- Before the race, Sebastian Vettel led the F1 World Drivers' Championship after winning the Australian Grand Prix, backing up Ferrari's impressive pre-season testing with victory in the opening race of the season.
- But Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was second and took his 63rd career pole position on Saturday in China to give himself the best possible chance of grabbing his first win.
- 19 out of 20 cars start the race on intermediates
- Safety car deployed after Antonio Giovinazzi crashes out
- Vettel drops back but Hamilton maintains lead