After a three-week break, Formula 1 action returns with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. In the second race of the season at Sepang, former world champion Fernando Alonso registered a great win after qualifying in ninth place.
This has blown the competition wide open, as Alonso in his Ferrari has zipped to the top of the drivers standings with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton (30 points) trailing him closely. Meanwhile, Hamilton's touted teammate and compatriot Jenson Button failed to notch up any points in Malaysia, but he is still placed third overall thanks to his win in the season-opener in Australia.
In Shanghai, all eyes will be on Button as well as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who is yet to hit his stride after two consecutive championship-winning seasons in 2010 and 2011. The Chinese Grand Prix will provide these two drivers the perfect opportunity to get back into title contention.
Even the constructor's race is bound to heat up in Shanghai. While McLaren (55 points) is comfortably perched on top of the team standings, their 13-point buffer from Red Bull is actually much smaller than it seems--especially due to the fact that the Austrian team's second driver, Mark Webber, has also found rhythm.
Ferrari (35 points) and Sauber (30 points) are also making inroads in the constructor's race, and a slip-up from the top two teams could very easily change the entire picture at this point. Again, Alonso will be the key for Ferrari if they are to seriously challenge Red Bull and McLaren in this race--not to mention the rest of the season!
Meanwhile, Force India, who has managed to score invaluable points in both the races thus far, will be hoping to better their showing at the Chinese Grand Prix. Last year, the Indian team failed to register any points in Shanghai after Paul di Resta was narrowly edged out by Kamui Kobayashi for the 10th spot.
However, with both di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg opening their accounts this season, it looks like Force India has a very good chance at clocking a few points in this race. Currently, this team is in sixth position, and it is seven points behind Lotus (16 points