Red Bull emerges clear favourite through the Shanghai smog

Red Bull emerges clear favourite through the Shanghai smog

With tyre degradation expected to be less of a factor than it was in Malaysia, AUTOSPORT's Grand Prix editor Mark Hughes, analyses the practice data to predict the extent of Red Bull's advantage over the field in China

"This is not racing," said Lewis Hamilton back in pre-season testing on discovering how the new Pirellis had to be treated over a race distance, "it's just driving around." With two races and a couple of practice sessions under his belt, he's not any better disposed towards the high-wear rubber than he was then.

His technical director Paddy Lowe was making a point that Hamilton will soon need to simply accept, however reluctantly. "Tyre wear is dominating everything," said Lowe. "You have to manage them across both qualifying and race and how you use them in qualifying can have a big effect on your race – as we saw with Lewis in Malaysia. The crucial bit where he lost out in the race was to do with tyre consumption – and that went back to him damaging them in qualifying."

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