In yet another dominant performance by Mercedes, it was Lewis Hamilton who won today’s Chinese Grand Prix. By winning the Chinese Grand Prix, Hamilton secured his first ever hatrick of Formula One wins, after wins in Malaysia and Bahrain.
From green lights to chequered flag it was clear to see that Hamilton was going to win the race with the speed of his silver arrow too hot for anyone else to handle. It was even too hot for his team-mate, Nico Rosberg, who was his nearest challenger and finished 18.6 seconds behind him.
In a somewhat uneventful Chinese Grand Prix, most of the overtaking came from the strategy calls of the teams. Especially in the early stages of the race as whoever pitted earlier would tend to get the undercut on whoever they were racing. But the win for Hamilton was never in doubt as he romped away to take the chequered flag.
When the lights went out and away the drivers went, Massa was able to get a great start and it looked like he would be challenging for the top spots on the way into turn 1. But after a slow start by Rosberg, Massa had to put his car against the pit wall before cutting inside to avoid Vettel. This left him jumping across the track and into the space the Ferrari of Alonso was heading, inevitably causing the cars to touch. Luckily for both, all that happened was the tyres kissing and bouncing away from each other, allowing both to drive on. But that was not the end of it for Massa as this contact would later be the cause of a pit-stop crisis.
Elsewhere on the track Rosberg was having issues of his own. Before the race even began the team radioed him to let him know they were unable to receive any data from the car. This meant come the start of the race his launch was compromised, giving him a slow start and put his car in the wrong place as Bottas came round the outside into turn one and their wheels touched. Throughout the race Nico was inclined by the team to recall important data, such as his fuel usage. Which was annoying Nico as it was distracting him from the race itself. Feelings he made clear on a radio call later into the race.
In the pre-first pit stop phase, the action was at its best with cars having close battles as they fought for track position. On lap 3 Vergne and Button went to war, with Vergne taking inside of turn 1 to get past the McLaren of Button. But that battle was not over as come the entrance of turn 2, it was Button’s turn to take inside line and get the overtake done.
Come lap 11, it was time for Massa to take to the pits for his first pit stop of the race but it was a very slow stop for Massa as the team did not have his rear tyres ready. Meaning he was left sitting in his box as the team rushed to get the tyres to the car. Now after the first corner incident with Alonso and now this, surely Massa’s bad luck was going to end? But no, more bad luck stuck with him as the team had trouble getting the rear-left tyre onto the wheel hub, the same wheel hub that was affected in the crash with Fernando. Eventually he came out of the pit lane in plumb last place, despite entering the pits whilst running in 6th place.
In another un-happy day for retaining World Champion, Vettel, the signs were clear to be seen as early as lap 15. When he radioed team to claim he doesn’t have the straight line speed to get past Alonso. But this was not the only time he was too slow. Later on into the race a fight emerged between the two Red Bulls. But unfortunately for the spectators this fight was brought to an end by the team.
As they came across the team radio channel to say that Seb needed to let Ricciardo through, Vettel originally did not comply to the team orders, instead he asked what strategy Ricciardo was on. And as they were running slightly similar strategies Vettel kept pushing and kept Ricciardo behind. Eventually Ricciardo was able to get past Vettel into turn 1. But only after Seb ran wide and ended up yielding to his team-mate. The chat over team radio between the pit wall and Seb had continued before Ricciardo got past and this time Seb was told that his team-mate was running on 2 stop strategy compared to his 3 stop.
On lap 34, yet another angry moment for Vettel as he was overtaken by the Caterham of Kobayashi after they had pitted the Japanese driver for a new set of tyres. Vettel radioed in immediately to angrily moan about the Caterham of Kobayashi unlapping himself. But at the time he was actually lapping over one second faster than Vettel, who finally got his pit stop later that lap.
Over the course of the race, there were only two retirements. These coming from the Sauber of Sutil and the Lotus of Grosjean. Sutil was retired from the race by the team very early on after he suffered a failure with his power unit. This set a record for Sutil, who achieved a hatrick of his own, an un-wanted one however, as this hatrick came from three retirements in a row. So from the four races he has participated in whilst representing Sauber, Sutil has only finished one. The Australian Grand Prix.
As for Grosjean’s retirement, this came from his Lotus loosing fourth gear on lap 28. However, he was able to stay out for another lap but on lap 29, Grosjean ran wide and went off track down at turn 11. This left the team clearing a space in garage for Grosjean’s car, which is actually the 1st retirement for Lotus ever, at Chinese Grand Prix.
At the start of the race the only driver to go against the pack with their tyre choice was McLaren and Magnussen who opted to start on the medium tyres, unfortunately for them this choice didn’t help them claw their way into the points and ended up settling for 13th place.
Full final standings can be found below:
For me the was no clear driver of the day for their overtaking action, simply because there was a minimal amount of exciting overtaking. So for me driver of the day goes to both the Mercedes drivers. Hamilton gets driver of the day for driving a faultless race to achieve his third race win of the season. As for Rosberg, he gets it for his recovery from starting in 4th place, falling to 7th, before coming back to get second place. If you think differently, please vote for your driver of the day in the pole below: