The Shanghai International Circuit is one of the most impressive facilities on the Grand Prix calendar. Like most of the circuits designed by Hermann Tilke, it features a wide variety of corners, both fast and slow, as well as a long straight followed by a tight hairpin which provides an ideal overtaking opportunity. Technically the circuit is a challenge for the drivers and engineers, not least the never-ending first corner which almost takes the cars through a full circle.
As with many modern circuits, Shanghai includes a mixture of high-speed corners and long straights which means the level of aerodynamic downforce has to be judged very carefully to protect position on the straights, without compromising grip in the corners. Turns 7 and 8 make up two of the high-speed corners and lead into the tricky double lefthander of turns 9 and 10.
Fernando explains: “Turns 7 and 8 are a fun part of the lap and you can really feel the performance of the cars here as we take these corners in 6th gear and there is plenty of grip. On the exit of turn 8 you’re straight into turn 9 where you have to be very precise as it’s a corner where you can find a lot of time. We take it in third gear and accelerate hard on the exit so that turn 10 is taken flat. Get it right and it’s a really rewarding section of the lap.”