Vettel leads Red Bull 1-2 at China
Sebastian Vettel has won the first race for Red Bull Racing on the soaked Shangai circuit. Team mate Mark Webber completes the joy by making it an excellent 1-2 for the team. Behind them is the unavoidably Brawn of Button. The latter was simply outpaced by today's well balanced RB5's.
China hasn't seen a drop of water all weekend, but 15 minutes ahead of the race rain has started to fall down, and it is expected that it will continue during the race. Because it is extremely wet, the race will start from behind the safety car.
Robert Kubica and Timo Glock, both far away on the grid are starting from the pitlane.
In lap 2, Alonso tells his team it will be reasonably ok on his wets while Jenson Button, 5th complains the visibility is extremely bad, even at the lower speeds behind the safety car. Massa meanwhile goes off the track but can rejoin without losing a position. 2 laps later Sutil is also off in the same corner but he too can pick up again.
In lap 4, and still behind the safety car, Nico Rosberg is into the pitlane and is re-fitted with new wets and gets additional fuel on board. If the safety car is to stay out much longer, Fernando Alonso will also have to pit as he is the lightest car on track at the moment. He was expected to pit in lap 10 if the track were dry, so he may still be able to continue 10 more laps behind the SC before drying out.
Lap 7 and Alonso is into the pitlane. He follows the pack in last place, while at the same time the SC will be going off track at the end of lap 7.
At the release, all drivers are fairly carful and try to get out of the spray from the cars ahead. Halfway the lap, Hamilton is the first to attempt a pas and gets by Kimi Raikkonen.
Two laps later more risks are taken and several drivers go off. None of them abandon but they all lose places. Hamilton has meanwhile also passed Trulli while Buemi is close on Raikkonen's tail. After 9 laps, Hamilton, Massa and Boudais have gained 4 places.
Halfway through that lap, Hamilton is dropping down behind his teammate after spinning off the track. It appears that all Red Bull Engineering cars are very well balanced as the Red Bulls slowly pull away while Buemi now pases Trulli for 5th place. Felipe Massa is now also just behind Jarno.
At the end of the back straight, Glock and Heidfeld touch but can both continue, Glock however sooner than Heidfeld.
In lap 14 Webber is in while Vettel is putting in the fastest lap. He is coming in the next lap. Webber rejoins the track in 6th place, just ahead of Trulli, Raikkonen and Hamilton. Only 3 corners later Trulli is passed by his two followers and looks to be struggling with his Toyota. Vettel is still third after his pitstop, just ahead Sebastian Buemi in the STR.
In lap 18, Kubica violently hits Trulli and flies over the Italian's car. Kubica enters the pit for just a new nose while Trulli's race is apparently over as his rear wing has come of. Moments later the SC is deployed again as there is debris on the track from the crash.
Button is diving into the pitlane and rejoins just ahead of Massa. Barrichello and Heidfeld are also in for new tyres and fuel. At the same time Buemi hits Vettel and obviously didn't see him through the spray. He just managed to turn right and only cause his own front wing to be damaged.
Behind the safety car, Vettel is in the lead, ahead of Button, Massa, Webber, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Barrichello. Moments later Massa halts aside of the track with an apparent gearbox failure. He was on the back straight and simply lost traction upon accellerating.
At the end of lap 22, the safety car is into the pitlane again. Upon the restart Bourdais makes a spin and loses considerable places. He rejoins behind Alonso who is 11th. Hamilton meanwhile repasses Raikkonen while Alonso gets by Nakajima.
Two laps later Vettel is already 5.7 seconds ahead of Button.
In lap 24 Glock is in for the new front wing, his previous model being damaged from an earlier incident. 4 laps later Piquet is in the gravel after spinning off. His nose is damaged but the front wing appears ok. Upon going off he hit a 200m mark ahead of a corner, and it was that panel that damaged his car. At the end of that lap he's in for a stop.
One lap later Webber passes Button but he is lighter than the Brawn. It appears that Button simply made a mistake and went too wide at the end of the back straight.
By lap 31 Alonso is still stuck behind Buemi, although being more than a full second faster per lap. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his Renault is just not fast enough of the straight to pass Buemi, while in the corners the particular difference in driving line makes passing difficult. 2 laps later he finally managed to pass, possibly after being stuck for up to 10 consecutive laps.
In lap 35 Alonso is in for 8.4s and rejoins in P9. Robert Kubica also enters the pit to get his nosecone fixed. Somehow it got partially loose on the left side of the car. If not fixed it was bound to fall off in one of the following laps.
Vettel makes his final stop in lap 37. He rejoins in 3 not far behind Button. 2 laps later he is even just behind Button and shows how he is much faster in the circumstances than the Brawn. Webber then also pits after building a 10s lead over Button. He rejoins ahead of Barrichello but will mount back up after Button pits.
With 16 laps to go Rosberg is in for intermediates. Both Brawn cars keep it on wets. Because of a slightly dryer line, it may be beneficial to switch but Rosberg is so far not much faster nor much slower than anyone else.It may become interesting in just a few more laps.
Alonso meanwhile has made a spin and looks out of the race for points now. He dropped back from 9th to 13th.
One highpoint in the race is Adrian Sutil. He is in 8th place now thanks to a solid drive. The single point may however be difficult to take over the finish line as he is closely followed by Heidfeld and Glock.
Another slight mistake by Hamilton has again cost him his place to his teammate, although both men are still close with only 8 laps to go.
One lap later Rosberg goes off on the back straight and is lucky to recover. He does however decide to go back on full wets.
Hamilton then again makes a spin and loses another place. Sutil therefore moves up to 6th only to crash out one lap later. Upon touching the brakes the rear end broke away, resulting in him hitting the barriers and efectively ending an excellent race from the Force India driver.
Two laps to go and 5 minutes left, so it looks like they are just going to make it to complete all laps within the 2 hour mark.
2 minutes later Vettel wins his second race in his career, followed by Mark Webber. Button rolls over the finish line 30 seconds later to get 3rd place.