Shanghai – Today’s installment of the 2014 UBS Chinese Grand Prix was a thriller for fans of Mercedes AMG Petronas, Red Bull, and Ferrari. At long last, Ferrari made itself known on the podium, with Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s 3rd place finish. Once again, the weekend was Mercedes’ for the taking.
Lewis Hamilton took off from pole and didn’t look back to the extent that even when he had to go in for pit stops he didn’t have to worry at all for his 1st place position. Meanwhile he teammate Nico Rosberg found himself in a bit of trouble when his wheels and those of Williams’ Valtteri Bottas just past Turn 1 on Lap 1. Rosberg was able to come out of that incident without much trouble, passing by the Red Bulls and Alonso’s Ferrari, finishing in 2nd.
Red Bull was quite strong today. Between Sebastian Vettel’s strong race thus far and Daniel Ricciardo’s consistency in his tyre usage, the Red Bulls could very well be back to challenge for 1st. After a few laps of Vettel leading Ricciardo, in part due to continuing tyre degradation, team orders came to Vettel to allow his Australian teammate through. Vettel initially fought Ricciardo on his passing, but after a time let him through largely due to the worsening situation of Vettel’s tyres.
Ferrari equally had a pleasant day. Fernando Alonso’s performance was spot on from the beginning, coming through making contact with his former Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa of Williams on the main straight up to Turn 1 on Lap 1. Despite being overtaken by Rosberg, Alonso was able to hold off both of the Red Bulls to the very end, finishing in 3rd and earning his and Ferrari’s first podium of 2014. No doubt the Ferrari bosses in Maranello will be in better moods after China than they were after Bahrain. Kimi Räikkönen earned points today, but stayed mostly in the middle of the pack, racing with the Williams, Force Indias, and McLarens.
On the topic of McLaren, unfortunately China did not offer good luck. Neither Jenson Button (GBR) nor Kevin Magnussen (DEN) finished in the top 10, thus leaving Shanghai without valuable driver and constructor points. On the other hand, times are looking up for Force India, along with Valtteri Bottas of Williams.
The final standings from today are:
- Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes (GBR), 1:33:28.338
- Nico Rosberg, Mercedes (GER), +18.1 secs
- Fernando Alonso, Ferrari (ESP), +23.6 secs
- Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull (AUS), +27.1 secs
- Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull (GER), +47.8 secs
- Nico Hülkenberg, Force India (GER), +54.3 secs
- Valtteri Bottas, Williams (FIN), +55.7 secs
- Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari (FIN), +76.3 secs
- Sergio Pérez, Force India (MEX), +82.6 secs
- Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso (RUS), +1 lap
- Jenson Button, McLaren (GBR), +1 lap
- Jean-Éric Vergne, Toro Rosso (FRA), +1 lap
- Kevin Magnussen, McLaren (DEN), +1 lap
- Pastor Maldonado, Lotus (VEN), +1 lap
- Felipe Massa, Williams (BRA), +1 lap
- Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber (MEX), +1 lap
- Jules Bianchi, Marussia (FRA), +1 lap
- Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham (JPN), +1 lap
- Max Chilton, Marussia (GBR), +2 laps
- Marcus Ericsson, Caterham (SWE), +2 laps
- Romain Grosjean, Lotus (FRA), retired 28 laps
- Adrian Sutil, Sauber (GER), retired 5 laps
Formula 1 will return to Europe with the Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix on 4 May in Catalonia. This thankfully means that the race will be broadcasted at a decent time (07.30 Chicago) in North America.