A Shanghai lap with Alex Wurz

"The city of Shanghai is a bit too hectic for my taste, however the ShanghaiInternational Circuit is a very impressive facility and an interestingchallenge for the drivers and engineers.

"The lap itself is fairly typical of a Herman Tilke design with a huge rangeof corners, starting with Turns 1 and 2 which combine to form what seemslike 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. Youcan't brake very hard, so you're braking for a long time as you slow the cardown to second gear. To be quick around the whole circuit you need to have aneutral handling car, which generally results in oversteer through here.

"You approach Turn 3 over a little jump downhill. It's a left-hander and canbe first or second gear, depending on your gear ratios. At this point thetyres are still very stressed from the long first corner, so you're slidinga lot and it's difficult to make a good exit, which is very importantbecause 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 brakingpoint right because you're arriving at nearly 300kph (186mph). You want toclip the apex and get on the power as early as possible to carry as muchspeed 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 grippingthe road.

"At the exit of this chicane you're almost immediately into a doubleleft-hander, Turns 9 and 10. These are very important corners and a lot canbe gained on the entry to the first left, which you take in third gear. Thesecond left is flat, but you have to be quite precise with your line andwithout traction control it will more tricky this year.

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

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

"Turn 15 is a flat-out kink and suddenly you're into the last corner, Turn16. It's a very interesting corner because you can carry a lot of speed atthe apex if you can find the right rhythm. Then you're back onto thestart-finish straight to begin another lap."


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