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ICYMI: Basketball stars, a sell-out crowd and the greatest panda-cam ever in the best social media from China

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SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Fans of Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB show their

F1 returned to China for the first time since 2019, with a sell-out crowd in attendance to watch home driver Zhou Guanyu race in Shanghai for the first time. Zhou was busy all weekend but he wasn't the only one to get up to plenty off-track. Here is some of the best social media you might have missed...

The home hero

This is Zhou's third year in F1, but his first race at home. As well as a special streets of Shanghai helmet, he treated the crowd to an SQ3 appearance in Sprint Qualifying, and a ninth-placed finish in the Sprint itself.

It's safe to say, the fans were in raptures every time he took to the track.

READ MORE: Zhou ‘proud and honoured’ to race in China but Bottas’ day ends in disappointment

Panda-monium

There were plenty of one-off helmet designs on display, but this effort has to go down as the best, funniest and wackiest for a while.

Alex Albon decided to pay homage to the panda with his, giving us some hilarious on-board shots across the weekend.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Chinese Grand Prix as Verstappen takes victory while Safety Car sparks dramatic restart

Stars in attendance

The F1 drivers were shooting some hoops in the paddock but their skills weren't quite a match for this man's. Yao Ming is basketball royalty and for good reason – although compared to the somewhat slight F1 drivers, it was his height that was eye-catching in Shanghai.

He stayed to watch the race and cheer on Zhou – and was treated to a pretty busy afternoon of action.

He shoots, he scores

Daniel Ricciardo might be the only driver to have caught Ming's eye for the right reasons. He landed this shot before the weekend began – but didn't know at the time it was to prove the highlight.

A Grand Prix DNF and a three-place grid drop for Miami made it a Sunday to forget for the Aussie, who might wish for better luck on the track and less luck with the hoops next time.

READ MORE: Ricciardo hit with three-place grid penalty for Miami weekend after Chinese GP rule breach

Welcome to the family

Charles Leclerc welcomed a new family member before the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, a puppy called Leo. Whether Leo brought him good luck or not is up for debate, but the Monegasque certainly seemed happier on track and more content in his car.

READ MORE: FACTS AND STATS: Verstappen hits a hat trick of Sprint weekend doubles

Leclerc might not have bagged a trophy in China, but Leo is a pretty good consolation prize.

Album covers

Mercedes weren't the only ones to take inspiration from some recent album drops – George Russell's fifties look lending itself well to this particular homage.

He was swift enough in the race to catch and pass Piastri though, so all in all it's a fitting tribute. The 'tortured' bit though, that's for Toto Wolff to decide.

READ MORE: Hamilton ‘grateful just to get points’ in China as Russell admits Mercedes have ‘work to do’ before Miami

Many, many wins ago

Sebastian Vettel (remember him?!) took Red Bull's first-ever win at this track some 15 years ago, and my how time has flown since.

The Bulls have barely stopped winning of late, but still took time to remember their first.

Incredible scenes

The fans came out in huge numbers across the weekend, every session heaving with passionate locals keen to cheer on their heroes.

EXPLAINED: Why Ricciardo, Stroll, Sargeant and Magnussen were all penalised in China

All the teams had plenty of support, with banners, flags and the customary – if unnerving – giant cut out faces on display. Here are some of the best looks.

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