After dominating every practice sessions and Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton cruised to a dominating victory at the Chinese Grand Prix with his team mate Nico Rosberg finishing second , the gap between the two being 0.7s while the two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third and fourth respectively. The race finished under the safety car after the car of Max Verstappen came to a halt the start -finish straight, jus two laps before the finish owing to an engine blowout.
For the first time this season, all 20 cars were lined up on the grid for the start of the race. The start was pretty clean for the Mercedes and Ferrari duo. Kimi was upto fourth position behind his team mate in the first few corners only. On the other hand, Red Bull had a disaster of a start. Their top positioned car of Daniel Ricciardo went from seventh to seventeenth during the first lap only.
Mercedes dominated the entire race, managing the strategies of their two drivers pretty well and retaining the first and second position throughout the race. The two drivers ran on different strategies, but Nico could never close in on Lewis.
The two Williams dropped behind Raikkonen with Felipe Massa finish fifth and Valtteri Bottas sixth. They had a pretty clean race, managing the fifth and sixth position from start to end. The Williams team definitely need to work upon their car if they want to beat Ferrari in constructors, especially since they were nearly 5s behind the two Ferraris today.
Daniil Kvyat despite having a decent start, ended his race early after the Renault Power Unit blew up releasing vast amounts of smoke. Ricciardo recovered to ninth position after a race long battle with the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson who finish tenth, while his team mate Felipe Nasr finished eighth.
Pastor Maldonado lived upto his reputation. He was running in points but ruined his race by first overshooting the pit entry and then later spinning his car entirely, though this time without much damage to the car. He was later involved in a collision with Jenson Button, which further moved him at the back of the grid, and he later retired from the race owing to damage to the car thanks to the collision with the McLaren.It was pretty unfortunate for him, especially since it wasn’t his fault this time. Pastor’s team mate Romain Grosjean had a pretty successful day in the car, finishing seventh.
The two McLarens had a pretty eventful race this time. Alonso finished 12th and Button 13th, after a decent battle involving Maldonado, Carlos Sainz and the Force India of Sergio Perez who finished 11th, while his team mate Nico Hulkenberg could not finish the race owing to a mechanical problem and had to end his race quite early in the race. The McLaren car is still struggling for pace, and if not for Alonso or Button, the team would be finishing dead last each race.They still need to work alot on the performance of their car if they want to stand any chance of challenging the mid-fielders. Post race, Button was penalised for the crash with a license point penalty and dropped down to 14th after having finished 13th.
Max Verstappen, the 17 year old rookie in the Torro Rosso, who everyone believed to be too ‘young’ to drive a Formula One car, impressed each and everyone today by driving maturely and aggressively. His overtaking moves were many at times ballsy, but he had clear control over the car to ensure there was no damage to the car. An engine blowout threw away his chances of a points finish.
He stopped on the start finish straight, just two laps before the finish. He was running eighth when he stopped. His teammate Carlos Sainz had a pretty awful race,himself. He spun early in the race, which threw him at the back of the field, just ahead of the limping Manors. He finished 14th, but was promoted to 13th after the penalty given to Button.
The two Manors were far away from the rest of the pack, finish two laps down. With both cars crossing the finish line, the team can still be happy about their race. Will Stevens finished fifteenth while Roberto Merhi was the last to cross the line in sixteenth.
Overall it was a pretty straightforward race, unlike Malaysia. Mercedes won on sheer raw pace, while Ferrari struggled behind them. Red Bull and Torro Rosso’s struggle with the Renault Power Unit was even worse today. Post race, Renault agreed that they might face even more issues in the next race in Bahrain. Verstappen was running very strong today, and earned a lot of appreciation for his overtakes, and sincerely a blown up engine is not what he deserved.
Nico and Hamilton got into a tussle after the race during the post race conference. Nico accused Hamilton of slowing down unnecessarily compromising his race. During the race, Hamilton stalled Nico behind, as a result of which Nico had to defend his position from Sebastian Vettel running in third, in the first and second stint. Hamilton was quick to respond that it was not his responsibility to look after Nico’s race. Nico’s frustration of finishing behind his team mate in all the three reasons can easily be seen now. The growing tensions between the two is a major cause of worry for Mercedes. What decisions they take about this argument between the two, still needs to be seen.