Formula 1 returns to China for the fifth round of this year’s World Championship, ending the Shanghai International Circuit’s post-Covid exile.

It remains a relative newcomer to the F1 world, the first race staged there in late September 2004. Coming into it, Michael Schumacher had already sealed his fifth consecutive title, the record seventh – and final – world title of his career. Ferrari had already banked the constructors’ championship too, but they were in China to win, Schumacher and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello the fastest in pre-qualifying and therefore the last two drivers to set a qualifying lap.

Barrichello set a blistering pace but everyone expected to see Schumacher obliterate that when his turn came. But the metronomic German finally came unstuck, disappearing into the gravel in a 190mph spin, committing himself to starting the race from the pits. “I guess it was down to the part between the fuel tank and the steering wheel,” Schumacher said ruefully, admitting that even he was subject to human error.

Barrichello stepped up for Ferrari, winning his second consecutive race in a fascinating weekend of racing.

You can find the full Autosport account of every aspect of an historic weekend for Formula 1 here

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