Fernando Alonso has won the Chinese Grand Prix to become the third winner in three racing this season. Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen finished in a distant second place while Lewis Hamilton is third, fending off the last charge of Sebastian Vettel.
At the start of the race, the weather is sunny and 26°C, while the track is warmed up to 36°C. That is a little bit cooler than in the beginning of qualifying yesterday.
The front 7 drivers are all starting on options, as well as Adrian Sutil as Force India have chosen for a split strategy between their cars. Mark Webber starts from the pitlane behind everyone else, also on the option tyre.
Ast he lights went out, Hamilton kept the lead from pole with Alonso moving up into 2nd. Massa moves into third and Raikkonen in fourth after a sluggish start.
At the end of lap 2, the top 4 is unchanged still. Rosberg is 5th, followed by GRO RIC BUT VET HUL SUT GUT PER DIR MAL.
Di Resta lost considerably time after a squabble with his teammate out of turn 14 while Mark Webber already pitted after a single lap.
On lap 5, Alonso takes the lead on the startt finish straight with Massa following behind to take second place. The second Mercedes of Rosberg is also struggling by now and is dropping back behind Vettel. Ricciardo got his front wing damaged in the mix there at the end of the straight.
On lap 6 Gutierrez missed his braking point and ran into the back of Sutil. He obviously eliminated himself, but the rrear wing damage on the Force India is terminal as well.
At the end of lap 5, Hamilton is the first to stop, Alonso follows the next lap, Massa another lap later. Alonso ended up in 10th, Hamilton 2 seconds behind in 11th. Behind them are Raikkonen, Webber and Massa.
By lap 9, after all soft tyre runners have stopped, Hulkenberg leads the race, ahead of Vettel, Button, Perez, Di Resta. 6th is then Alonso, only just ahead of Lewis Hamilton who appears to be faster on the medium tyres. Massa meanwhile passed Webber and one lap later also Bottas gets passed by the Ferrari.
At the front Vettel looks completely stuck behind the leading Sauber with no tyre advantage and a top speed disadvantage.
On lap 14 Hulkenberg and Vettel pit simultaneously, with Vettel clearly emerging ahead. At the same time, Webber gets into contact with Vergne in turn 3, having decided to dive to the inside very late into he braking zone. Webber pits at the end of that lap for new mediums and a new front wing.
Another lap later Raikkonen hits Perez in the same turn. Raikkonen chose the outside of the approach to the turn, but Perez simply cut him off, pushing the Lotus into the grass.
Webber soon finds himself with another problem as the right rear wheel is not fastened properly. He decided to return to the pits slowly, but eventually in turn 14 the wheel decided to go its own way, rolling across the track just ahead of his teammate Sebastian Vettel. Luckily everybody managed to avoid the wheel before it ended up on its side against the tyre wall.
By lap 19, Alonso is very close behind leader Button. Hamilton is third 4 seconds behind them, with Raikkonen immediately behind the Mercedes. Perez is 5th, Vettel 6th, Hulkenberg 7th and Massa 8th before stopping at the end of that lap.
On lap 21 Alonso passes Button for the lead in turn 1 while Rosberg pits for the third time already. One lap later Hamilton and Raikkonen pit simultaneously, both exiting again with a similar very small gap between the two. They rejoined in 9th and 10th places, just behind Grosjean, Ricciardo and Di Resta.
At the end of lap 23 both Alonso and Button pit. Alonso lost a bit of time having to wait to exit the box as Button entered it, but he returned tot he track in third place.
On lap 25 Perez pits for his first stop.
This means Vettel leads, 3s ahead of Hulkenberg. Alonso is 3rd another 3.7s behind. Button is 4s down on Alonso and closely followed by Hamilton and Raikkonen. 2 laps later Alonso already passes Hulkenberg thanks to the newer tyres and with DRS wide open on the back straight.
Massa on the other hand has trouble getting past Di Resta for 7th place.
In turn 1 of lap 29, Hamilton gets past Button after various attempts, while Alonso takes P1 from Vettel at the end of that same lap. Vettel was however instructed not to fight Alonso and focus on his own laptimes as Red Bull believe this to be more beneficial for the end result.
In lap 34 Raikkonen pits for scrubbed set of medium tyres. Hamilton is immediately told to push. One lap later Vettel gets past Button to take P3.
On lap 36, Hulkenberg and Massa come into the pit immediately behind each other. After their stops, they're side by side through the pitlane, but Massa managed to accellerate faster on the exit of the pitlane and get ahead of the Sauber.
After Hamilton pitted, he found himself behind Raikkonen and also Ricciardo. Obviously he's on a different strategy than the Toro Rosso driver, but over the course of 3 laps he lost about 4 seconds to Kimi Raikkonen. Part of that feat came deu to Raikkonen aggressive overtake on the Toro Rosso through the outside of turn 1 on that same lap.
At the end of lap 41, Alonso pits with an advantage of 18 seconds over Vettel in second place. The German Red Bull driver however will have to stop again as well as he did not yet run with the option tyres during this race.
After the stop, Vettel leads the race, 1.1 seconds ahead of Alonso. Button is 4 seconds behind Alonso. Raikkonen is 2.5 seconds behind the McLaren and has a little bit more than 1 second in hand over Hamilton. Di Resta is a distant 6th, ahead of Massa, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Perez and Grosjean.
That same lap, Alonso passed Vettel thanks to brand new prime tyres.
On lap 45, Raikkonen passes Button and Hamilton followed suit through turn 3. The trio by now is around 9 seconds behind the leader, with Vettel of course still in between them.
6 laps from the end, Button makes his final stop to switch to options, with Vettel doing the same one lap later. Vettel rejoined the track in 4th, 8 seconds behind Hamilton, but the next laps are simply impressive and at the end of the final lap ends up right behind the gearbox of Hamilton. He is however unable to get past the Mercedes, failing to make it onto the podium.
|2||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||56||+10.1 secs||2||18|
|3||10||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG||56||+12.3 secs||1||15|
|4||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||56||+12.5 secs||9||12|
|5||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+35.2 secs||8||10|
|6||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||56||+40.8 secs||5||8|
|7||19||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||56||+42.6 secs||7||6|
|8||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||56||+51.0 secs||11||4|
|9||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||56||+53.4 secs||6||2|
|10||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||56||+56.5 secs||10||1|
|11||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||56||+63.8 secs||12|
|12||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||56||+72.6 secs||15|
|13||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||56||+93.8 secs||16|
|14||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||56||+95.4 secs||14|
|15||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||18|
|16||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||20|
|17||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||55||+1 Lap||19|
|18||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||55||+1 Lap||21|
|Ret||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG||21||+35 Laps||4|
|Ret||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||15||+41 Laps||22|
|Ret||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||5||+51 Laps||13|
|Ret||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||4||+52 Laps||17|