Lewis Hamilton has won the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai thanks to a better race strategy and a working KERS device. Sebastian Vettel struggled to the end and came in second while his teammate Mark Webber ended up in third place after starting from 18th position.
The Chinese GP is getting ahead with a surprising starting grid. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how Lewis Hamilton is still on the grid, as his team had an impressive amount of work before the warmup lap.
As the lights go out it's immediately obvious that Vettel has a difficult start and quickly falls back behind the two McLarens. He even is attacked by Rosberg but is able to defend and keep his position to Rosberg. Behind that is Massa who outstarted Alonso.
Mark Webber meanwhile, having started on primes from 18th position he managed to gain only a single place in the first corner, with another one on Pérez on lap 2.
Adrian Sutil moved up to 8th, gaining 3 positions in the first lap while Michael Schumacher went up from 14th to 9th, confirming he has a much quicker car than he showed in qualifying.
By lap 6 Button is 1.4s ahead of Hamilton while Vettel is another second behind Hamilton. Rosberg and the two Ferraris are losing about half a second a lap but with that are pulling a gap to the Force India cars who are struggling with rear tyre grip.
Behind them are Schumacher and Kobayashi, both very close to each other and perhaps starting a race-long fight just like in Malaysia.
As of position 12 there is a train forming behind the two Toro Rosso cars. On lap 8 Heidfeld manages to squeeze in behind them after passing Buemi, and on lap 10 gets some freedom as Alguersuari dives into the pitlane.
That is immediately the end of the race for Alguersuari as his right rear wasn't fixed properly and into turn three it simply went its own way. Alguersuari tried half a lap to get back to the pits on three wheels but just puts it into the grass and stops.
On lap 14 the situation at the front completely turned around. Vettel put up higher pressure and right before the stops Button is just 1.4s ahead of Vettel, with Hamilton even in between them. The first men to pit are Button and Vettel. Button surprisingly stops at the Red Bull pitbox. The team let him through obviously to the next box, but by the time Button ends up at his crew, Vettel is already being serviced and hence can leave the pitlane ahead of Button.
Right before that, Vettel had managed to pass Hamilton in turn 14, a the end of the back straight thanks to the DRS.
The next lap Hamilton is in, but he had lost considerable track time by then as he ended up between the two Ferraris, who he was leading about 4 seconds one lap earlier.
All top 8 followed suit to change tyres within the next few laps. Alonso was the last one to do so and found himself behind Schumacher after his stop. Schumacher's early stop for new tyres worked out brilliantly, while Rosberg is now in the lead, also thanks to stopping early.
On lap 20, Rosberg leads Vettel by 4.6 seconds. Button is a close third and just ahead of Massa and Hamilton. 5.5 seconds behinds them are Schumacher and Alonso. Di Resta is 8th and Sutil 9th.
On lap 25 Button stops again and Rosberg does the same one lap later. At the same time Alonso managed to pass Schumacher and now has a lot of ground to make up.
Schumacher pits on lap 27 while Sebastian Vettel has taken the lead thanks to Rosberg's pistop. Massa is second for not having a second stop yet while Alonso is third, 18 seconds behind the leader.
Vettel is getting himself in a vulnerable position at the moment as he is quite a bit slower than all of the guys who have already stopped. Ferrari are in the same trouble as Alonso gets passed by Rosberg and then by Button is a fascinatingly easy way.
On lap 31 Vettel makes his second stop at a time when Massa closed up to him to only 1.3 seconds. 2 laps later Alonso makes his stop while Massa does the same another lap later. Massa takes on a new set of hard tyres, just like during his previous stint.
In lap 35 Hamilton passes Button on the pitstraight thanks to some beautiful traction out of turn 16. Button realised very late he was being passed and had to turn out of turn 1 again after initiating his normal turn in.
On lap 37 Button takes on a set of hard tyres for his final stint. Hamilton stops one lap after with leader Rosberg doing so another lap later. Rosberg rejoins the track just ahead of Hamilton and is fighting extemely hard to prevent getting passed by Hamilton.
Lap 42 is the good one for Hamilton as he gets past Rosberg in turn 6. Rosberg by then has a message from his team that he should try to save some fuel. Jenson Button is the next guy to put the pressure on Rosberg now.
3 laps later Hamilton gets ahead of Massa on the pitstraight, again through better traction out of turn 16. At the end of that lap Button passes Rosberg and is extremely close to Massa. Rosberg actually was trying to pass Massa himself he missed his braking point and lost position to Massa and then Button as well.
With 8 laps to go now Vettel is under serious pressure. His primes are 6 laps older than Hamilton's and his pace is about half a second slower a lap. The difference is down to 1.9 seconds one lap later.
Mark Webber meanwhile is showing what the Red Bull can really do. Mark is on a three stopper and is a full two seconds a lap faster than Vettel.
With 5 laps to go, Hamilton had reduced the gap to Vettel to put himself in a fighting position. At the end of the straight Vettel takes the inside of the braking zone and manages to keep his position, but only for another half a lap as Hamilton was so much more quicker out of turn 6 thanks to the newer tyres and the KERS on his car. Vettel was simply defenseless and is then looking to defend his second place to Button.
Meanwhile Webber passed a struggling Massa and has come up close behind Rosberg and with 2 laps left the Australian passes Rosberg. It is absolutely impressive what Mark Webber put in today, and it just shows how wrong the strategy with Sebastian Vettel actually was.
One lap later Webber has closed right upto the tail of Button and makes a pass stick on his first attempt.
|2.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing||+5.198|
|3.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing||+7.555|
|5.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes Grand Prix||+13.448|
|8.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes Grand Prix||+31.026|
|11.||Paul di Resta||Force India F1||+1:08.757|
|14.||Sebastien Buemi||Scuderia Toro Rosso||+1:30.671|
|15.||Adrian Sutil||Force India F1||+1 Lap|
|16.||Heikki Kovalainen||Lotus F1||+1 Lap|
|17.||Sergio Perez||Sauber||+1 Lap|
|18.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams||+1 Lap|
|19.||Jarno Trulli||Lotus F1||+1 Lap|
|20.||Jerome d` Ambrosio||Virgin Racing||+2 Laps|
|21.||Timo Glock||Virgin Racing||+2 Laps|
|22.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT F1 Team||+2 Laps|
|23.||Narain Karthikeyan||HRT F1 Team||+2 Laps|
|Did not finish|
|24.||Jaime Alguersuari||Scuderia Toro Rosso||+47 Laps|