F1 Raceweek: Giovinazzi goes again, Hamilton gets bored

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Formula One appears on course to realise its wish for a more competitive championship after Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag at the season-opening grand prix in Australia last month.

The Ferrari driver's first win since September 2015 was an encouraging sign that the Scuderia could finally challenge Mercedes' three-year dominance of the sport, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finishing second and third respectively.

Both teams will be well aware that it is early days as far as the 2017 campaign is concerned, as will the rest of the grid as they bid to keep pace.

Here we take a look at what's been happening in the world of Formula One ahead of this weekend's trip to China.

GIOVINAZZI GETS ANOTHER DRIVE

While Vettel was taking the plaudits for his win at Albert Park, Ferrari reserve driver Antonio Giovinazzi demonstrated his potential following a late call-up to drive for Sauber in Melbourne.

The Italian was given the drive after Pascal Wehrlein pulled out following Friday practice - the German still feeling the effects of a nasty crash at January's Race of Champions.

Giovinazzi narrowly missed out on Q2 before finishing 12th in the race, and the 23-year-old will be given another chance to shine in Shanghai this weekend, with Wehrlein still absent.

SAUBER SET FOR HONDA DEAL?

Reports have emerged since Australia that Honda could be about to announce a new deal to become Sauber's engine supplier from 2018.

Honda has struggled since returning to F1 with McLaren in 2015 but could add Sauber to its portfolio after a spokesman for the Japanese manufacturer was quoted as saying that "Honda is open to supplying multiple teams and discussions have taken place".

MCLAREN WON'T BUILD OWN ENGINE

There is, of course, no guarantee that McLaren will stay with Honda long term, but the possibility of building their own engines has been dismissed this week.

"McLaren Automotive is a different business unit with some common shareholders who we work very closely with," executive director Zak Brown is quoted as saying by Autosport.

"Their engine is a McLaren engine but the F1 team has a different set of economic priorities and ways to go racing so that is not a conversation that we've had.

"What we can do in 10 years, who knows? But that is not a conversation [for now]. We are not an engine builder, we are a racing team and a car constructor."

ALONSO TO WIND DOWN?

Former F1 driver Mark Webber believes Fernando Alonso could become so frustrated at McLaren's plight, that he may not even complete the 2017 season.

"Fernando might not do the whole year. He's frustrated like hell, he doesn't even want to finish seventh or sixth," he told Sporza.

"Fernando's not interested in points, he wants to be fighting for podiums. So mentally he's a long, long way away from where he wants to be"

China here we are! #f1 #14 #fa14 #shanghai #china

A post shared by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Alonso was forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix with suspension trouble after 50 laps

HAMILTON 'BORED AS F***'

F1 drivers are, perhaps by their very nature, impatient beasts.

And Lewis Hamilton's patience was tested this week as he awaited entry to China, posting on Snapchat that he was "bored af" as he waited to go through immigration.

The Briton's mood was soon lifted, however, by the sight of his Chinese fan club, with whom he posed for photographs.