When I think of the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai, I always find myself reflecting on the inaugural race there back in 2004. It was one of those rare days when Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari looked simply average, the seven times world champion qualifying a hopeless 20th and finishing a lapped 12th.
Instead the race was dominated by his Maranello team-mate Rubens Barrichello who quite simply seemed to have a much better handle on the new venue that his celebrated colleague.
This year, of course, Schumacher’s level of expectancy will be fluttering somewhere between those two unlikely extremes. He’s unlikely to be dominating proceedings from the front, but he’s certainly not going to be down amongst the tail-enders, even though Jaimie Alguasuari rather cheekily offered his thanks for the driving lesson the Mercedes driver inadvertently produced for him in Melbourne after Schumi dropped to the back of the field after needing his car’s nose section changed after that first corner tangle.