car has finished on the podium at the Chinese Grand Prix. While Fernando Alonso’s victory here in 2013 remains their latest to date in Shanghai, since 2010, Felipe Massa’s twelfth place finish in 2012 is the only occasion where a Ferrari car has finished outside the points. 2005 and 2009 are the only times Ferrari left China having not picked up a point. They’ve only ever recorded three DNFs at the circuit – one for Michael Schumacher in 2005 and two for Felipe Massa, in 2006 and 2009.
Last season, Ferrari locked-out the front row at the Chinese Grand Prix for the first time. They had previously taken pole in 2004, and three front row qualifying results in 2007, 2008 and 2017. A Ferrari has never been eliminated in Q1 here, but they have had four Q2 exits; most recently with Kimi Raikkonen in 2014. At least one Ferrari has appeared in the final part of qualifying in every season since the knockout system was introduced in 2006. The team book-ended the grid for the inaugural race here, as Rubens Barrichello started from pole and Michael Schumacher started from the back, having failed to set a qualifying time.
Red Bull claimed their first ever F1 victory at the Shanghai International Circuit in 2009. Last season, Daniel Ricciardo provided them with their second Chinese Grand Prix win. The team have scored podium finishes in all of the last three seasons at this circuit, while 2011 is the only other time Red Bull have finished in the top three, aside from 2009. The team have failed to pick up points from the event only twice, in 2006 and 2008, and have only recorded two DNFs – one for Mark Webber in 2013 and one for Daniil Kvyat in 2015. Those DNFs are the only occasions in the past ten seasons where Red Bull have failed to finish with both cars in the points at the Chinese Grand Prix.
2010 is the only time Red Bull have locked-out the front row for the Chinese Grand Prix. They’ve taken pole three times here, but since Sebastian Vettel last took pole for the team in 2011, they’ve qualified on the front row only twice – in 2014 and 2016, both times courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo. The team have seen both of their cars reach the final part of qualifying on six occasions, but have also suffered four Q2 exits and three Q1 knockouts.
Renault have a 100% finish rate at the Chinese Grand Prix; an event which they’ve won once in their history, in 2005 with Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard and his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella also recorded the team’s only other podium finishes at the Shanghai track in the following season. Last season marked a return to the points at this event for the first time since their comeback to the sport in 2016. Nico Hulkenberg recorded a sixth place finish, their best result since their 2006 podiums. Despite not recording a DNF here, their lowest finish came from Jolyon Palmer in 2016, who finished last of the whole pack; all 22 of whom reached the end of the race.
Renault locked out the front row in qualifying here twice in 2005 and 2006, but since then Alonso’s front-row start in 2009 is the only time the team have finished as high up the qualifying order. 2007 and 2016 are the only years where neither Renault car has featured in the top ten in qualifying, with 2016 marking their only double Q1 exit. Last year, the team reached the final part of qualifying in China with both cars for the first time since 2006. Their best qualifying place since their comeback is seventh on the grid, achieved by Hulkenberg in each of the last two seasons.
Kimi Raikkonen recorded a podium finish for the Enstone team in their Lotus guise in 2013.
Haas are yet to record a retirement at the Chinese Grand Prix. The team have scored here twice, in 2017 and 2018; both times courtesy of Kevin Magnussen, whose best finish for the team at the Shanghai track was eighth in 2017. Romain Grosjean is yet to finish in the points at the circuit with the American team.
Last year, Magnussen became the first Haas driver to qualify in the top ten for the event, and the team recorded their best overall qualifying at the circuit with Grosjean just behind the Dane in eleventh. Last season also marked the first time neither Haas car exited in Q1 at the track.
McLaren took their only 1-2 finish in China in 2010, Lewis Hamilton won the event for the team in 2011, while both he and Jenson Button finished on the podium in the following season. Since then, Jenson Button’s fifth place in 2013 and Fernando Alonso’ seventh place last season are the only two occasions where the British team have scored points in Shanghai. Their four season dry spell at the Chinese Grand Prix ended in a double DNF in 2017, the only such occurrence for the team so far at the track.
McLaren have taken pole twice for the Chinese Grand Prix, both times with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel in 2007 and 2008. Their only other front row starts at the track came in 2004, courtesy of Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button in 2011 and Hamilton once again in 2012. McLaren have not qualified in the top ten in Shanghai since 2013. 2015 marked their only double Q1 exit at the track, while Stoffel Vandoorne’s Q1 exit in 2017 marks the only other time the team have failed to progress to the second part of qualifying.
Racing Point (Force India)
From their 22 total entries at the track, there have been only five occasions where a Force India car scored points. Their best finish here came in 2014, when Nico Hulkenberg finished sixth. 2014 and 2017 are the only seasons where both of the team’s cars have finished in the points. Force India have recorded five DNFs at the track, but both cars have made it to the end of all of the last three Chinese Grands Prix.
2016 is the only year where both Force Indias qualified in the top ten. In total, the team have reached the final part of qualifying seven times, with at least one of their cars progressing to the top ten shootout in all of the past three years. 2008 and 2009 are the only occasions where both Force Indias were eliminated in Q1.
Alfa Romeo (Sauber)
Nick Heidfeld is responsible for Sauber’s best finish at the Chinese Grand Prix. He came home fifth in the 2008 race, which is also one of only two occasions where both Saubers have finished in the points here (the other being in 2015). Since both Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr scored in 2015, the team have failed to pick up a point in Shanghai, with their best finish being Ericsson’s fifteenth place in 2017 – even though he finished last of the classified runners on that day.
A Sauber car has never qualified in the top three at the Chinese Grand Prix, but they have qualified in fourth twice – with Felipe Massa in 2004 and with Kamui Kobayashi in 2012. In 2018, Sauber recorded their worst qualifying attempt at the track, with both of their cars lining up on the back row in their first double Q1 exit at the circuit. 2015 marks their last Q3 appearance in Shanghai, and one of four occasions where both cars have reached the final part of qualifying.
2007 is one of only two years where both Toro Rosso cars have picked up points from the Chinese Grand Prix, the other occasion being in 2015. 2007 also marked their equal second-best ever performance in a race, with Sebastian Vettel finishing in fourth place. Last year was the only time in the past three years where Toro Rosso have failed to score at the Chinese race, in an event which was derailed by Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley colliding with one another.
2008, 2011 and 2016 are the three seasons where both Toro Rosso drivers have reached the final part of qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix. The team have never qualified in the top six for this race, but have qualified in seventh place twice, thanks to Jaime Alguersuari in 2011 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2013. Toro Rosso have recorded only three Q1 exits at the Shanghai International Circuit – Sebastien Bourdais in 2009, Jean-Eric Vergne in 2012 and Brendon Hartley in 2018.
The last two visits to China have been fruitless for the Williams team. The best finish for a Williams driver in Shanghai is fifth, which Juan Pablo Montoya recorded in 2004 and Felipe Massa repeated in 2015. In the past thirteen seasons, Williams have only recorded two DNFs at the Chinese Grand Prix, one for Kazuki Nakajima in 2009 and one for Lance Stroll in 2017.
Last year was the first time since 2013 where neither Williams qualified in the top ten for the Chinese Grand Prix, and only the second time in the past five seasons where both Williams weren’t present in the final part of qualifying. It was also their first ever Q1 exit at the circuit. The team’s best qualifying here came in 2015, when Felipe Massa qualified in fourth place.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.