Chinese Grand Prix – Race

The provisional grid looks like this: SV, FA, MW, RB, JB, JT, NR, KR, LH, SBu, NH, HK, FM, (TG*) KN, SB, NP, RK, AS, TG, GF
*TG’s engine penalty drops him from P14 to P19
[My notes from Qualifying]

It doesn’t look like the rumoured penalty for SV (for blocking HK during a qualifying lap) is going to materialise, and I’ve not heard of any other penalties (i.e. so it’s just TG’s) which means the provisional grid above stands.

As always, my notes are after the jump…

I set my alarm clock for 2:30am, so I’d be up in time for the race, but apparently its battery died at 1:15am! By the time I woke up, it was almost time to head out of the first Ontario Walk of the season, so I’ll be watching it long after the race is over 🙁

As soon as we start the programme, it’s wet! BBC say the race will start behind the Safety Car.
RK and TG will start from the pit lane, at the back of the pack.

01/56: The SC leads everyone away – there’s no formation lap when the race starts behind the SC
It might not appear to be raining very hard but the on-board camera shows how little visibility there is, even at the slower speeds when they’re behind the SC

02[SC]: Pit-car radio for FA – grip is OK with the wet tyres
JB says “visibility is very, very bad” and there’s a bit of aquaplaning
FM runs wide in the last corner but finds the track again
Remember, if they lose a place because they slide off-track, they’re not allowed to pass to reclaim their position

03[SC]: It’s mean to say it, but this means HK has finally managed to complete 2 laps for the first time this season 🙂
Pit-car for FM reminds him to keep pumping the brakes to try to keep some heat in them
AS runs wide in the last corner, same as FM did

04[SC]: NR complains of aquaplaning on the main straight
It’s KR’s turn to run wide in the last corner

05/56[SC]: AS pits – it’s effectively a free stop because they can catch up to the pack a lot easier when everyone’s behind the SC
Pit-car for FA asking him if he thinks it’s safe to bring in the SC – FA says yes, they’ll clear the water better at higher speed
NR pits for warm tyres
Pit-car for LH – team says rain will continue for ~30 mins

07[SC]: FA pits – held at the pit exit until the last of the pack has gone past
SC in at the end of this lap – that’s good news for FA, who has warm tyres
SC pulls in – SV is effectively the SC until he passes the Start line and gets the green flag
Flag marshal on the final corner waving a green flag – surely it should still be yellow until they start the next lap?

08: SV, MW, RB, JB, JT, KR, LH, SBu
LH takes P6 away from KR
SBu closes on KR too

09: LH catching JT
SBu takes a look down the inside of KR – decides to back off

10/56: SV, MW, RB, JB, JT, LH, KR, SBu
NH runs wide in Turn 1
LH passes JT for P5

11: SBu still hassling KR for P7
RB and LH both run wide in the last turn
JB passed teammate RB when he (RB) ran wide
SBu sneaks past KR

12: LH has dropped back – replay shows he had a 360 spin
SBu passes JT for P5
FM has passed his teammate

13: Replay of GF tapping NP

14: NH turns in a hits TG
FM passes JT down the inside

15/56: MW pits from P2 – 9.9s stop – rejoins ahead of JT
KR passes JT, followed by LH

16: SV pits from P1
LH passes KR in Turn 1

17: HK and TG pass JT
KN runs wide

18: RK pits for a new nose cone
JT touring round with no rear wing

19: Replay shows RK plough through the back of JT – looks like JT was slow into the corner and RK did brake soon enough
Safety Car deployed

20[SC]: JB pits
SBu has a broken rear wing and damage to the front wing!
RB pits too
Replay shows SBu run into the back of SV
JT is pushed into the Toyota garage

21[SC]: SV, JB, FM, MW, KR, LH, RB, HK
FM has stopped on the track

22[SC]: Watching the marshals push the Ferrari off the circuit, it’s still very windy
Replay shows FM suddenly lost power – no excuse for just stopping on the track though – he had enough momentum to pull off onto the grass
Lights are off on the SC – in at the end of this lap
SBo spins

23: SV, JB, MW, KR, LH, RB, HK, SBu
RB has dropped back to P7 – did he slide off track?
LH eases past KR
FA passes KN

24: SV has opened a 4 second lead, but then he’s the only driver who can see where he’s going
TG pits – he’s broken the front wing

25/56: SV, JB, MW, LH, KR, HK, RB, SBu
AS closes in on his teammate

27: Puff of smoke from SV’s engine?

28 (half distance): KR pits from P5 – 11.4s – long fuel stop
Yellow flags in T1 as KN skirts around the kitty litter

29: NP exits a corner backwards, slides across the track and gravel trap, through a polystyrene sign; spins the car around and rejoins the race

30/56: SV, JB, MW, LH, HK, RB, SBu, FA
NP pits – Renault replace the steering wheel but there’s still problems getting the car away
JB touches the white line under braking for T1 – runs wide – MW snatches P2

32: JB has retaken P2 after MW ran wide in the last turn
MW fights back – he’s pushed JB back down to P3

33: MW pulling clear of JB, but he’s still 17s behind his teammate

34: LH pits from P4 – his first stop – 8.6s – rejoins in P8

35/56: RK’s nose cone is working it’s way loose

36: RK pits – new nose cone – 13.5s stop

37: SBo spits 3 times on the grass; spins on the track; back onto the grass; finally gets it back on the black stuff

38: SV pits from P1 – 9.2s stop – slow out of the box – rejoins behind JB
FA spins and recovers

40/56: JB, SV, MW, RB, SBu, LH, AS, HK
MW pits from P1 – rejoins in P3, just ahead of RB
TG makes a nice move on KR to take P11

41: SV gets a great tow from JB, slides past and takes P1

42: NR pits – he’s taking on intermediate tyres – that’s a brave decision!
FA passes KR

43: JB pits from P2 – playing it safe with full wets – 7.8s stop – rejoins in P4

44: NR is 2s/lap slower than the front runners
RB pits from P3 – rejoins in P5

45/56: SV, MW, JB, SBu, RB, LH, HK, AS
KN parks in the Williams garage – he’s the 3rd retirement, along with JT & FM

47: NP spins in the last turn – smacks his nose cone on the barriers – spins around and enters the pits

48: LH runs wide and teammate HK sneaks by to take P5

49: HK is closing on RB
NR loses grip but the intermediate tyres are performing better than I’d anticipated
Rain appears to be getting heaver

50/56: SV, MW, JB, RB, HK, LH, AS, NH
LH spins in the last corner again – he’s behind AS now

51: There’s a wheel on the track!
AS has lost it – the Force India smacked the tyre wall quite hard and lost both front wheels
AS is out of the car and jogs towards the marshals

52: Yellow flags around the Force India accident but no debris on the track

53: TG has taken P7 from SBu

54: The marshals have moved AS’s car under double waved yellows

55/56: SV, MW, JB, RB, HK, LH, TG, SBu; retirements: JT, FM, KN, AS

Final lap: SV takes the chequered flag – Red Bull’s first ever victory
MW over in P2, so Red Bull take maximum points
P3=JB, 4=RB, 5=HK, 6=LH, 7=TG, 8=SBu
No points for Ferrari for the 3rd consecutive race … well, unless you count the Ferrari engine in Buemi’s Toro Rosso 🙂

Watching SV, MW and JB head up to the podium – it’s still really windy
The dignitaries presenting the trophies are wearing plastic bags – surely getting wet is less embarrassing?

Next race: Bahrain, next weekend.