Chinese Grand Prix – Race

Another middle of the night race so we recorded it and I managed to avoid the news again 🙂

So, from my Qualifying notes, the provisional grid was: SV, JB, LH, NR, FA, FM, JA, PD, SB, VP, AS, SP, KK, MS, RB, NH, PM, MW, HK, JT, JD, TG, VL, NK.
MW had (yet another / the same) problem with KERS in his Red Bull and VP had a gearbox/hydraulic failure in his Renault.

Track temp 29°C; 24% humidity; wind 1.2m/s

BBC report that McLaren have put LH’s car back together after fuel flooded the car!
He’s on the grid but sounds like a last minute issue which might have put them off their rhythm

MW is starting on the prime (hard) compound tyre unlike everyone around him

SV leads everyone away on the formation lap

01/56: JB streaks past SV
LH tries to pass too but SV chops across but LH takes P2
NR attacks SV too
VP out-brakes himself and loses a place

02: JB, LH, SV, NR, FM, FA
Pit-car for JB telling him to push and open a gap before DRS can be used

03: DRS available from now on
LH f/lap 1:44.641
KK makes a move on JA

04: Jump start for car 23 (VL) under investigation

05/56: JB, LH, SV, NR, FM, FA, PD, AS, MS, KK
AS attacking team-mate PD

06: Pit-car from PD complaining that the rear is moving around
Pit-car for SV telling him his pace is good … although he seems to be falling back from LH

07: Drive-through penalty for VL for a jump start

09: NH keeping on the tail of the JA/SB battle
SP slides past RB for P16 … and then past MW
NH splits the Toro Rosso battle

10/56: JB, LH, SV, NR, FM, FA, PD, AS, MS, KK
JA pits … and he’s only on 3 wheels when he leaves the pits!

11: MS pits
JA pulls off track and parks his tricycle
MW pits too

12: FM closing on NR for P4

14: MW f/lap 1:43.313
SV in a drag race with LH … and take P2

15/56: JB and SV pit … JB stops in the wrong box?!?!
SV exits the pits ahead of JB – stupid mistake!

16: FM enters the pits ahead of LH!? What happened to LH?

17: FM in NH’s slipstream – passes him, as does LH
NR has a clear lead over VP who is holding up SV

18: MS makes a move on NH, and FA follows him through

19: Will the early stoppers need to make an extra stop?
NH pits from P9
FA attacking MS for P6

20/56: NR, SV, JB, FM, LH, MS, FA, PD, AS, KK
NR has a 4.7sec lead over the Red Bull
JB f/lap 1:42.612

24: FA still attacking MS
Pit-car for MW says no KERS for now

25/56: JB pits from P3 – another set of soft tyres – rejoins in P8

26: SV has cut NR’s lead to 3.5sec
NR pits, as does LH
MW pits too
FA finally passes MS

27: MS pits

28/56 = half distance

29: NR makes a nice move on FA
MW easy pass on RB

30/56: JB takes P4 from FA
SV, FM, NR, JB, LH, FA, PD, AS, KK, VP; no retirements

31: KK and NH pit; AS too

32: SV pits – rejoins P6
LH right on his team-mate’s tail
Pit-car for LH telling him there’s a way to go on this stint

33: FA pits
MS closing on VP … and passes him
MW attacking VP

34: FM pits – rejoins just behind SV

35/56: NR, JB, LH, SV, FM, MS, MW, VP, FA, SP

37: FA attacking VP; defends but the Ferrari is clearly faster

38: JB pits again – rejoins in P5
MW attacking MS

39: LH pits – rejoins in P4
MW down the inside of MS for P6

40/56: NR pits from P1 – rejoins just ahead of LH
LH attacks NR

41: MW pits again
LH attacks NR; NR defends and LH locks up

42: LH takes P3 from NR

44: LH has a go at FM but FM defends well

45/56: LH steals P2 from FM
MW passes FA for P6
SV, LH, FM, NR, JB, MW, FA, MS

46: JB passes NR and lines up FM
Replay shows NR passes FM but then out-brakes himself

47: Yellow flag after SP tries to dive inside AS but slides wide and they both drive through the gravel

48: Pit-car for LH telling him to look after his tyres
Drive-through penalty for SP for causing the collision with AS

49: LH still closing on SV – statistically he can catch SV but will he be able to pass?

50/56: SV, LH, FM, JB, NR, MW, FA, MS, PD, KK
Pit-car radio for SV reiterating that they can’t hear him but say he’s got to stay out
Incident involving cars 14 and 17 under investigation
LH catches SV on the back straight but SV defends well

51: NR passed FM and the Ferrari runs wide
SV deliberately slow out of turn so LH can’t make the most of DRS+KERS

52: LH eases past SV for the lead

53: JB closing on SV now
MW attacking NR for P4

54: LH, SV, JB, NR, MW, FM, FA, MS, VP, PD
MW attacks NR; he’s through but barely stops in time for the corner

55/56: MW on JB’s tail now
Pit-car for JB warn him that MW is on fresher tyres
JB has KERS but MW has DRS on the back straight
MW takes P3

56 = final lap: LH takes the chequered flag
SV home for P2
MW started P18 and finished P3
P4=JB, 5=NR, 6=FM, 7=FA, 8=MS, 9=VP, 10=KK
P11=PD, 12=NH, 13=RB, 14=SB, 15=AS (+1 lap), 16=HK, 17=SP, 18=PM, 19=JT, 20=JD (+2 laps), 21=TG, 22=VL, 23=NK
DNF: JA.

Interviews:
LH: strategy definitely helped; new option tyres lasted longer; pit stops were fantastic; car felt great; one of the best races I’ve experienced; Q:what happened at start of race? don’t know what problem was
SV: start was not best we’ve had this year; surprised when Jenson went into my garage; tried to hard to stay on 2 stops; couple of mistakes and a few problems; good race for us; problem with communications and KERS; (re: strategy) when it doesn’t work it doesn’t work
MW: interesting Grand Prix; joked about not bothering with Qualifying in future

Next race: Turkey in 3 weeks, May 6-8.