Lewis Hamilton has won his first Grand Prix of the season thanks to a solid three stop strategy. Kimi Raikkonen fended off a hard challenge from Vettel to finish third while Vettel does another great job for the championship.
As the starting lights went out, Hamilton easily kept the lead, ahead of Vettel and Grosjean. The Ferraris behind made a great start but were somewhat stuck behind the front cars running side by side, making it impossible for any of them to make a pass into the first corner. Turn 2 proved a bit more successful as Alonso managed to get past Rosberg and also almost past Grosjean.
Rosberg fiercely tried to defend against Massa but was so out of shape that he went wide on the exit of turn 3 and in a further duel lost a piece of front wing in turn 4, dropping him down to 14th after another off-track excursion. The battle also cost Massa his left front wing endplate, with the Brazilian soon after complaining of understeer.
Mark Webber who suffered technical problems during qualifying started from 10th and moved up to 7th after the first lap.
7 laps into the race, Hamilton still leads, but Vettel and Grosjean have no problem at all to follow the pace of the Mercedes. Alonso in 4th however cannot and is already down 8 seconds on the leader. Massa is a further 2 seconds down, closely followed by Raikkonen. Webber follows 4 seconds further but by now also has a 4 second cushion to Button. 9th is Ricciardo, followed by Perez, Maldonado, Rosberg, Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Sutil, Vergne, Gutierrez, Bottas, van der Garde, Pic, Bianchi and Chilton.
On lap 10, Hamilton is the first to stop, changing to white marked medium tyres. He rejoins the track just behind Button. 2 laps later Vettel is also in the pits and equally rejoins behind Button. By this time however Hamilton managed to get past his former teammate.
On lap 13 Alonso pits. Grosjean does the same one lap later, with Raikkonen coming into the pitlane as Grosjean leaves.
By lap 14 this means that Webber is now leading, ahead of Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso, Perez, Sutil, Massa and Raikkonen who is 10th and challenging the two cars ahead of him.
On lap 18 Vettel makes another attempt to pass Button and bends the right front wing endplate. It is immediately obvious that he lost downforce as he's unable to keep up with Button. Vettel was also asked to keep some distance as running close behind the McLaren is heating up his car. Grosjean soon sees his moment but fails to make his move stick, while Fernando Alonso by this time has closed the gap as is right behind Grosjean as well.
2 laps later Raikkonen finally passes Massa and gets on his way towards Perez who is 3 seconds ahead.
By lap 23 Button still is ahead of Vettel, Grosjean and Alonso. Vettel has closed the gap again while Alonso is simply following at little more than a second of Grosjean, not trying to make any overtaking moves at all.
That same lap Webber pits from the lead and rejoins behind the pack led by Button. 3 turns further down the track though Vettel finally passes Button. Grosjean follows suit following turn 5. The Frenchman cut across a little bit too early into Button's way, causing them to touch wheels, but seemingly without damage. Alonso managed to benefit from this and get past Button too, who later that lap stopped to change to option tyres.
One lap later Grosjean also pits and rejoins the track just ahead of Button.
On lap 27, positions are HAM, VET (+13.3), ALO (+3.3), WEB (+1.6), RAI (+6), MAS (+6), GRO (+3.3), BUT, ROS and MAL in tenth.
3 laps later Alonso and Webber are within one second of each other, with the Red Bull clearly faster than the Ferrari at this point in the race.
At the same time Gutierrez is out of his car, having stopped in the pits. Adrian Sutil already abandoned the race earlier on at his first pitstop as the team noticed a hydraulic leak on his car. A bitter end for Sutil's 100th Grand Prix.
On lap 32 Hamilton pits, just like Massa. The latter has been moving backwards for a while as he continues to run with the broken front wing. Hamilton rejoins the track one second behind Webber who is still chasing Alonso. 2 laps later he's past Webber on the outside through turn 2.
As Alonso pits one lap later, Hamilton is in free air and immediately posts the fastest lap.
On lap 36 Grosjean is handed a drive through penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Indeed, his pass on Massa through the outisde of the high speed turn 4 required him to go off track the exit of the turn which is not allowed. Grosjean was earlier on already under investigation earlier in the race for causing a collision with Button, but escaped a penalty for that.
Moments later Hulkenberg is given a drive through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
After completing his drive though, Grosjean rejoins the track just behind Alonso and is now 6th.
On lap 43 Raikkonen pits and is back on track in 6th place with nobody close ahead of him. Grosjean does so 5 laps later but is less fortunate as he gets stuck in between Button and Massa. To make things worse, Button is clearly going to the end of the race with these tyres.
2 laps later Bottas is out of the race as he stops on the exit of the final corner with smoke coming out of the car.
On lap 49 Alonso pits as well but gets back on track ahead of Button and Grosjean. Massa is no longer just behind Grosjean as the Brazilian pitted. One lap later Grosjean passes Button and gets on his way to Alonso.
Hamilton meanwhile also pitted and got back on track just behind Webber. That didn't take too long though as Hamilton took his chance immediately when Webber was slowed down slightly by Hulkenberg who was getting doubled. Vettel is now leading, 7.6 seconds ahead.
With 17 laps to to, Vettel leads Hamilton. Webber is 2 seconds behind Hamilton. 4th is Raikkonen, followed by Alonso, Grosjean, Button, Massa, Rosberg and Perez.
On lap 56 Vettel makes his final stop and gets another set of medium tyres. He gets back on track 2.5 seconds behind Raikkonen. Webber pits on lap 60 for his mandatory stint on options. He rejoins 3 seconds ahead of Alonso and 12 behind Vettel.
5 laps from the end, Rosberg's engine goes up in smoke and fire, ending the German's race. Nico though managed to properly park his car in a marshall area, requiring no notable yellow flag situation.
While Hamilton clamly drove to his first win of the season, Vettel was locking wheels all over the place in a final attempt to get past Raikkonen. The Finn however kept calm and defended perfectly to take second place this Grand Prix and in the Championship, surpassing Fernando Alonso who now drops to third and loses more to Vettel.
Just after the finish, Raikkonen immediately stops his car, probably using all the fuel left in his car to defend his second place.
|2||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||70||+10.9 secs||6||18|
|3||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||+12.4 secs||2||15|
|4||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||70||+18.0 secs||10||12|
|5||3||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||70||+31.4 secs||5||10|
|6||8||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||70||+32.2 secs||3||8|
|7||5||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||70||+53.8 secs||13||6|
|8||4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||70||+56.4 secs||7||4|
|9||6||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||69||+1 Lap||9||2|
|10||16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||69||+1 Lap||15||1|
|11||11||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||12|
|12||18||Jean-Eric Vergne||Str-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||14|
|13||19||Daniel Ricciardo||Str-Ferrari||69||+1 Lap||8|
|14||21||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||68||+2 Laps||20|
|15||20||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||68||+2 Laps||19|
|16||22||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||67||+3 Laps||21|
|17||23||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||67||+3 Laps||22|
|18||14||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||66||+4 Laps||18|
|19||9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||64||+6 Laps||4|
|Ret||17||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||42||+28 Laps||16|
|Ret||12||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||28||+42 Laps||17|
|Ret||15||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||19||+51 Laps||11|