From Malaysia, teams headed to China for the third race of the season. With everything still up for grabs, and no one driver or team dominating yet, the season is looking exciting. This is the 10th Chinese Grand Prix and as always takes place at the Shanghai International Circuit. Last year, the Chinese Grand Prix was won by Nico Rosberg. With the Vettel-Webber relationship breakdown in Malaysia, it will be interesting to see how Red Bull fares. In the end Fernando Alonso took the chequered flag, followed by Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel came in fourth place and team mate Webber did not finish the race.
Hamilton was on fire during qualifying, setting the fastest lap time for all three qualifying rounds and taking pole position. Team Red Bull had a tough time, with Webber running out of fuel and being penalised for not having the required 1 litre fuel sample, forcing him to start from the pit. Vettel had to battle a braking problem in the third round of qualifying, which left him with no qualifying time and 9th place on the grid. In the end, Raikkonen took second place on the grid, followed by Alonso, Rosberg and Felipe Massa.
The race started with Hamilton taking an easy lead off pole position, nicely holding off Alonso and Massa. The first casualties were Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez with a collision, and both drivers were out by lap 5. Lap 15 sees Webber making contact with Jean-Eric Vergne and lap 16 sees Raikkonen and Perez making contact. All drivers and cars seem OK, however, Riakkonen’s nose is damaged. On lap 17, the unimaginable happens, with Webber’s wheel coming off and almost taking out Vettel – now that would’ve been poetic justice. Vettel remains unscathed, but Webber is out of the race – to make matters worse, he gets penalised by stewards for the collision, a three-place penalty for the Bharain Grand Prix. Yikes!
Halfway through the race, Alonso is still in the lead, with drivers behind him fighting for positions. No winning repeat in Shanghai for Rosberg, who is out of the race with suspension problems. By lap 35, Alonso has a comfortable 10 second lead, but Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Raikkonen are vying for positions behind him. Alonso continues to set the fastest lap times, but in the penultimate lap, he gets stuck in traffic, having to overtake stragglers. For a second, it looks like Hamilton and Raikkonen could use the traffic to better their positions, with Vettel closing in behind them. In the end, Alonso takes the win, with Raikkonen in second place, followed by Hamilton. Vettel contends that if he had one more lap, he could’ve overtaken Hamilton for third place!
So far it’s an interesting season in terms of the Drivers’ Championship standings. Three races have been completed, all three having been won by different drivers. This puts Vettel in the lead, since he has the most top finishes, with 52 points. Right behind him is Raikkonen with 49 points – this might be the season for the 33 year old Finnish driver! Alonso is not far behind in third place with 43 points and Hamilton is in fourth place with 40 points. Daniel Ricciardo scored his first points this season with his 11th place finish. Seven drivers have yet to score points this season.
The Constructors’ Championship standings are as close as the Drivers’ Championship standings. Red Bull for now remains in first place with 78 points, with Ferrari close on their heels with 73 points. In third place is Lotus with 60 points, and Mercedes has fourth place with 52 points. Three still have no points: Williams, Marussia and Caterham.
Full Race Results