Grand Prix of China – Race

The third race of the season continues to be challenging for Hamilton – he’s starting from the very back while his teammate is on pole. Hopefully his engine problem is fixed and we’ll see lots of overtaking.

Grid: ROS, RIC, RAI, VET, BOT, KVY, PER, SAI, VES, MAS, ALO, BUT, HUL*, GRO, ERI, NAS, MAG, GUT, PAL, HAR, WEH, HAM.
*HUL was handed a 3 grid spot penalty after his team “released a car in an unsafe condition” and his wheel came off.

Pit lane has opened, 30 minutes before the start of the race, and everyone lines up to do practice starts.
ROS had to swerve around a couple of people mechanics wandering over to the pit wall.

Given the top 10 have to start on the same tyres with which they set their fastest time in Q2, so ROS is on soft and the others are on supersoft … but what about the rest of the grid? Looks like lots of soft compounds except BUT, HUL and MAG on supersoft

ROS leads everyone away on the formation lap
HAM seems a bit slow getting away – hopefully that’s deliberate not a problem
Grid forms up

01/56: RIC makes a good start – leads into Turn 1
Contact – Ferrari on Ferrari
Radio from VET – I made contact; I hit Kimi
HAM has lost his front wing

02: RIC, ROS, KVY, PER, HUL, SAI, MAS, VET, BUT, BOT, ERI, VES, ALO, MAG, WEH, PAL, GUT, HAR
GRO pits, followed by RAI and then HAM
RAI and HAM exit but GRO still in his box
VET passes MAS for P7, and BUT follows through

03: ROS fastest lap 1:42.293
ROS uses DRS to pass RIC
RIC has a puncture – carcass flies off

04: RIC pits
SAI looking to take P4 from HUL
HAM f/lap 1:41.293
Safety Car deployed

05[SC]: KVY pits, as do VET, PER, BUT and more
Replay of the start shows NAS avoid RAI and hit HAM
Also a replay of VET entering the pit lane, slowed by a couple of other cars pitting, but VET passes them before the speed limit line
HAM pits again; supersoft tyres this time

06[SC]: Radio for HAM – we have a plan

06[SC]: HAM pits yet again; softs, so in theory he doesn’t need to pit again

08[SC]: SC in at the end of this lap

09: VET fighting his way past HUL for P12

10/56: ROS, MAS, KVY, ALO, WEH, GUT, PER, BOT, PAL, BUT, SAI, VET, HUL

11: HAM past RAI for P16
Lots of battles up and down the field

12: VET past BOT for P7
WEH drops from P5 as PER nips inside
KVY inside MAS at the hairpin for P2

13: RIC and HAM pass GUT
VET easily past PER for P5

14: VET closing on ALO
Radio for VET – push ‘ard

15/56: ROS, KVY, MAS, VET, ALO, PER, BOT, BUT, SAI, RIC, HAM, WEH, HUL,
RAI pits; rejoins P22

16: HAM past BUT for P10
Yellow flags briefly so a marshal can pick up the bit of VET’s front wing that he left in the final turn

17: ALO pits; mediums
VET all over the rear of MAS

18: VET pits; softs; rejoins P13
VET easily past ERI
HUL locks up under pressure from VES

19: PER pits
VES closing on BUT

20/56: KVY pits from P2
VET f/lap 1:40.884
KVY past VES for P5; VET tries to follow but VES closes the door

21: ROS pits; mediums

22: HUL penalty – 5 second stop

24: RIC takes P8 from ERI
SAI past ERI too

25/56: ROS, KVY, VET, BUT, PER, MAS, BOT, RIC, SAI, RAI; HAM, ERI, ALO, HUL, VES, GUT, WEH, MAG, PAL, HAR, GRO, NAS; no retirements
MAS past PER and BUT
HAM on the rear of RAI

26: BOT looks inside PER but the door is slammed shut
BUT holds off PER for a couple of turns but hasn’t got the grip

27: BOT takes P6 from BUT
RIC past BUT
HUL pits; serves penalty; mediums

28/56 = half distance: BUT passed by SAI, RAI and now lined up by HAM
BUT pits; mediums

29: RIC attacks PER; uses DRS; takes P6
VES inside ALO for P11
PER pits, as does ERI

30/56: ROS, KVY, VET, MAS, BOT, RIC, SAI, RAI, HAM, VES; ALO, GUT, PER, BUT, MAG, GRO, HUL, ERI, NAS, WEH, PAL, HAR

31: Mercedes get ready with medium tyres
HAM pits; mediums; rejoins P14 behind BUT

32: MAS pits from P4; mediums; rejoins P9

33: ROS has a comfortable 26.5sec lead over KVY
VET closing on KVY
ALO pits
HAM gets very close to GUT before passing

36: KVY pits, as does VET – KVY on medium but VET on soft

37: ROS pits; mediums; rejoins still P1
VET powers past KVY for P3

38: RIC pits from P2; mediums
RAI pits from P5; soft

39: ROS almost 27sec ahead of VET
ROS f/lap 1:40.418

40/56: ROS, VET, KVY, VES, MAS, BOT, HAM, RIC, PER, RAI
MAS dives inside VES for P4
HAM right on the tail of BOT
HAM makes a forceful pass on BOT for P5

41: RIC inside BOT for P6
Replay shows a twitch from BOT so HAM lunges, locks up a little and on full lock as he passes BOT

42: RAI takes P8 from PER
RIC closing on HAM
VES f/lap 1:40.399
Radio from KVY complaining PAL isn’t obeying blue flags

43: HAM trying to find a way round MAS without letting RIC attack him
RIC dives inside HAM for P5

44: RIC now past MAS for P4
RAI lining up BOT
Clean pass for RAI to take P7

45/56: ROS, VET, KVY, RIC, MAS, HAM, RAI, BOT, PER

46: HAM closing on MAS but RAI closing on HAM
MAS doing well to defend

47: HAM attacks again
GUT f/lap 1:40.368 on supersoft
RAI spots a gap; HAM leaves the door open; RAI takes P5
BUT f/lap 1:40.298 on supersoft

48: RAI takes P5 from MAS
GRO f/lap 1:40.037
HAM locks up again

49: GRO f/lap 1:39.923
HAM takes another look but MAS defends again
HUL f/lap

50/56: ROS, VET, KVY, RIC, RAI, MAS, HAM, BOT, VES, PER; SAI, ALO, BUT, ERI, GUT, HUL, MAG, WEH, GRO, NAS, HAR, PAL
SAI past PER

51: ROS over 34sec ahead of VET
GUT past ERI for P14
ROS runs wide – problem?

52 = 5 laps left: Looks like HAM has backed off a little, maybe to save his tyres for another attack on MAS

53: SAI closing on teammate VES
BUT also closing on his teammate ALO

55/56: VES has caught BOT
BOT runs wide; VES takes P8
SAI now all over BOT
Radio from GRO – problem with the car; asking if they want him to retire it; told no, hang in there

56 = final lap: big lockup from BUT
VES now closing on HAM

ROS takes the chequered flag
VES still pushing hard behind HAM
Radio from VET still apologising for the lap 1 collision with RAI and blaming KVY

Provisional result: ROS, VET, KVY, RIC, RAI, MAS, HAM, VES, SAI, BOT; PER, ALO, BUT, GUT, HUL, ERI, MAG, WEH, GRO, NAS, HAR, PAL; no retirements!

VET still a bit angry at KVY as they get ready for the podium

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