Hamilton victorious in thrilling Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton recovered from an early scare with a fuel leak even before the race started to win the Chinese Grand Prix in dramatic style with some fantastic overtaking moves.

The McLaren driver had a technical issue with the engine refusing to fire up and the rush to prepare the car caused a moment of panic for the engineers in the pits. With only seconds to spare, Hamilton was sent out to make it on the starting grid and drove an aggressive race to take the chequered flag in style.

By winning the Chinese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has ended Sebastian Vettel’s run of victories thanks to a three-stop strategy over his rival’s two-stops. With better grip from the Pirellis, Hamilton was able to hunt down the championship leader and pass the tyre-hampered Red Bull in the final laps.

Mark Webber drove an outstanding race to come from P18 on the grid to finish third in the second Red Bull, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Mercedes GP’s Nico Rosberg – both of whom led for long periods in a fascinating race.

Vettel’s race began to get complicated following a poor start off pole position, which allowed both McLarens to get past him into Turn 1. Nico Rosberg also made a good start and Sebastian had to fend off the Mercedes in the opening corners to keep track position.

The trio then ran in a queue covered by two seconds through the first stint, with Rosberg and the Ferraris close behind.

Mercedes then pulled a masterstroke by bringing Rosberg in on lap 12. The German emerged with a clear track and made the most of his fresh Pirellis, but was also helped by a chaotic few laps from the top three. As Hamilton’s tyre performance faded, Vettel surged past him using the Drag Reduction System on the back straight.

Button and Vettel then pitted nose to tail, but bizarrely Button pulled into the Red Bull pit box rather than his own! He was frantically waved on to the correct pit, slightly slowing both pit-stops, although Red Bull reacted quicker and got Vettel out ahead.

With Hamilton losing pace dramatically on his in-lap and being caught and passed by Felipe Massa, Rosberg’s new-tyre pace and uncomplicated out-laps really paid dividends. As the second stint started, Rosberg led Vettel by five seconds, with Button, Massa and Hamilton giving chase.

But while Rosberg and the McLarens were committed to three-stop strategies, Vettel and Massa had decided to go for just two.

The latter looked like the best plan once everyone had made their second stops just after half-distance, for though that put Vettel and Massa fourth and fifth behind Rosberg and the McLarens, they were matching the leaders’ pace and not allowing the top three to pull out a sufficient margin to stay ahead when they made their additional stops.

Hamilton was now on a charge, slicing down the inside of team-mate Button to take second on lap 35, and then quickly catching Rosberg after their third stops and diving past him into Turn 6.

Lewis then hunted down the two-stopping Massa and passed the Ferrari with ease on the pits straight with 12 laps to the flag.

Next in his sights was race leader Vettel and by lap 50 Hamilton was right with the Red Bull and attacking with the Drag Reduction System on the back straight, though the championship leader defended his track position by hugged the inside line at the hairpin every time the McLaren drew alongside.

Hamilton had to be creative and on lap 52, the McLaren driver got much better traction out of Turn 6 and swept through on the inside into the fast Turn 7. After that he quickly pulled away to take a sensational victory in a race that proved the sport’s new rules regulations is achieving everything in providing entertainment for the fans.

Rosberg fell behind Button when he ran wide trying to pass Massa. With an issue with fuel consumption and his tyres just too old to resist the three-stoppers, Massa was swiftly overtaken by Button, Rosberg and even Webber – who also became a factor in the podium battle in the enthralling final stages.

The Australian had made little impression in his first stint on hard ‘Prime’ tyres, but like Sepang last weekend, pitting three times gave him plenty of opportunity to gain ground in clear air – and saving the much quicker soft ‘Option’ for the final stint when everyone else was on Prime gave him a huge pace advantage, as Webber proved by taking fourth from Rosberg with a Turn 6 dive three laps from the end.

Lapping two seconds quicker than anyone else, the Red Bull was flying (setting the fastest lap in the process) and at the end of the penultimate lap, Webber passed Button to grab a sensational podium finish.

Massa had to settle for sixth, but could take satisfaction from outpacing Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, who both lacked Massa’s speed and lost ground emerging into traffic after pit-stops. He just beat Michael Schumacher to seventh, the Mercedes having got clear of the midfield by making a very early first of three stops.

Renault’s Vitaly Petrov finished in ninth ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s Sauber. As for Paul di Resta, he continues to impress with his speed in the Force India and recorded another points finish with P11, ahead of Nick Heidfeld.

Adrian Sutil’s race in the second Force India was spoiled by contact with Sergio Perez, for which the Sauber driver was penalised with a drive-through.

Toro Rosso’s great qualifying effort turned to nothing, with the pair falling down the race order – with Sebastien Buemi finishing only in P14 behind Rubens Barrichello’s Williams, and Jaime Alguersuari retiring when a right-rear wheel fell off after his pit-stop. Behind Sutil, Heikki Kovalainen gave Team Lotus plenty to cheer by beating Perez and Pastor Maldonado’s Williams to P16.

So a fantastic race in Shanghai. The differences in tyre strategies while running the harder ‘Prime’ tyres compared to the softer ‘Option’ Pirelli offered plenty of overtaking moves and it made the Chinese Grand Prix a thriller. Both Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber drove a sensational race to victory and podium spot respectively.

As for Sebastian Vettel, he still leads the championship with 21 points but he must feel vulnerable as the competitiveness of the McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari is matching the performance of the Red Bull as Formula One heads back to Europe.

Race result from Shanghai, 56 laps:

1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           1h36:58.226
2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +5.198
3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +7.555
4.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +10.000
5.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +13.448
6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +15.840
7.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +30.622
8.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +31.206
9.  Petrov        Renault                    +57.404
10.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1:03.273
11.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1:08.757
12.  Heidfeld      Renault                    +1:12.739
13.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +1:30.189
14.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1:30.671
15.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
16.  Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
17.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
18.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +1 lap
19.  Trulli        Lotus-Renault              +1 lap
20.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
21.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +2 laps
22.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps
23.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +2 laps

Fastest lap: Webber, 1:38.993

Not classified/retirements:
Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari           12 laps

World Championship standings, round 3:

1.  Vettel        68
2.  Hamilton      47
3.  Button        38
4.  Webber        37
5.  Alonso        26
6.  Massa         24
7.  Petrov        17
8.  Heidfeld      15
9.  Rosberg       10
10.  Kobayashi      7
11.  Schumacher     6
12.  Buemi          4
13.  Di Resta       2
14.  Sutil          2

1.  Red Bull-Renault          105
2.  McLaren-Mercedes           85
3.  Ferrari                    50
4.  Renault                    32
5.  Mercedes                   16
6.  Sauber-Ferrari              7
7.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          4
8.  Force India-Mercedes        4

Next race: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul. May 6-8.

13 thoughts to “Hamilton victorious in thrilling Chinese Grand Prix”

  1. Chinese Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton has admitted he was overwhelmed by emotions. Autosport.com has the details.

    Lewis Hamilton said he was “absolutely overwhelmed” after taking his first win of the year in China.

    The McLaren driver put on a superb performance to end Sebastian Vettel’s run of victories in Shanghai, the Briton grabbing his first win since last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.

    “I am absolutely overwhelmed,” said Hamilton. “It feels like a long time since I was sitting here. I am proud and grateful for all the hard work I have put in.

    “I will continue to push and looking forward to many more like this.”

    Hamilton admitted his decision to save a set of soft tyres for the race, compromising his qualifying strategy, had paid off.

    “I think today the strategy that we came up with going in to qualifying definitely helped,” he said. “Our new option tyres seemed to last a bit longer than the guys in front.

    “It was quite a few things that came together. The pitstops were fantastic, the guys were pushing to improve, the car felt great.

    “I was trying to nurse my tyres and trying to pick up the pace. The guys in front of me had to do a lot of overtaking. Thumbs up to the guys back at factory, who put their heart into making the car what it is on the GP weekend. It feels amazing.”

    The British driver was lucky to be able to start from his grid slot, after a fuel leak forced his mechanics to work at full speed before the pitlane closed ahead of the start of the race.

    Hamilton left the pits with just seconds left, his car still missing some parts of the bodywork.

    “I don’t think worried was coming into my thoughts. I’m not sure what went on, but we took a lot of of bodywork off. We knew there was six minutes to go and then with two minutes fortunately everything came together very quickly.

    “But of course for me it is important to stay as calm as possible as that reflects on the guys in the garage. They got the car out which is the most important thing.”

    And the former world champion insisted McLaren must keep pushing to close the gap on Red Bull in qualifying trim.

    “I think obviously we still have a long road ahead of us. We are working very hard to close the gap. In race pace we are quite similar, but in qualifying we still have a lot of work to do.”

  2. Despite finishing in second position Sebastian Vettel has said he will learn from experience in particular the pit-stop strategy. Autosport.com has the story.

    Championship leader Sebastian Vettel says Red Bull will learn from its defeat in the Chinese Grand Prix, having admitted that two stops turned out to be the wrong strategy at Shanghai.

    Vettel led into the closing stages, but lost the win to Lewis Hamilton as the McLaren – which was three-stopping – caught and passed him on fresher tyres.

    “We probably tried too hard staying on two stops,” said Vettel. “The middle stint should have been longer, but then you find yourself on the hard tyre and I saw Lewis coming closer and closer. There was no point [fighting too hard], I tried to defend as much as I could without losing too much time.

    “We made a couple of mistakes and we had some problems, but still we finished second so I am very happy for that. Congratulations to Lewis and McLaren – it shows that one race when you try something a bit different, you do mistakes. It is natural and there is someone else to beat you.

    “We learned a lot today. I am the only one on two stops here [on the podium] so surely something to look into tonight.”

    Vettel had started from pole again, but was passed off the line by both McLarens.

    “I think the start was not the best we had this year, on top of that it seems for some reason the left hand side is worse than here,” he said. “It wasn’t a 100 per cent good start so I lost position.”

    His first stop was then slowed slightly by Jenson Button mistakenly pulling into Red Bull’s pit area just ahead of Vettel.

    “It was quite a surprise – Jenson in front of me went into my garage,” Vettel recalled. “We had something similar with STR, I don’t know what attracts people to stop in our garage… The guys kept their heads cool, we came out in the lead.”

    Vettel added that his race had also been affected by some small problems, including radio difficulties and further KERS issues.

    “[The radio] didn’t make it easier, usually you exchange info, what the tyres are, other guys…” he said. “I asked a lot of questions so I didn’t get any answer. We had a problem with communication, we had a problem with KERS in the race, it wasn’t a trouble-free race.”

  3. As for his Red Bull Racing’s team-mate Mark Webber, the Australian was pleased to see Lewis Hamilton winning the Chinese Grand Prix as it prevented Sebastian Vettel in gaining more championship points. Autosport.com has the story.

    Mark Webber said he was pleased to see his Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s run of victories come to an end in China, as he did not want the world champion getting out of reach in the title hunt too early.

    Webber drove a spectacular Shanghai race to come from 18th to third, while Vettel lost the lead to Lewis Hamilton with just a handful of laps to go.

    “Congratulations to Lewis,” said Webber. “It was good that someone finally… of course Seb is in the same team, but he’s been on a phenomenal run and we’re all here together fighting for victories.

    “Shame McLaren won in a way, but also we can’t let Seb get too far away. It was a good day for the racing, I think, and a good day for us in terms of points for the team.”

    Webber had appeared to be making little progress in the opening stages, as he struggled to get through the midfield traffic while on hard tyres. But he later flew on softs and came through to third with a string of late moves.

    “It was an interesting GP, we decided to start on the prime hard tyre,” said Webber. “We know it was not the more desired tyre. We got that out of the way, and it was quite tricky. It was not easy to come back with those guys.

    “But I got the car back and we really started from there. To still see P17 on board after 15 laps [was hard], then I felt comfortable with car, and I had a few sets of tyres left after qualifying – so maybe the best bet is not to take part in qualifying and go from there!

    “Jokes aside, great job this weekend, the guys haven’t given up – it is a drive for everyone at the factory.”

  4. After leading in the early stages of the Chinese Grand Prix, Jenson Button finished in fourth position and commented that he wasn’t fast enough compared to his McLaren team-mate. Autosport.com has the details.

    Jenson Button said he simply did not have the pace to match his McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s charge to victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

    Button had led the opening stint after a great start from the front row, but he was passed by Hamilton in the middle of the race, could not catch Sebastian Vettel, and lost third to Mark Webber with just over a lap to go.

    “Massive congratulations to Lewis, he drove a great race,” said Button to television crews. “It was one of those races where there was a lot of overtaking and action involved, so it was good fun to be part of, but I wasn’t quick enough.

    “I really struggled to look after the rear tyres for some reason. Fourth place was as good as I could get out of the car.

    “It’s enjoyable, but also you’re a sitting duck when people have got newer tyres – you can’t do anything. For example when Webber passed me, he was so much faster. You really can’t do anything. You try and fight back, but you don’t have the grip, the braking power or the traction, so it’s very tricky. A tough afternoon for me, for some reason I just didn’t have the pace.”

    He said the race showed that basic car speed was not as important as strategy under Formula 1’s current rules and tyre package.

    “Getting strategy right is very important, as you can see by Webber finishing up behind his team-mate. Sebastian started on pole, Webber was 18th. It really is amazing,” said Button.

    The Briton also lost time at his first stop when he accidentally pulled into the Red Bull pit rather than McLaren’s. Button apologised to his crew for the error.

    “I made it difficult for them,” he said. “I was actually looking down when I came into the pits and went into the wrong pit spot.”

    Team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted that Button’s pit error had been less than ideal, but was pleased with how the McLaren crew responded.

    “The first stop, we called him in and he didn’t come in on that lap. So he was one lap later, and that put us out of sync,” Whitmarsh told the BBC.

    “Then he did come in and obviously he liked the look of the Red Bull tyres and he parked himself there. Unfortunately that process lost us a position to Vettel, so fairly disastrous, so it could have been very easy for the team to go from 1-2 to fifth or whatever, but both the guys and the team did a good job to stay calm and it came good in the end.”

  5. Fernando Alonso believes a three-stop strategy would not have helped his cause much after struggling during the Chinese Grand Prix.

    The Ferrari driver finished down in a distant seventh position after opting for a two-stop strategy, which seemed to be the slower option today.

    The Spaniard, however, reckons a three-stopper would not have made much difference for him, as he reckons his car was simply not quick enough.

    “We’ll see now which one was the best,” Alonso told Spanish television about the strategy. “It’s very easy to choose the strategy when you have the fastest car and it’s very hard when you are slow. Webber today showed qualifying is not very important.

    “The most important thing is to have a good tyre degradation and a good strategy, and this year we can overtake. As I say, the easiest thing is to have a quick car, like Red Bull, you pit three, two, one times and you end up on the podium.

    “We need to improve the car above everything. I don’t think it would have changed much. We were much slower than the cars we had in front so we would ended up with a similar result.”

    Alonso denied having had any issues with his car, despite losing several position during the latter part of the race.

    “No, we didn’t have any particular problems. We just weren’t fast at any point during the race and we kept on losing positions little by little.

    “Then we opted to go for two stops so it looked like we were in a good position during some points of the race and others where they were flying like bullets from behind. We had to try to hold on and finish the race in whatever position.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  6. Following his sensational drive from Lewis Hamilton, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has prasied his driver’s approach to the race. Autosport.com has the story.

    McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh paid tribute to the calm approach of his drivers after Lewis Hamilton took a frantic Chinese Grand Prix victory, despite the 2008 world champion coming close to missing the grid formation after a fuel problem in the garage.

    The team flooded Hamilton’s car and over-filled it with fuel, then had to dismantle the McLaren to drain it before the deadline for getting to the grid. Hamilton, having made his third position slot with seconds to spare, then went on to take the lead at the start and fight Sebastian Vettel to win a dramatic grand prix.

    “Lewis just sat in the car and let the team do the job,” Whitmarsh explained to the BBC. “But he would have been focussing on his start while all the back of his car was being dismantled. So it was a good job by him to stay calm and focussed.

    “A few minutes later he made a great start, got into the lead and the race got going with a 1-2 position for us. Frankly the first stop and that part of the race went wrong for us and then to recover from that was a great effort from the team and the drivers.”

    Whitmarsh explained that McLaren faced a race against time to resolve Hamilton’s flooding issue prior to the race.

    “Just before we went out we started the engine no problem, but clearly it was flooded,” said Whitmarsh. “We had to respond with time then tight against you.

    “To dismantle a car, to get in there, drain all that fuel out and make sure it wasn’t flooded and get out there with seconds to spare was not the greatest way to start our afternoon, but the boys did a great job.”

    Asked how he felt after the race, he said: “All sorts of emotions.

    “It’s been a challenging weekend and the races now there is so much action, there are so many stops, you have got to monitor the tyres and if you get it even slightly wrong then you’re toast,” he added. “I think Lewis and Jenson [Button] drove brilliant races, it was just a charging race.

    “It was fantastic to get our first win of the year. It was a really important one, emotionally you always dread a year when you are not going to win races so to win the first one for the team, with all the work that has been done in the last six weeks, it is a reward for that.

    Both Button and Hamilton led the race, but the pair battled for second position in the last third of the grand prix – Lewis taking the position after a wheel-to-wheel moment.

    “I don’t ever enjoy our cars overtaking each other,” said Whitmarsh. “When you watch it live it’s pretty scary because you know they are centimetres away from catastrophe.

    “But again they are there to race, and they were racing each other and that’s the philosophy of this team. We want both of our guys out there racing flat out it just made a fantastic afternoon and they got past cleanly.”

  7. Heikki Kovalainen’s P16 finish was the best result for Team Lotus and the Finn has hailed the team’s performance compared to the others. Autosport.com has the story.

    Heikki Kovalainen hailed his Lotus team’s performance as its best ever after beating some established teams on pure pace in China.

    Kovalainen finished in 16th position, ahead of the Sauber of rookie Sergio Perez and fellow F1 debutant Pastor Maldonado in the Williams.

    Although it was not the best position by a Lotus in a race, Kovalainen admitted it had definitely been the most competitive outing.

    “That is our best ever performance,” the Finn said. “It’s not the highest place we’ve had but today we beat two midfield cars in a straight fight so I am very happy, with my performance and the performance of the whole team.

    “We knew we would struggle in the cool conditions yesterday but today the temperatures rose and we expected to be able to put in the sort of race that would do justice to the pace that is in the car.

    “We will keep working hard to improve the car’s behaviour in the cooler conditions and we can only get better from here.”

    The team’s technical chief Mike Gascoyne was equally happy with the performance of his squad, after being lapped just once.

    “It is very satisfying to have beaten two other midfield teams on track on pace and strategy and to be able to show that we have bridged the gap to the established teams. Both drivers made a good start and with the higher track temperatures we knew our race pace would be good, and so it proved.

    “With the tyre degradation we were able to stick to two stops, which was always our plan and that allowed us to jump a couple of people, giving us our strongest race in F1. Additionally, we were only lapped once, right towards the end of the race, so I am very proud of the whole team today.”

  8. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner admitted that his team opted for a two-stop strategy in an attempt to outfox McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and that had Sebastian Vettel matched their three-stop plan he would not have been able to bring himself into play.

    The world champion made a poor start from pole position and ran third initially, which is when Red Bull decided to run Vettel on two-stops, and though this put the German in the lead for most of the race his worn tyres left him vulnerable to a successful attack from race-winner Hamilton in the closing stages.

    “If we had made just three stops behind them, we probably would have stayed behind both of them,” Horner told the BBC. “So we decided to do something different to try and beat both of them and we thought we could make it work – we came within four to five laps of doing so – and P2 is still a great result.

    “Lewis with the shape that his tyres were in was so much quicker that it wasn’t worth fighting so hard. Points are still important and it’s a long championship. He made him work for it for a couple of laps, but it was inevitable with the difference in grip.

    “Second and third is still a fantastic result so we made our commitment at the first to go two-stops, we thought we could make it work and we came up four laps shy on making that work for us today. It was a fascinating race that so nearly paid off by Sebastian. We made the decision based on him being P3 at the time behind the McLarens – we felt that was the best way to beat them and very, very nearly did it.”

    Horner also paid tribute to Mark Webber, who produced a storming drive from 18th on the grid to finish third after a battle with Jenson Button in the closing stages.

    “What a recovery from Mark,” said Horner. “With Mark we ran the race in reverse and started him on the prime tyres and once he got on to the softer tyres he just got faster and faster on an aggressive three-stop strategy.

    “He for sure was driver of the day, he made some great moves with Michael [Schumacher] and Fernando [Alonso] and so on and then to get the podium there at the end… he came close last weekend and he really deserved that result today.”

    KERS proved a problem for both Red Bull drivers again in the race and Horner admitted that the team must improve the system before Turkey.

    “KERS worked pretty well for the first half of the grand prix and then we became more intermittent with its usage in the latter half of the race,” he said. “We still need to improve on it and we have got three weeks between now and Istanbul to make sure that we have got it available on every lap of the grand prix.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  9. Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg was left feeling disappointing after missing the opportunity to finish on the podium. Rosberg was leading the race at one point but in the end, he finished down to fifth. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Nico Rosberg was disappointed after missing the chance to finish on the podium in the Chinese Grand Prix.

    The Mercedes driver led the event for a handful of laps and looked in contention for a spot in the top three before he was hit by fuel consumption issues.

    The problem meant the German was unable to push as much as he wanted, dropping down to fifth position.

    Rosberg, however, was still upbeat about the step forward taken by Mercedes and says the team will learn from the lessons of today.

    “Naturally I’m disappointed with the race today as we know that we didn’t make the most of our opportunity out there,” said Rosberg. “We’ve made a big step with the car this weekend which is really nice to see and we will have better races in future.

    “Leading the race for such a long time was a great feeling but we had issues with the fuel consumption which made it really difficult to fight for position.

    “We could have had a podium finish or maybe more today, but we will learn from this together as a team and make sure that we get the results next time.”

    The team completed its first double points finish of the season after Michael Schumacher was eighth in the race.

    Schumacher was also positive about his team’s progress ahead of the start of the European season.

    “That was a lot of racing in one grand prix this afternoon and very exciting,” he said. “I had a lot of fun this afternoon and I’m so pleased to see the hard work of our guys paid off this weekend.

    “We have made a big step forward with our car and it worked very well. We are heading towards the first race in Europe now and will bring some upgrades to Istanbul which should help us to improve even more. It is good to leave Asia with a positive feeling.”

    Nico Rosberg says his race-leading pace in the Chinese Grand Prix has reignited optimism that Mercedes GP can enjoy a strong season in 2010.

    On the back of a disappointing first two races to the campaign, Rosberg delivered his team’s most competitive performance of the campaign to lead the race for 14 laps.

    And although fuel consumption issues slowed him down and resulted in him dropping to fifth at the flag, Rosberg says the fact the team came close to such a strong result was good grounds to feel upbeat about future prospects.

    “We are optimistic for one, which is nice,” Rosberg told AUTOSPORT. “It is good to see after such a disastrous start, to turn it around and then lead the Shanghai race for I don’t know how many laps. No one saw that coming and it was brilliant wasn’t it? It was great stuff.

    “There is a feeling of optimism again. But we are still one second off Red Bull Racing in qualifying, so we need to be careful because we need to be one tenth ahead of them.”

    Rosberg said him being able to lead the race was a surprise – and he was even more shocked when he was able to keep a comfortable margin at the front before his second stop for tyres.

    “It was pace,” he said. “I saw a Red Bull in my mirrors and it wasn’t coming closer. It was staying the same size, and I thought, ‘what is going on?'”

    Rosberg believes the turnaround in form for Mercedes GP since last weekend’s Malaysian GP was simply the result of the team extracting more speed from the car – because the only major changes to the car were that it did not need to be compromised for the high levels of cooling that had been required in Sepang.

    “We are just extracting the best from the car now,” he said. “Set-up, basic things even, just coming together, understanding better – an example is big chunks of time from basic springs and parts. So that is good. It is not everything, a small bit, but there are bits and pieces everywhere.”

    When asked if he felt a win would have been on the cards if he had not had to go into fuel saving mode, Rosberg said: “I don’t know. I don’t have the numbers, but I am going to believe in it. Why not?

    “I don’t have any numbers so I cannot back it up with facts, so I don’t know if my belief is in anyway realistic, but that doesn’t matter.

    “We would have been second at least though, I guess. I don’t know why I wouldn’t have got Sebastian Vettel.”

    Rosberg had to save fuel in the race because Mercedes GP had made a miscalculation about its fuel consumption figures. The team’s pace in the race was much faster than it had predicted, and that meant the German was burning more fuel than had been expected.

  10. This was a strong result for Felipe Massa and the Brazilian was delighted with his improved form. Autosport.com has the details.

    Felipe Massa believes that he produced his best performance for some time after finishing sixth in the Chinese Grand Prix, having run as high as second after his final stop, before his tyres faded and he dropped down the order.

    The Ferrari driver was a factor all weekend having matched his double world champion team-mate Fernando Alonso for pace in qualifying and then managing his strategy more successfully than the Spaniard during the race.

    “I’m very, very happy with my performance,” Massa told the BBC. “It was the best race for me this year – one of the best compared to last year as well.

    “It’s a shame because we could have finished in the top, and it was not possible. We finished the race. I did my best but, it was not enough to make everybody happy, not just me.”

    Massa admitted that despite his strong showing he was frustrated by the result, adding that he believed that a three-stop strategy might have been a better option than the two-stop he used.

    “At the end of the day they chose the right strategy [the cars ahead of him],” he said. “Not just Lewis [Hamilton] – four cars together. All these cars passed me very easily. Even the guy who dominated the race, which was Sebastian [Vettel], didn’t win because of his strategy, which was the same as mine.

    “It shows that we didn’t pick the right one. My pace on the soft was great, even similar to Sebastian, and we took that as a consideration that maybe we were able to do one less stop.

    “Looking at everybody stopping straight away, we took the decision already in the first stint and unfortunately it didn’t work like we expected.”

  11. Sergio Perez apologised to Adrian Sutil for their collision in the Chinese Grand Prix – though the German said his greater concern was why Force India’s tyre wear had been so bad at Shanghai.

    The late-race clash at the first complex earned Perez a penalty and meant Sutil had to pit for a new front wing, leaving the Force India 15th and the Sauber 17th.

    “I’m very sorry for the accident with Adrian – I am sorry for him and sorry for my team,” said Perez.

    “At this time in the race I wanted to get the most out of my tyres, as I was under pressure from Vitaly [Petrov], so was quite aggressive.

    “Unfortunately I lost the rear when I was already on the inside of Adrian and crashed into him.”

    Though Sutil acknowledged that it was the collision that had ultimately ended his hopes of points, he said it had been a tough race for him from the start.

    “I was unlucky with the incident with Perez, which cost me the race,” said Sutil.

    “But in the end we had problems as well with the tyres, they didn’t last as long as we thought and I was just struggling the whole time.

    “We have to understand why we were not so competitive in the race this time; in qualifying we were much better, so we will go away, analyse everything and I think it is good that we have the break now before the next race in Europe.”

    Sutil’s team-mate Paul di Resta looked set for points until he also faded and fell to 11th late on.

    “Having gone into the race without heavy fuel runs may have compromised us a bit,” said di Resta, who lost a lot of practice mileage to fuel pressure issues on Friday afternoon.

    “We didn’t quite get the aero balance right at the start, but the second and third stints I think were pretty good, just a bit longer than expected because we had to stop early to try and cover Michael [Schumacher].

    “Maybe a three-stop strategy would have suited us better, but only time will tell in the simulations.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  12. Following two Grands Prix in which Renault finished on the podium, team boss Eric Boullier was left feeling frustrated after a difficult race in Shanghai. Autosport.com has the story.

    Renault boss Eric Boullier admitted the team was left frustrated following a difficult Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.

    The team, which had been on the podium in the first two races, had to be content with a ninth-place finish by Vitaly Petrov, with team-mate Nick Heidfeld down in 12th.

    Boullier conceded qualifying poorly, added to a strategy that did not work as expected, had made for a frustrating day for Renault.

    He also said the team was expecting overtaking to be easier at the Shanghai circuit.

    “Starting where we did, it was always going to be difficult to repeat the results we have had already this season,” said Boullier. “In the end, it turned out to be quite a frustrating afternoon for us and we didn’t really make the progress we expected in the race.

    “Part of the reason was that overtaking was not as easy as we thought it would be, even with the DRS. Also, we need to review our strategy because it wasn’t easy to make the calls today and it’s clear you need to switch tyres at exactly the right moment.

    “Still, it’s good to pick up more points with Vitaly and we now have three weeks to regroup before Turkey to make sure we can be fighting closer to the front.”

  13. Man that was some race! Most definitely one of the best dry races in recent years, despite the very real prospect of rain that we normally get at China never occurred.

    it didn’t get off to great start, since the best qualifying round was the second session. The final one was more or less ruined by Petrov’s mechanical breakdown at the end.

    The question was always going to be, would the Mclarens push Red Bull out of the No.1 spot and keep him there, and just how many places could Mark Webber make up from 18th on the grid.

    Well it turns out Mclaren got it half done and Webber jumped up a place or 16 if you include couple of places he dropped back at the start! What an incredible race for him. Quite insane to how such a bad start can be turned into such a race to remember. You know how you hear all these drivers when asked about what they can hope for in a race from a poor start position. You know how they nearly always appear to bullshit and say they are hoping for this that and the other? You know how then, we just laugh and don’t believe believe it’s possible? Well we can all STFU. Oh and he did it without the use of KERS. Chew on that then! Great strategy helped of course, which ironically for Red Bull, they ballsed up for their baby, Vettel.

    The race winning drive by Lewis though was also sublime. Some great overtakes and a cool, calm collective head….looking at you Jenson ;), meant that he took the lead so very close to to the end with Vettel powerless, or should that be tyreless to stop him. A great drive and one that given most of the work was done on the track rather than, one less pit-stop-Webber, meant for me, he just took the driver of the day.

    Much has been said about the movable wing and tyre wear actually doesn’t mean we get “real” overtakes. Mark Webber has on more than one occasion (inc straight after this race) commentated on this. But for the watching fans, we just give a crap! it’s overtaking! While watching the Brawn’s make mince meat out of the opposition a couple of years ago was brilliant, there still wasn’t much to talk about. Last years was great but only for the reason the title was so wide open.

    This year however, we have finally got some racing and real or not, overtaking. I mean, what do the drivers want?1 Before now, all we heard was,
    “Oh well, I got stuck behind ….. and there was nothing I could do”

    You think Alonso last year could give a crap if everyone had crap tyres and moveable rear wings that time in the final race. Yay I got past and won the championship!…..but it wasn’t a real overtake though. Duh, we don’t care and the driver doing the overtaking should acre either. So far, on the right track, these changes are making a real difference. So long as the white lines that signal you can open the rear wing are placed correctly and it’s the right track, then the driver still has to work hard and think hard. At 20mph+, and you have only just past a car before needing to break, there is still a lot to do and it’s by no means the take is a done deal.

    Of course in say Monaco, it’ll still be down to who crashes or not (and who gets pole of course), but this is great work given that we’ll never get back to the good old days with plain and plain can be aero packages and just a couple of buttons on the steering wheel.

    So it’s a looong wait for the next race at Turkey and the Euro stint.

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