Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc wins 1000th F1 race

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"Usually the Chinese race is good fun because the weather can be unpredictable and rain can arrive when you least expect it", said Leclerc. "The nature of the street circuit in Australia and night race in Bahrain have worked well for us, however the Shanghai International Circuit has very different characteristics to these previous tracks, which could again shift the competitive balance between the teams".

Shanghai has one of the longest straights in the 21-race championship and should be ideal for Ferrari's searing pace, with reliability the main concern for the Italian marque.

Vettel last tasted victory in Belgium - a losing streak which will extend to 11 Grands Prix if he fails to take the chequered flag in Shanghai - while team-mate Leclerc will be looking to avenge the late engine failure which cost him a richly-deserved maiden success in Bahrain.

It seems absurd for a four-time world champion to have to defend his ability and temperament, but the German is having to do just that after a series of unforced errors stretching back to last season. Leclerc is in fourth place with 26 points.

Vettel's spin in the race in Bahrain was amateur.

Lewis Hamilton is a five-time world champion and the face of F1, but his bid for a sixth title is under threat from several angles. They had two races, and they had been on the flipside of each other.

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Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix is the third race in the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admits that the Formula 1 standings do not accurately reflect the state of play on the grid.

While the 2019 season is still in its opening stages, Bottas has been the only driver to lead the driver standings at any point through the season's first two races. They are not tied with one another despite the fact that they have recorded the same results so far this season due to the fact that Bottas recorded the fastest lap time of the Australian Grand Prix and earned one bonus point because of it.

Hamilton completed a second successive Mercedes 1-2 after claimed victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, with the victor in Australia on the opening weekend of the campaign called with Valtteri Bottas.

"The challenge we are facing doesn't daunt us - it's uplifting", Wolff added.

F1's first championship race was at Silverstone, England, in 1950 and it says much about how the sport has grown that its milestone grand prix is in China.

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