Chinese Grand Prix – Race

The provisional grid was set yesterday: 1=SV, 2=MW, 3=FA, 4=NR, 5=JB, 6=LH, 7=FM, 8=RK, 9=MS, 10=AS, 11=RB, 12=JA, 13=SB, 14=VP, 15=KK, 16=NH, 17=PdlR, 18=VL, 19=TG, 20=JT, 21=HK, 22=LdG, 23=BS, 24=KC.

Air temperature = 21°C; track 23°C; humidity 57%; wind 1.3m/s
It looks a little overcast – there’s a little drizzle

KC and LdG will start from the pit lane
As the teams clear the grid, it looks like most are starting on the option (soft compound) tyre … except TG is on intermediates?!

SV leads everyone away on the formation lap … but TG is still up on the front jack, so he’ll have to start from the pit lane
Spots of rain on the on-board cameras as the cars work their way round the circuit
Mechanics are in the pit lane for many teams, just in case they need to swap to intermediates
The grid forms up; NC waits at the pit lane exit

01/56: Great start from FA – he’s in P1 before Turn 1 – did he jump the start?
MW ahead of his teammate into T1
Contact at the back of the field – 4 cars off – VL, KK, SB all out
Safety Car deployed because of debris on the track
Replay shows VL lose the rear end under braking, slide across the corner and backwards through SB

02[SC]: Some cars take to the pit lane for inters
Pit-car from JB saying FA must have jumped the start
BBC report the rain’s getting quite heavy in the pit lane
Replay of the start shows Charlie Whiting (the race director) point at FA
Message from Race Control: “Incident involving car 8 under investigation by the stewards – jump start”

03[SC]: FA & MW pit – that’s a tyre stop for FA – you can’t serve a penalty under the safety car
Very late decision from LH to enter the pits – he had to cut across the gravel to reach the pit lane entrance – will he be penalised?
SV arrives at his pit box just before the team release MW – isn’t that illegal this season?
SC in at the end of this lap

04: NR & JB at the front of the pack, still on slicks
The cars on inters are blasting past the tail end cars that are still on dry tyres
Inters look good now but is it really wet enough? Will they last more than a few laps?

05/56: NR, JB, RK, FA, AS, PdlR, VP, RB; retirements: VL, KK, SB
MS pits – that’s his 2nd stop – he’s gone back out on slicks
Race control: drive through penalty for FA

06: FA takes to the pit lane to serve his drive-through penalty
Pit-car radio from LH says the inters are shot and he needs to go back onto slicks
LH and SV battle down the pit entrance, right to the speed limit line
McLaren release LH as SV is alongside – LH squirms around to avoid him – that’s got to be a penalty for LH
Looks like SV tried to squeeze LH into another team’s pit box – that’s dangerous!

07: Apparently FA changed tyres again, so that’s 3 visits to the pits so far

08: NR, JB, RK, PdlR, VP, JA, MS, AS

09: Replay of FA entering the pit lane too fast and having a minor visit to the gravel trap
Smoke from PdlR’s engine – looks like he’s retiring from P6

10/56: LH passes MW on the back straight
BBC report it’s starting to rain again in the pit lane

11: NR, JB, RK, VP, JA, MS, HK, AS
AS has taken P7 from HK; they’ve got SV & LH just behind them

12: SV takes a look at AS into the hairpin; LH hangs back, takes the inside line and passes them both 🙂

13: SV tries again a lap later and this time makes it stick … and MW follows his teammate past AS

14: Pit-car radio for MS – the team think the rain will be as hard as before but last longer

15/56: NR, JB, RK, VP, MS, LH, SV, MW; retirements: PdlR, LdG, SB, KK, VL, TG
LH takes a look at MS but decides against diving through

16: Pit-car for NR – rain about 3 mins away, will last about 10 mins
LH looks around the outside in the hairpin but MS pushes him wide

17: LH makes the move on the back straight; passes MS but MS cuts back in the hairpin; LH holds on to P5

19: JA and AS side by side heading for the hairpin
JB takes P1 from NR after NR ran wide in Turn 11

20/56: JB, NR, RK, VP, LH, SV, MS, MW
MS & MW pit for inters
Front-right slow on MW’s change
The two Ferraris pit nose to tail – I guess you are allowed to queue

21: “Pit lane incident involving cars 2 and 5 will be investigated after the race” – that’s LH & SV
SV has caught up to LH
JB has pitted for inters
LH and SV pit again – LH leaves the box first and clearly ahead of SV
JA runs over his own front wing as he enters the pit lane

22: Safety Car deployed – why? There’s a little debris from JA’s broken front wing – is that all?
JB, NR, RK, VP, MS, MW, LH, SV
Replay shows FA sneak up the inside of his teammate as the enter the pit lane – how not to make friends in the team!

23[SC]: Back-markers are waved past until JB catches up to the SC

24[SC]: NH pits – they put slicks on the Williams

25/56[SC]: JB, NR, RK, VP, MS, MW, LH, SV
NH runs wide – might be too soon for slicks
SC in at the end of this lap
JB backs everyone up too much – LH ducks out of the pack to avoid contact
MW runs wide as the head for the restart

26: Pit-car from MW says he went off because LH hit him
NH pits again – back on inters
FM & RB battling through the hairpin

27: JB, NR, RK, VP, LH, AS, MS, FA
LH has closed up on VP … and takes P4
Replay shows LH tap MW but LH had the other Red Bull on his left side, so he had nowhere to go

28/56 = half distance

29: BBC think JB may be penalised for slowing everyone too much before the restart
LH takes RK around the outside at the hairpin
FA takes the inside line up past AS

30/56: SV passes AS too; MS lines up the Force India now

31: BBC confirm the safety car line is just before the final turn, which is why the cars where fighting at the restart, so no penalties expected for that

32: JB has a 2.7sec lead over NR, but LH is closing on them
MS still close to AS but can’t get past

33: McLaren tell LH that more rain is expected
VP has gone off but finds the black stuff again – replay shows he lost the tail as he started to accelerate out of a corner

35/56: JB, NR, LH, RK, FA, SV, VP, AS

36: LH right on the tail of NR – good clean fight for P2 – NR stays ahead so far
MW pits – his inters are bald

37: Pit-car radio from NR says rain is due in about 3-4mins
MS pits for fresh inters
McLaren mechanics get ready for a stop

38: LH pits from P3 – new intermediates – had to hold him as a car passes their box

39: JB pits from P1
NR pits too … as does FA
NR rejoins behind LH, so it’s a McLaren 1-2 right now
Replay of MW running wide in the hairpin – rejoins just ahead of MS

40/56: JB, LH, NR, FA, RK, SV, MW, MS; retirements: JT, LdG, PdlR, SB, KK, VL, TG
Pit-car radio from LH says it’s raining heavier

42: Pit-car from JB asks if LH is closing because he can’t see anything

44: KC spins coming out of Turn 4

45/56: JB, LH, NR, FA, RK, SV, MW, MS; retirements: JT, LdG, PdlR, SB, KK, VL, TG
JA, VP & FM fighting over P9

46: VP looks at JA into the hairpin … takes P9 … FM follows through for P10
AS closes and fights his way past JA now

47: JB has a 5sec lead over his teammate

48: LH tells his team his left front is bald but the reply is that they’re sure he’ll be OK to the end of the race

49: MS runs wide in the final turn

50/56: JB, LH, NR, FA, RK, SV, MW, MS; retirements: JT, LdG, PdlR, SB, KK, VL, TG
JB’s lead almost 10secs
VP runs wide in the hairpin

51: FA touches the white line and the Ferrari’s tail tries to break away
JB locks the fronts into the hairpin and runs wide

52: VP passes MS into the hairpin and takes P8
LH is struggling with grip

53: VP catching up to MW
FM closing on MS

54: Pit-car for MS tell him FM is the only threat
MS squeezes FM off the track at the hairpin
VP right on MW’s tail

55/56: JB, LH, NR, FA, RK, SV, MW, VP, MS, FM; retirements: JT, LdG, PdlR, SB, KK, VL, TG
MW slides a little wide and VP steals P7

56 = final lap: LH just 2secs behind his teammate
Pit-car for LH reminds him it’s the final lap and says be careful because the rain’s getting heavier
FM takes P9 from MS … and then MS runs wide

JB takes the chequered flag, with his McLaren teammate right behind him
P3=NR, 4=FA, 5=RK, 6=SV, 7=VP, 8=MW, 9=FM, 10=MS
11=AS, 12=RB, 13=JA, 14=HK (+1 lap), 15=NH (+1), 16=BS (+2), 17=KC (+4 laps)
DNF: JT, LdG, PdlR, SB, KK, VL, TG.
But don’t forget there may be penalties coming….

As they stop in parc ferme, it’s easy to see how worn the tyres are – not exactly what you’d call street legal 🙂

Nice to see lots of Union Flags 🙂
That’s a very wet engineer up there on the podium!

Post-race interviews:
JB: Concerned when the safety car was deployed – lost his lead; couldn’t warm the tyres again after running wide at the hairpin
LH: “Quite an eventful race”; Jenson made the better tyre choice
NR: “nice to lead the race for a while”
JB: “It’s not luck we came out on top today” – “we made the right call” (re: tyres); going to enjoy the 3 week break before Barcelona 🙂