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DATE News (chronologically)
10/13/08
f1
Lap of China by Alex Wurz  
Shanghai Circuit
"The city of Shanghai is a bit too hectic for my taste, however the Shanghai International  Circuit is a very impressive facility and an  interesting challenge for the drivers and  engineers.

"The lap itself is fairly typical of a Herman Tilke design with a huge range of corners, starting  with Turns 1 and 2 which combine to form what  seems like a never-ending right-hander. You  arrive in seventh gear at 300kph (186mph)  and you only start to brake when you turn into  the corner. You can't brake very hard, so you're  braking for a long time as you slow the car  down to second gear. To be quick around the  whole circuit you need to have a neutral  handling car, which generally results in  oversteer through here.

"You approach Turn 3 over a little jump downhill. It's a left-hander and can be first or  second gear, depending on your gear ratios.  At this point the tires are still very stressed  from the long first corner, so you're sliding a lot  and it's difficult to make a good exit, which is  very important because Turns 4 and 5 are flat -out kinks and are followed by a straight.

"Turn 6 is a hairpin, where the biggest  challenge is getting the braking point right  because you're arriving at nearly 300kph  (186mph). You want to clip the apex and get  on the power as early as possible to carry as much speed as you can through the fast left-right chicane that follows. This is taken flat in  sixth gear and you can really feel the car gripping the road.

"At the exit of this chicane you're almost  immediately into a double left-hander, Turns 9  and 10. These are very important corners and  a lot can be gained on the entry to the first left,  which you take in third gear. The second left is  flat, but you have to be quite precise with your  line and without traction control it will more  tricky this year.

"You're then up to sixth gear, before braking at  around 90 meters into a tight left-hander. If you  set your car up to ride this curb, it will be too soft for the first part of the track, so I think it's  better to avoid the curb and lose half a tenth,  which will be more than compensated for  elsewhere on the lap. This section reminds me  of Club at Silverstone because the track goes immediately right and you have to steer the car  with the throttle all the way to the exit.

"Turn 13 is a long, banked right-hander. It's  easy-flat, but you still need to concentrate  because it's easy to destroy your tires if you  apply too much steering lock. The longest  straight on the track follows and you're braking  from 320kph (200mph) for the hairpin. This is the best overtaking point on the lap and it's  easy to lose 0.2s by getting your braking  wrong, so you need to focus on getting the car  into the apex.

"Turn 15 is a flat-out kink and suddenly you're  into the last corner, Turn 16. It's a very  interesting corner because you can carry a lot  of speed at the apex if you can find the right  rhythm. Then you're back onto the start-finish straight to begin another lap."

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