2013 Chinese GP preview: Everything you need to know about this weekend's race!
After the rows of Sepang, what surprises will Shanghai throw up?
By Sky Sports Online. Last Updated: 10/04/13 10:09am
It was once the sport's brave new world, but Formula 1 registers its tenth visit to China this weekend as what is already proving to be a compelling 2013 season resumes after a three-week break.
With debates over team orders continuing to rage, and the break having presented the paddock with time to head back to Europe to finalise upgrades for the season's second double-header, there's plenty to look forward to over the next few days.
Sky Sports Online provides your one-stop shop for everything you need to know about the Chinese GP, from Anthony Davidson's corner-by-corner video lap above, to the Shanghai formbook and, of course, details of Sky Sports F1's live TV coverage.
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THE 2013 CHINESE GP IN A NUTSHELL
Track: Shanghai International Circuit. Permanent track.
Race start time: 8am UK time Sunday (3pm local).
Track length: 5.451km.
DRS Zones: Two - Pit straight and backstraight, with separate detection points.
Driver steward: Mark Blundell.
Lap record: Michael Schumacher - 1:32.238 (Ferrari; 2004).
2012 pole: Nico Rosberg - 1:35.121 (Mercedes).
SKY SPORTS F1's SCHEDULE
Tuesday April 9
8.00pm - Classic Races - 2007 Chinese GP.
10.15pm - Classic Races - 2008 Chinese GP.
Wednesday April 10
8.00pm - Classic Races - 2009 Chinese GP.
10.30pm - Classic Races - 2010 Chinese GP.
Thursday April 11
8.00am - Drivers' Press Conference - Live!
5.45pm - Gear up for China.
7.00pm - Classic Races - 1993 European GP (Highlights).
8.00pm - Classic Races - 2011 Chinese GP.
Friday April 12
2.45am - Chinese GP Practice One - Live!
6.45am - Chinese GP Practice Two - Live!
9.00am - Team Principals' Press Conference - Live!
11.00am - The F1 Show - Live!
Saturday April 13
3.45am - Chinese GP Practice Three - Live!
6.00am - Chinese GP Qualifying - Live!
12.30pm - Chinese GP Qualifying Replay.
9.15pm - Ted's Qualifying Notebook.
Sunday April 14
6.30am - The 2013 Chinese GP - Live!
11.30am - F1 Legends - Tony Brooks.
1.00pm - Chinese GP Replay.
7.30pm - Ted's Race Notebook.
CHINA TV HIGHLIGHTS
In Friday morning's edition of The F1 Show from 11am we'll have a live interview with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner as the Sepang team orders affair continues to dominate the F1 news agenda, while Crofty takes a trip with several leading journalists down to Shanghai's historic waterfront Bund area to chew the fat on that most controversial of matters and look ahead to the Chinese weekend in general.
Williams will also feature heavily in Friday's edition as we hear from their new Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams, while their drivers become the latest pair to try and tame the Horse Power Tower.
In Saturday's Qualifying show we'll look both backwards and forwards as 2012 winner - and general Shanghai specialist - Nico Rosberg looks back on his brilliant maiden F1 win with Martin Brundle while Jenson Button, a China winner himself in 2010, joins Johnny Herbert at the SkyPad to assess the challenge presented by a track now into its tenth season on the calendar.
Meanwhile, highlights in Sunday's Race Day Show are plentiful and include the first feature in a new 'F1 Uncovered' series in which we lift the lid on F1 technology. First up it's KERS, which Ted Kravitz guides you through with the help of Williams' Pastor Maldonado, while in in the first instalment of a separate 'Red Bull - Road to Greatness' feature we'll start to chart their spectacular rise to F1 dominance at the very circuit they claimed their breakthrough win at back in 2009.
There may have been nine previous editions of the Chinese GP but there has to this date been only one repeat winner - Lewis Hamilton. While the prominent memory of the Briton in Shanghai remains his helpless slide into a gravel trap on the entry to the pitlane during his rookie year of 2007, the now Mercedes man has claimed two victories at the circuit in the intervening six years - and memorably so on both occasions.
But until his second victory in 2011, when he surged back through the field after making an additional pitstop, seven different drivers had won the first seven Chinese GPs, with Nico Rosberg joining the one-time winners' club last season.
From a constructors' point of view, Shanghai has proved a happy hunting ground for both Ferrari and McLaren - with three victories for the F1 luminaries apiece - but Red Bull's solitary victory here remains their very first in F1, back in the torrential rain with Sebastian Vettel in 2009.
2012 result: 1. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes); 2. Jenson Button (McLaren); 3. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren); 4. Mark Webber (Red Bull); 5. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull); 6. Romain Grosjean (Lotus); 7. Bruno Senna (Williams); 8. Pastor Maldonado (Williams); 9. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari); 10. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber).
Last five winners: 2012: Nico Rosberg (Mercedes); 2011: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren); 2010: Jenson Button (McLaren); 2009: Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull); 2008: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren).
For the second year in succession Pirelli have opted for the soft and medium compound tyres for this weekend's race. Explaining their decision prior to the start of the season, the Italian firm explained that the selection represented "the best choice for the comparatively high degradation expected as a result of the demanding track layout, which leads to close racing."
Although the 5.5km track doesn't contain the kind of high-speed corners found at Sepang, the generally cool conditions that traditional accompany the April date mean tyre degradation is invariably a concern. The last two years have witnessed strategic battles between drivers on two and three pitstops.
For the third straight race weekend in 2013, World Champion Sebastian Vettel starts as Sky Bet's clear favourite for both pole position (11/10) and race victory (15/8) in Shanghai, with Fernando Alonso second favourite to hit back from his Sepang DNF with his first victory of the season (7/2.) Nico Rosberg, meanwhile, is 12/1 to repeat his success from 12 months ago for Mercedes.
Here are some further selected Sky Bet odds for the weekend:
Pole position - Lewis Hamilton (6/1).
Race Winner - Jenson Button(20/1).
Winning team - Ferrari (11/4).
First Retirement - Esteban Gutierrez (11/1).
Number of first-lap retirements - Exactly Three (9/1).
Race Winning Margin - Under six seconds (5/6).