Hamilton victorious in Formula 1’s 1000th race

Defending world champion Lewis Hamilton scored a dominant victory in Formula 1’s historic 1000th Grand Prix event.

Hamilton led from lights to flag to score his second win of the 2019 season. Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas had to settle with second with Sebastian Vettel third for Ferrari.

Hamilton made a clean getaway from the start and got into Turn 1 first ahead of pole sitting Bottas, while Charles Leclerc went by his Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel to claim third position.

As the midfielders squeezed through the Turn 6 hairpin Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat caught a brief rear-end oversteer moment, bouncing off Carlos Sainz Jr’s McLaren and then interlocking wheels with Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris, who was pitched into the air.

That prompted a brief virtual safety car deployment so that debris – including part of Sainz’s front wing – could be cleared.

Hamilton edged away at around half a second a lap in the initial phase of the race while the majority of the frontrunners settled into tyre-conversation mode – all except for Vettel, who was shaping up to pass his team-mate. Leclerc, for his part, was told to push harder or give way.

Ferrari quickly firmed up that team orders into a directive to let Vettel by, and Leclerc reluctantly complied at the beginning of lap 11 of 56.

But despite the position swap Vettel made few inroads into the advantage of Bottas, let alone Hamilton, even though he was clearly pushing his car’s limits – even snatching a front-left brake and running wide at the Turn 14 hairpin on lap 13. Leclerc wasted no time in telling his engineer that he, now, was being held up.

As the Mercedes disappeared into the distance, fifth-placed Max Verstappen joined the hunt for the podium by pitting for hard Pirelli compound on lap 18. That prompted Ferrari to pit Vettel to cover the potential undercut, and indeed when Vettel emerged on his new set of hards he was barely ahead of the Red Bull.

Verstappen made a DRS-assisted pass on the back straight and was ahead into Turn 14, but ran slightly wide and Vettel edged him onto the grass at the exit to reclaim what was now fourth position.

Ferrari was now committed to a long stint for Leclerc since he would inevitably leave the pits behind this battle – and when he did stop for hards, five laps after his team-mate, he was nearly 11-second adrift of Verstappen.

Bottas pitted for hards on lap 22, followed by Hamilton one lap later, and as the world champion departed the pitlane the gap between the two Mercedes had shrunk to 1.5 seconds.

But Hamilton extended his advantage again and strung out the gap beyond five seconds, and within ten laps of pitting his only concern was whether Bottas had set the fastest lap of the race and thereby secured an extra point.

Red Bull moved first to trigger the next rash of stops on lap 36, bringing Verstappen in for fresh mediums. Ferrari responded by pitting Vettel a lap later for similar rubber, and next time round Mercedes brought both Hamilton and Bottas in for mediums as well.

That meant Bottas emerged in third position behind the out-of-sequence Leclerc and had a fight on his hands. For almost two laps Leclerc denied him until Bottas launched a textbook DRS-assisted move into Turn 14.

Once clear, Bottas pulled away as Leclerc fell into the clutches of his own team-mate. Ferrari brought Leclerc in for mediums on lap 42 and he was slow out of the box, leaving the pits in fifth place and over 15-second behind Verstappen.

Though Leclerc tried to chip away at the margin, he reported gearbox issues later in the race – though Ferrari reassured him there was no problem – and Verstappen remained a distant speck.

Sixth-placed Pierre Gasly had a lonely race in the Red Bull, running immediately behind his team-mate in the opening laps, but it was probably too much to expect him to run 19 laps on the softs. By the time he pitted he was well adrift of the battle with the Ferraris.

With two laps to the flag, Gasly was in enough space for Red Bull to swap him onto soft tyres for a tilt at the fastest lap. He set personal bests in the first two sectors and went purple in the last to take the bonus point.

Renault split its strategy by bringing Nico Hulkenberg in early to swap from soft to hard tyres on lap 12 while leaving Daniel Ricciardo out for a long first stint on the softs. The outcome for Hulkenberg was rendered moot when he was forced to retire five laps later.

Ricciardo then had a relatively uneventful run to seventh as the final three points-paying places became the most hotly contested positions in the race.

Sergio Perez combined a strong start – he gained four places on the opening lap – with a 20-lap first stint on mediums to secure eighth place from P12 on the grid. Behind him Kimi Raikkonen also ran a long first stint on mediums, fell behind the early-stopping Haas entries when he did stop, then made the best of fresher rubber to go by both Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean to claim ninth.

Magnussen and Grosjean started ninth and tenth but stopped to get rid of their soft Pirellis early, before the race was ten laps old, and lost track position as a result. After dropping behind Raikkonen, Grosjean ran P10 ahead of Magnussen in the second stint until both cars made early second stops.

This gave the Haas drivers further work to do to overhaul the likes of Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon. Grosjean came close to getting the job done but had to obey blue flags for Leclerc on the final lap, enabling Albon to hold on and secure the final point for Toro Rosso despite starting from the pitlane having changed chassis after his huge practice crash.

So not the best race to celebrate the 1000th Formula 1 event but in terms of the championship, this is looking good for Mercedes. Three races in and three victories. Congratulations to the Brackley-based outfit with this Grand Prix achievement.

Chinese Grand Prix, race results:
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 1:32:06.350
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 6.552s
3 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 56 13.744s
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 56 27.627s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 31.276s
6 Pierre Gasly Red Bull-Honda 56 1m29.307s
7 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 55 1 Lap
8 Sergio Perez Racing Point-Mercedes 55 1 Lap
9 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
10 Alexander Albon Toro Rosso-Honda 55 1 Lap
11 Romain Grosjean Haas-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
12 Lance Stroll Racing Point-Mercedes 55 1 Lap
13 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
14 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren-Renault 55 1 Lap
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 55 1 Lap
16 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 54 2 Laps
17 Robert Kubica Williams-Mercedes 54 2 Laps
18 Lando Norris McLaren-Renault 50 Not running
– Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Honda 41 Retirement
– Nico Hulkenberg Renault 16 Retirement

Drivers’ standings:
1 Lewis Hamilton 68
2 Valtteri Bottas 62
3 Max Verstappen 39
4 Sebastian Vettel 37
5 Charles Leclerc 36
6 Pierre Gasly 13
7 Kimi Raikkonen 12
8 Lando Norris 8
9 Kevin Magnussen 8
10 Nico Hulkenberg 6
11 Daniel Ricciardo 6
12 Sergio Perez 5
13 Alexander Albon 3
14 Lance Stroll 2
15 Daniil Kvyat 1
16 Antonio Giovinazzi 0
17 Romain Grosjean 0
18 Carlos Sainz Jr. 0
19 George Russell 0
20 Robert Kubica 0

Constructors’ standings:
1 Mercedes 130
2 Ferrari 73
3 Red Bull-Honda 52
4 Renault 12
5 Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 12
6 Haas-Ferrari 8
7 McLaren-Renault 8
8 Racing Point-Mercedes 7
9 Toro Rosso-Honda 4
10 Williams-Mercedes 0

7 thoughts to “Hamilton victorious in Formula 1’s 1000th race”

  1. Chinese Grand Prix race review as reported by Formula1.com.

    As Formula 1 celebrated the 1000th World Championship race, Lewis Hamilton led home team mate Valtteri Bottas as Mercedes secured their third one-two in as many races to start the 2019 season. On a day when Ferrari had no answer for the Silver Arrows, Sebastian Vettel completed the podium in third.

    Hamilton’s win means that Shanghai joins the Hungaroring and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the list of tracks where Hamilton has secured six victories.

    Behind the Mercedes pair, Vettel’s podium position was effectively secured when Ferrari team orders saw Charles Leclerc moved over early in the race, with the Bahrain near-victor ending up a frustrating fifth, behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

    Sixth was Pierre Gasly, who strapped a new set of soft tyres onto his Red Bull two laps from the end to help him take the extra point for fastest lap.

    Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo secured his first finish of the year – and it was a good one too, the Australian ending seventh at the head of the midfield, holding off the Racing Point of Sergio Perez, who used a lightning start from P12 on the grid to finish P8 by the flag.

    A strong drive from Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen saw him finish ninth, while an impressive afternoon from Toro Rosso’s Alexander Albon from a pit lane start saw him make a one-stop strategy work to finish P10 after holding off the Haas of Romain Grosjean. The Thai driver’s efforts also saw him earn ‘Driver of The Day’.

    With Bottas and Vettel having outpaced their team mates in qualifying, both lost out at the start as Hamilton swept into the lead, while Vettel made a good getaway but had to get out of the throttle as he closed on Bottas, allowing Leclerc to slip into third.

    Behind, Racing Point’s Sergio Perez made a great start to jump from P12 on the grid to P8, sailing around the outside of the two Haas cars before splitting the Renault drivers as he fell in behind Daniel Ricciardo.

    The drivers made it cleanly through the first turn, but it was when they got to Turn 6 that things started kicking off. As Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz tried to get through side by side, Kvyat had a wobble on his Toro Rosso that saw him wash into the path of the Spaniard. The pair collided, with Kvyat’s car then bashing into the sister McLaren of Lando Norris, who was launched dramatically into the air.

    All three were able to continue – although Sainz was without a front wing – but the stewards judged Kvyat to have been at fault, and the Russian earned himself a drive-through penalty at the track where his ‘Torpedo’ moniker was coined three years ago.

    After a brief Virtual Safety Car period, racing got back underway, with the Mercedes drivers quickly putting clean air between themselves and the leading Ferrari of Leclerc, who had Vettel tucked in behind him.

    By lap 10, Leclerc was being given the hurry up to get on with it or risk being switched with his team mate. He wasn’t happy, but he obediently moved over a lap later, before being left even less happy when the German vailed to capitalise on the advantage he’d been handed. The switch around had happened, though, and so began a long and frustrating afternoon for Leclerc…

    Vettel was the first Ferrari driver brought into the pits on lap 19. A lap before, Max Verstappen had made his own first stop for Red Bull, and the hard tyre-shod pair found themselves together on track with Verstappen keen to get past. There were shades of 2018 as Verstappen launched a move down the inside of Vettel down into the Turn 14 hairpin. But the Dutch driver overshot, with Vettel jinking back onto the racing line to hold onto the net P3 position.

    By the time Leclerc was pitted on lap 23, he found that he was now 11 seconds behind the Vettel/Verstappen fight – and out of contention for a strong result, those two drivers having used their fresh rubber to full effect.

    Behind, Ricciardo was doing fantastic work to maintain the seventh place he’d qualified in on Saturday, with Sergio Perez keeping a race-long watching brief on the Australian as Kimi Raikkonen worked his way up into ninth with some typically well-judged passing moves in the Alfa Romeo.

    On lap 36, Mercedes, still looking tranquil at the head of the field, daringly pitted both Hamilton and Bottas on the same lap, their advantage comfortable enough to allow them to protect against the threat of a Safety Car.

    They emerged P1 and P3 respectively, Bottas on his new mediums quickly pushing past second-placed Leclerc to galvanise Mercedes’ third one-two of the season. Vettel also pitted on lap 36 for fresh mediums, using them to breeze past Leclerc himself on lap 42, with Ferrari then deciding to roll the dice and give Leclerc some fresh mediums too, to see if he could go after the fourth place that he looked in danger of losing to Verstappen.

    He couldn’t, however, and that was how they finished, Hamilton taking the 1000th race win (he took the 900th, and the 999th, too!) ahead of Bottas, who blamed wheelspin going over the start-finish line for having handed the advantage to his team mate on lap one.

    Vettel, having been the beneficiary of the Ferrari team orders, called them “fair” but admitted the result – with Ferrari outgunned by Mercedes for the third race of the year, despite their much-mooted power advantage – “a good result for us, but not a great result”.

    With Leclerc finishing fifth behind Verstappen, Red Bull became the first team of the season to actively gun for the fastest lap bonus point, pitting Pierre Gasly from his no-man’s-land P6 for soft tyres two laps from the end, the Frenchman duly delivering a 1m 34.742s to secure the extra point.

    Ricciardo will have been relieved to score his first points of the campaign, the Australian appearing the most comfortable he’s been all year in the Renault R.S.19 to take a strong seventh place ahead of Perez. Alexander Albon rounded out the final points-paying position ahead of Raikkonen, with everyone from Ricciardo back to the Thai driver making a one-stop strategy work.

    But it was Hamilton’s day, the driver many talk of as being in contention for F1’s G.O.A.T. status – the Greatest of All Time – fittingly winning the 1000th World Championship event. And despite everyone still talking in awed tones of the might of Ferrari’s SF90, it’s the Mercedes W10 that has brought the Silver Arrows the first three wins of 2019.

  2. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas blames white line for slow start. Motorsport.com has the news story.

    Valtteri Bottas blamed the painted white start-finish line that runs across the track for causing the wheelspin that cost him a shot of victory in the Chinese Grand Prix.

    The Finn made an initially good getaway from his pole position slot but a bit of wheelspin during the acceleration phase cost him valuable momentum and allowed teammate Lewis Hamilton to sneak ahead on the run to the first corner.

    Trapped in Hamilton’s dirty air without a big pace advantage, Bottas was unable to challenge his teammate as he eventually came home second.

    Speaking after the race, Bottas was adamant that the start moment defined his afternoon, as he explained why his getaway was not as good.

    “I think I lost it in the start, honestly,” said Bottas. “Otherwise the car was feeling okay and the pace was similar. But in the first stint, in the dirty air, I couldn’t follow.

    “It was a shame about the start. I got some wheelspin as I went over the white line, the start-finish line, which is immediately after my box, so I lost it there.”

    Although disappointed about how a small factor cost him chance of winning, Bottas said that there were reasons for Mercedes to be encouraged after delivering its third consecutive 1-2 finish.

    “It is small details but it is early days in the season, things are looking good,” he added. “I am really proud for the team we’ve done three perfect weekends so far that is very good.”

    Hamilton backed Bottas up in saying that the start made all the difference in the race result.

    “The start was really where I was able to make the difference and after that it was history,” he said.

    “It has not been a straightforward weekend but what a fantastic result for the team. Everyone has worked so hard. We came here and didn’t know where we would stand against the Ferraris, as they were so quick in the last race.”

  3. The highlight in the Chinese Grand Prix race was the battle between Vettel and Verstappen. Sebastian “predicted” Max’s overtaking attempt. Motorsport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel cemented third place in Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix by giving Max Verstappen a “not very sexy” angle into the final corner, after predicting his rival’s attempted pass.

    Verstappen was the first leading driver to pit and his pace on fresh tyres allowed him to attack Vettel when the Ferrari stopped one lap later.

    The Red Bull driver dived inside Vettel at the hairpin but had a small lock-up, which allowed Vettel to get back past on the exit of the turn keep ahead as Verstappen was forced to the inside for the final corner.

    “I saw him coming and the speed delta at the end of the straights is quite big now,” said Vettel.

    “Knowing Max as well as I do I knew that he will try. I was sort of predicting that he will try and go down the inside and I tried to cut back, and it worked. I had a bit of a moment, I had to open the car a bit, but it was good.

    “I could nearly get a car length ahead of him and the angle into the last corner for him wasn’t very sexy. It was good fun but we would have loved to be a bit faster.”

    Verstappen was forcefully edged wide on the exit of the hairpin by Vettel, who squeezed him onto the grass.

    However, Verstappen said he would have done the same and explained that he saw passing Vettel at the hairpin as his best opportunity.

    “I tried under braking because his tyres were still a bit cold,” he said. “Then on the exit he made it quite close, but I mean I would’ve done the same, so it was alright.”

    Vettel’s third place was his first podium of the season, thanks to Ferrari’s struggle in Australia and his spin in Bahrain.

    He finished 13s behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, who he trails by 31 points in the championship already.

    “I am happy to be on the podium, but it’s tough because we tried to stick with them [the Mercedes drivers] but we couldn’t,” he said.

    “They were just too quick right from the start. I had a bit of a race with Max which was good fun but the objective was to try to chase them down. They were too quick for us today so well done to Lewis and Valtteri [Bottas].”

  4. Kimi Raikkonen reckons losing temperature in his front tyres cost him the chance of finishing as best of the rest behind the top three teams in the Chinese Grand Prix.

    The Finn came home right behind seventh-placed Daniel Ricciardo and eighth-placed Sergio Perez in Shanghai to claim the ninth spot.

    But he reckons he would have had a chance of overhauling the pair of them if he had not lost temperature in his rubber in the closing stages.

    Speaking to Motorsport.com, Raikkonen said that his Alfa Romeo felt strong on race pace as he pushed through the field following a disappointing qualifying.

    “Obviously we at least got a few points and it is better than yesterday for sure,” he said. “The car was handling pretty nicely, but in the end I just lost temperature in my front tyres.

    “I think with my tyres the wear was very good, but it got too cold and I lost the grip in the front so I couldn’t any more push.

    “It was a bit of a shame as I felt we could quite easily have caught up with the other cars, but it didn’t work out at the end.”

    While Raikkonen added to his points tally that leaves him seventh place in the world championship standings – just one point behind Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly – his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi failed to finish in the top ten again.

    After a frustrating weekend that was hampered by reliability woes, Giovinazzi came home 15th after failing to make enough progress from the back of the grid.

    “I think China was not my weekend, to be honest,” said the Italian. “It was a difficult weekend so far, and today we tried to make a different strategy compared to others to try to gain positions, but in the end it didn’t work. This is it, and I just want it to be Baku.”

    Source: Motorsport.com

  5. The opening lap of the Chinese Grand Prix was a nightmare scenario for McLaren as both orange cars got wiped out by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Carlos Sainz commented that Daniil Kvyat should have been more patient. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Carlos Sainz believes Daniil Kvyat should have been more patient in the Chinese Grand Prix crash that caught up both McLaren Formula 1 cars.

    Sainz and teammate Lando Norris were consigned to running at the back of the field in damaged cars after tangling with Kvyat’s Toro Rosso at Turn 6 on the first lap.

    Kvyat was blamed by the stewards and given a drive-through penalty. Both he and Norris eventually retired, while Sainz recovered to 14th.

    “We were just all fighting in Turn 6, and at the exit of the corner I think someone didn’t enjoy going side by side and opened the wheel a bit too much and created a bit of a melee, let’s put it like that,” said Sainz.

    “I don’t pray for penalties or ask for penalties. I just ask for a bit more patience in lap one.

    “It’s a very long race in Shanghai, there’s overtaking opportunities, [Alex] Albon finished in the points starting from the pitlane. It just shows – lap one, yes, it’s important, but in places like Shanghai it’s a long race and you just need to be patient.”

    Norris, who admitted it was hard for him to apportion blame before seeing any aerial footage, told Motorsport.com there was nothing he could have done to avoid being collected.

    “Obviously he squeezed Carlos a little bit,” Norris said of Kvyat. “He must’ve known I was on the outside of Carlos and a bit ahead. I almost got away with it but the contact between Carlos and Kvyat, or Kvyat and Carlos, then led to the contact into me. So I was, I would say, kind of the innocent one.”

    Told that Kvyat was penalised for the crash, Norris added: “I didn’t see so I can’t say exactly whose fault it was but if the stewards have said that then it’s a shame because he effectively took both of our cars out of contention for getting points – which was possible.

    “It’s never nice to have contact with anyone, so for one guy to ruin both McLarens’ races is frustrating.”

    Asked by Motorsport.com if his calls for greater patience on opening laps were meant specifically for Kvyat or for F1 drivers in general, Sainz replied: “I don’t have any issue with him. I think he will know, he will see the images and that’s it.”

  6. The biggest news story during the Chinese Grand Prix was the team orders set by Ferrari to swap driver position Yet, the Scuderia commented that this switch was not intended to benefit Sebastian Vettel. Motorsport.com has the full details.

    Ferrari Formula 1 team boss Mattia Binotto insists the decision to swap his drivers in the first stint of the Chinese Grand Prix wasn’t made to benefit Sebastian Vettel.

    Vettel’s teammate Charles Leclerc had overtaken the German for third place at the start, but was unable to keep pace with the leading Mercedes cars ahead.

    Ferrari soon made the decision to move Vettel ahead of the Monegasque, which Leclerc complied with on the 11th lap despite seemingly objecting to the call on the team radio.

    But Vettel could not make any inroads on the Mercedes duo either, prompting Leclerc to inform Ferrari he was now losing time behind his teammate.

    Despite Leclerc’s star outing in Bahrain, Binotto had reaffirmed ahead of China that four-time champion Vettel remained Ferrari’s main hope for the 2019 title.

    However, speaking after the race, Binotto stressed the decision to swap cars was not made with the intention to benefit Vettel at Leclerc’s expense.

    “I understand the feeling of Charles, it’s a shame for him,” Binotto told Sky Sports F1. “But at that stage of the race the Mercedes were slightly faster, I think we simply tried to give Sebastian a go and see if we could’ve kept the pace of the Mercedes, which was key at that stage of the race.

    “It was not to give an advantage to a driver, to the other driver, merely as a team to try whatever we could. Early stage was an important moment of the race.”

    The position swap cost Ferrari up to a second relative to the Red Bull of Max Verstappen behind, and the Dutchman was able to pull off an undercut, getting ahead of Leclerc and nearly picking off Vettel after the German made his stop.

    Binotto believes the team order was not what allowed Verstappen to sneak in between the two Ferrari cars.

    “I think with an undercut he would’ve anyway, one of the two drivers would’ve been undercut, whoever was the driver.

    “As team perspective, I think that wouldn’t have changed, that’s why again I think the choice was simply try everything we could at that [early] stage.”

    Binotto said Leclerc, who finished fifth to Vettel’s third, had every right to feel hard done by by how the race unfolded.

    “I think if Charles is upset, he’s right to be upset, and we should accept it. I think it’s a shame for him, and next time maybe it will be to his advantage.”

  7. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc commented that race strategy to hold up Valtteri Bottas was the “right thing”. Motorsport.com has the story.

    Charles Leclerc says his long second stint in the Chinese Grand Prix was a ploy by Ferrari to try to help his Formula 1 teammate Sebastian Vettel catch Valtteri Bottas.

    Leclerc ran third in the opening stages of the race but was told to let Vettel through early on and then dropped behind Max Verstappen when the Red Bull pitted earlier.

    He ran behind Verstappen throughout the second stint, which Ferrari extended so much that by the time he stopped for fresh tyres he was too far behind Verstappen to try to fight back at the end.

    Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Leclerc said: “I mean, if you look my own race, I think obviously we would have pitted earlier.

    “If you look the team’s race, I think they did the right thing trying to slow down the Mercedes for Seb to come back, which was, I believe, the target.

    “It didn’t work but that was the target, at least we tried and we look forward now.”

    Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told Sky that if his driver was upset, he had the “right” to feel that way given how the race unfolded.

    Binotto had explained that Leclerc was moved aside for Vettel early on because Mercedes was edging away and the team wanted to see if it could keep pace with Vettel ahead instead.

    Leclerc said he did not want to make “any silly comments” about that call coming so early in the first stint before looking at the data and speaking with his engineers.

    However, when asked by Sky it was a confusing afternoon, Leclerc said: “A little bit. I did a good start, then the first stint was a little bit messy.

    “With Seb, I need to understand the full picture, to see the full picture, to speak with the engineers and understand the decision. I’m pretty sure there’s an explanation behind this decision and I will understand it.

    “Anyway, it’s past. It has not been a great race for me, but overall the weekend I’ve not been as strong as I wanted.

    “Qualifying was OK, but FP1, FP2, FP3 and going into the race without any mileage on the high-fuel runs was not ideal.

    “Overall today was not a good day, but we’ll come back stronger.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *