The Chinese Grand Prix was the best race of the season so far, and trumped most of last season’s races too.
There were more surprises again this week, starting from Q2. Felipe Massa failed to get into Q3 once again, but the big surprise was from Sebastien Vettel who only managed a 11th position on the grid. Grosjean meanwhile narrowly missed out on Q3, qualifying 10th overall.
In Q3 Alonso drove his worst lap of the entire session and qualified 9th. Hamilton once again did brilliantly, qualifying 2nd. Unfortunately a 5 place grid penalty due to a change of gearbox knocked him down to 7th on the grid. Button was slightly disappointing with a 6th place, with Webber just behind him in 7th- a big improvement on Vettel’s effort. Kobayashi also did well out-qualifying both these drivers, finishing in 4th place on the grid.
The big news, however, was the performance of Mercedes. Michael Schumacher managed a 3rd place, and incredibly Nico Rosberg put in an absolutely unbelievable lap to qualifying 1st on the grid. He was a incredible .5 of a second quicker than Hamilton, in what was billed as a perfect lap.
Grid Positions (after penalties):
- Di Resta
- de las Rosa
Nico Rosberg had a brilliant qualifying session, and he used his pole position to immediately take off clear of the rest of the pack. His start meant he pulled away straight away and built a considerable lead with a slower Schumacher holding Button up. For most of the race Rosberg led, only dropping the lead between a pitstop once. The German went on to win pretty much unchallenged- apart from a brief attack from Button who’s race was handicapped by a problem in the pits, putting him back behind a pack fighting for 2nd place.
A brilliant first ever win for Rosberg who drove fantastically all weekend. It was the first win for Mercedes since 1955 too, so an emotional moment not just for Nico but the team too. The Mercedes really does look fast this season and will surely challenge the big three teams throughout the season.
The real race, however, was the once behind Rosberg. Whilst Nico was pulling out a considerable lead, the pack behind him were all fighting it out and produced a massive amount of overtaking and excitement. We saw Button end up behind them, only to climb up in to second past Vettel and Raikkonen. Both of those drivers had good races but the strategy didn’t work for them and a lack of grip from the tyres but them back to 5th and 14th respectively. Really unlucky for Raikkonen especially.
It ended brilliantly with Button getting up in to second and Hamilton eventually climbing to third, putting Mclaren up to first in the constructors championship. Webber managed to pull off a great overtake in a moment that surely felt oh so sweet as he got the 4th place in front of Vettel. Red Bull looked better, and as expected are sure to be back at the top in a few races time. Ferrari weren’t so good though with Alonso 9th and Massa 13th. Alonso reckons they’ll be competitive in a few races time though, so we could be seeing Red Bull, Mclaren and Ferrari back getting consistent wins- only Mclaren are performing to expectations so far. Hopefully, however, Mercedes, Sauber and Lotus will all stay up there too. So far the season has not disappointed, giving great results for all three races.
Elsewhere Grosjean managed to finish for the first time, in an impressive 6th place. The same can’t be said of Schumacher, who dropped out of the race after he was released from the pits too early fro the front right wheel to go on. A nightmare for him, but the veteran racer didn’t look too bothered and I expect it’s annoyed that guy in the pit crew more than the driver himself. It was a shame really, Schumacher could have easily seen the podium- Rosberg drove brilliantly, but Schumacher could have held second if he drove well and didn’t have any problems.
A good day of racing for Williams too, with both cars in the points- Senna 7th and Maldonado 8th- both in front of the Ferraris. Sauber looked quick, but neither driver got in to the points in the end, after a hugely competitive race. With about 7 or 8 cars all battling for second place (or there-abouts), we saw some great overtakes and brilliant drives. It’s telling for the season to come- so many teams are up there competing that, unless something drastic happens, we won’t have a clear win like we did last year for Vettel.
- Di Resta
- Petrov (lapped)
- Glock (lapped)
- Pic (lapped)
- de la Rosa (lapped)
- Karthikeyan (lapped)
- Kovalainen (lapped)
- Schumacher (retired, 12 laps)
Next week: Bahrain
Next week will see another race in the form of Bahrain. Steeped in controversy, the race will go ahead and teams will be looking to compete just as much as they have done in this weeks brilliant race.
I know I’ve been saying it a lot in recent weeks, but this really is shaping up to be one of the best seasons in recent history. A year where no one car is dominant, and no one driver is winning all the time. In fact, the only consistent part so far is Hamilton coming 3rd and Webber coming 4th every time. Overall, however, it does look like Mclaren are the most consistent out of a very competitive field. I was predicting a win for the this week and was proven wrong- next weekend it’s Bahrain, and there I think Hamilton will rise to get his first win of the season. Mercedes do look fast though, and if they can emulate this weekends performance it’ll be all to play for in the championship.