Grand Prix of China – Race

As expected, it’s misty and damp at the Shanghai circuit. Not really raining, and no forecast of rain for the race, but the track is slick.

The provisional grid after Qualifying was: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, HUL, PER, KVY, STR, SAI, MAG, ALO, ERI, GIO, VAN, GRO, PAL, VER, OCO.

However, GRO and PAL were each penalised five places for now slowing sufficiently under the double waved yellows for GIO’s accident at the end of Q1. GIO also has a 5-spot penalty for a new gearbox.

So the revised grid is: HAM, VET, BOT, RAI, RIC, MAS, HUL, PER, KVY, STR, SAI, MAG, ALO, ERI, VAN, VER, OCO, GIO, GRO, PAL.

Pit lane opens, allowing the drivers to go out and see how damp the track is. Some are going out on (blue lettering) full wet tyres, but most are on (green) intermediates. Interesting that some even tried slicks but it doesn’t look like the track is quite ready for dry tyres yet.

As the teams clear the grid, we get a chance to see which tyres they’re all starting on. SAI on super-softs, but everyone else is on inters.

HAM leads everyone away on the formation lap.
Track definitely looks generally dry but there are a few wet patches, notably on the main straight where there’s the two bridges.
Radio from VET – “it has dried up quite a bit”
PAL dives into the pits for dry tyres
VET seems to be out of his grid slot

01/56: HAM safely leads into Turn 1
RIC steals P4 from RAI
SAI has slid off
STR off, into the gravel; he’s beached it
VET under investigation for being out of position on the grid

02: HUL pits
Virtual Safety Car deployed so they can clear STR’s Williams from the gravel trap
Radio for PER – “box, box – potential puncture”
Replay of STR’s off clearly shows he was thumped by PER

03[VSC]: Lots of them taking to the pits for dry tyres; not HAM but VET does
PAL spins in Turn 1
Radio from HUL – “losing temperature; so slow; losing grip”
VSC ending

04: GIO has crashed his Sauber again
Safety Car deployed
Looks like GIO lost it in the final turn, same as he did in Quali
GIO is out of his car, walking back to the garage
Replay shows maybe it was the water under the bridge that caught out GIO
Cars will be led through the pit lane while marshals clear GIO’s car from the main straight

05/56[SC]: HAM pits, as does BOT
RIC has gone for another set of inters!?
ALO has a heated exchange with his engineer
Maybe RIC didn’t pit – the timing info is probably confused because everyone’s driving through the pit lane

06[SC]: HAM, RIC, RAI, VER, BOT, VET, SAI, ALO, KVY, MAS, PER, MAG, OCO, PAL, VAN, HUL, ERI, GRO; retirements: GIO, STR
SC leads everyone through the pit lane again
RIC pits; dry tyres
No further action for VET being out of position at the start
Replay shows a nice clean start by VER
Replay shows SAI trying to get off the grid on slicks, but was dead last before Turn 1

07[SC]: Incident involving PER and STR noted – causing a collision
Radio from HAM saying he’s losing heat (in the tyres) because of the SC’s slow pace
SC in at the end of this lap
BOT spins, as he was weaving to try to warm his tyres
SC into the pit lane

08: PER dives inside MAS into Turn 1; PER ahead but runs wide; MAS fights back
PER attacks again; takes P8 this time
Radio from RAI – “I have zero torgue”
VET looking to pass his teammate

09: No further action for the PER/STR incident
DRS enabled
SAI fastest lap 1:42.693
BOT closing on KVY; takes P10
RAI runs deep in the hairpin

11: RAI f/lap 1:41.492
VER looking for a way round his teammate

12: VER takes P2 from RIC
RAI now attacking RIC

13: HAM f/lap 1:39.358

14: Incident involving HUL and GRO under investigation – overtaking under VSC

15/56: HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, VET, SAI, ALO, PER, MAG, BOT, KVY, OCO, HUL, MAS, VAN, PAL, GRO, ERI
Radio from RIC – lack of grip
BOT f/lap 1:39.127

16: HAM f/lap 1:38.124
VET locks up rather than run into the rear of the other Ferrari
5-second penalty for HUL for overtaking under VSC
Angry radio from RAI – what’s happening in Turn 12?

17: 10-sec penalty for HUL for overtaking under SC (in addition to the VSC penalty!)

19: VAN retires in the garage – fuel issue
BOT takes P9 from MAG

20/56: HAM, VER, RIC, RAI, VET, SAI, ALO, PER, BOT, MAG
KVY has parked his Toro Rosso
VET makes a move on RAI and takes P4

21: Radio from HAM asking if he can go to the end of the race on these tyres
VET already closing on RIC
HAM asked what he thinks about going to the end; says he thinks he can

22: VET all over RIC’s tail
VET goes around the outside; RIC defends; tyres touch; VET takes P3

23: HAM f/lap 1:37.560

24: VET f/lap 1:37.505
RAI now closing on RIC
RIC defends cleanly
PER dives inside teammate OCO for P10

25/56: HAM, VER, VET, RIC, RAI, SAI, ALO, BOT, MAG, PER, OCO, HUL*, MAS, PAL, GRO, ERI; retirements: KVY, VAN, GRO, STR
*Don’t forget HUL has 15-seconds of penalties to be added
Radio from RAI saying he doesn’t think his tyres will last to the end
MAS pits

27: GRO looking for a way past PAL
Radio from PAL complaining about front left
GRO dives inside PAL to steal P13

28: VET closing on VER – almost within DRS range
VER locks up and VET sails past to easily take P2

29: HAM f/lap 1:37.451

30/56: VER dives into the pits; more super-softs; rejoins P6 just behind BOT

31: SAI f/lap 1:37.398 having just pitted for new tyres

32: Radio from HAM saying his tyres are going away
VER f/lap 1:36.722
BOT locks up as VER closes on him

33: HAM f/lap 1:36.711
RAI complains his front left tyre
VER dives inside BOT, takes P5

34: RIC pits from P3
SAI passes ALO; ALO fights back but runs wide; SAI takes P7

35: VET pits, which makes HAM’s life much easier

36: ALO retires
Radio from HAM suggesting he pits for tyres
BOT pits; softs; rejoins ahead of PER

37: HAM pits; smoke from the front brakes; softs; rejoins still ahead of RAI

38: VET f/lap 1:36.393
GRO lining up HUL
BOT f/lap 1:36.177

39: Radio from RAI asking “so when are we going to finish?” (this stint)
GRO makes a nice move on HUL to take P12

40/56: HAM, RAI, VET, VER, RIC, SAI, BOT, PER, OCO, MAG, MAS, GRO, HUL, PAL, ERI; retirements: ALO, KVY, VAN, GIO, STR
RAI pits; rejoins P6 behind SAI
MAG takes P9 from OCO

41: VET f/lap 1:35.423 – he’s slowly closing the gap to HAM

42: RAI fairly easily past SAI for P5
HAM laps MAS in P11

45: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, SAI, BOT, PER, MAG, MAS, OCO, GRO, HUL, PAL, ERI
HAM f/lap 1:35.378
BOT past SAI for P6

46: HAM’s lead just over 8 seconds
OCO side-by-side with MAS as they fight over P10; MAS stays ahead

47: OCO out-brakes MAS and takes P10
RIC has closed up on teammate VER
Radio for BOT – his engineer accidentally calls him Nico 🙂

48: Rado for RAI telling him Red Bulls are lapping but struggling with their tyres

49: MAG makes a late dive past PER to take P8

50/56: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, BOT, SAI, MAG, PER, OCO, GRO, MAS, HUL*, PAL, ERI; retirements: ALO, KVY, VAN, GRO, STR
*Don’t forget HUL has 15-seconds of penalties to be added
MAS drops to P14 – did he pit?

51: PER pits; rejoins still P9
Radio from VER complaining about GRO not moving aside, but VER is quite a way back from the Haas

52: Radio from VER again; told he needs to be within 1-sec to be blue flagged

53: RIC still just a bit too far back to be able to attack VER

54: RIC using DRS to get right under VER’s wing

55/56: Radio from VER – sounds flustered by GRO, although there have been blue flags
RIC looking for a gap to pass his teammate

56 = final lap: VER checking his mirrors as RIC looks for a place to pass

HAM takes the chequered flag
VET P2, which means he & HAM are on equal points in the championship
RIC still pushing hard but VER takes P3

Provisional result: HAM, VET, VER, RIC, RAI, BOT, SAI, MAG, PER, OCO; GRO, HUL*, PAL, MAS, ERI
DNF: ALO, KVY, VAN, GRO, STR
*Don’t forget HUL has 15-seconds of penalties to be added

It’s great to see that the drivers really enjoy the racing – there’s respect between them as well as competition.

Next weekend is Bahrain, which means I’ll get to watch live 🙂

4 thoughts on “Grand Prix of China – Race

  1. “Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez have been reprimanded for being late for the start of the national anthem ahead of the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix.” [autosport]

  2. Formula 1 drivers have been told that anyone copying Sebastian Vettel’s strategy of starting outside his grid box in the Chinese Grand Prix is likely to get a penalty. [autosport]

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