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Fernando Alonso wins Chinese Grand Prix; thrilling battle for podium place
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Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Apr 2013   |  9:43 am GMT  |  550 comments

Fernando Alonso won the Chinese Grand Prix for Ferrari, the third different race winning driver and car combination in three races this season, with Kimi Raikkonen finishing second, where he started and Lewis Hamilton holding off a hard charging Sebastian Vettel for third.

It was Alonso’s 31st career victory, equalling Nigel Mansell for fourth in the all-time winners list and his second in China. Vettel retained the drivers’ championship lead, three points ahead of Raikkonen, Alonso and Hamilton, but it tightened up; just 12 points separate the top four drivers, all World Champions.

Ferrari closed to within five points of Red Bull in the constructor’s championship thanks to a double points finish, while Red Bull only had Vettel in the points.

Raikkonen had to recover from a poor start, where he dropped from second to fourth and with damage to the front of his car after hitting the back of Sergio Perez’ McLaren early on. Afterwards he said that without that damage he would have been a lot faster. Given that he finished close behind Alonso it begs the question, but Alonso said that he had been able to measure his pace and control the field.

“It was fantastic race for us,” said Alonso.”The tyre degradation was better than expected. After the retirement in Malaysia we had some pressure today. You always push but it is true that we had some pace in our pocket. We had more potential but maybe we can show that in Bahrain next week.”

It was a race of strategy, with leading cars doing different strategies to deal with the performance difference between the soft and medium compound Pirelli tyres. It all came together at the end as the cars who started on the medium tyres were forced to pit just before the end for the short-life soft tyres. It led to a thrilling climax as Vettel chased down Hamilton for the final podium place.

Vettel, Button , Hulkenberg, Perez, Gutierrez, Di Resta, Bottas and Vergne all started on the medium tyre.

Mark Webber started from the pit lane on soft tyres, his strategy to pit on lap 1 and then run the whole race on medium tyres

At the start Hamilton got away well from pole, with Raikkonen dropping from second to fourth, swallowed up by the Ferraris of Alonso and Massa. Rosberg and Grosjean battled for fifth, while Vettel dropped back to ninth.

Hamilton was in trouble with the tyres quite quickly; the Ferraris passed him on lap five and Hamilton pitted a lap later, with Rosberg also coming in the same lap. Amazingly Mercedes turned them both around with Rosberg having a similar pit stop time to Hamilton in 3.3 seconds.

Alonso stopped on lap 7, retaining his lead over Hamilton, Massa lost out by pitting a lap later, coming out behind both of them and behind Webber. The Brazilian was able to pass him, in the laps that followed however.

Raikkonen managed to stay ahead of Webber after his pit stop and tucked in behind Hamilton.

On lap 13 Hulkenberg led the Grand Prix, with Vettel in second place, losing time behind the Sauber. Alonso was in control of the race at this point, the leading car of the ones which had started on soft tyres and with the medium tyred Vettel only 3 seconds ahead. In the phase after his first stop and before Vettel’s Alonso took nine seconds out of Vettel’s lead over him.

On lap 15 Hulkenberg and Vettel both pitted and Red Bull turned their man around more quickly, gaining the place.

Button now led the race for McLaren, looking like he was trying to do the race in two stops, with Alonso in second place ahead of Hamilton.

Raikkonen hit the back of Perez, “What the hell is he doing?” asked Raikkonen. Perez had been fairly robust in his racing all day. Meanwhile Webber collided with Vergne, damaging the front wing and later his right rear wheel fell off at the hairpin.

Stewards later hit him with a three place grid penalty for the next race in Bahrain for causing a collision. They also hit Esteban Gutierrez with a five place penalty for clashing with Adrian Sutil at the start.

Alonso had a 12 second lead over Vettel at this stage of the race, but Vettel cut into it slowly. Alonso pitted on lap 24 and lost a second as Button came down the pit lane. This meant that Vettel closed more on him.

Button’s stop on lap 24 meant he could make it through the race on two stops, but he was believed to have used DRS in a yellow flag zone, which stewards said they would investigate after the race.

Vettel led the race on lap 27 from Alonso, then the two stoppers Hulkenberg and Button, with Hamilton in fifth and Raikkonen sixth.

Vettel was told by his team not to lose time fighting Alonso who was on fresher tyres. He passed him on the inside on lap 29, on tyres that were much fresher. Lap times were more important to Red Bull and both teams were focussed on the end of the race. Both men had one more stop to make.

Hamilton passed Button on lap 29 for fourth place, on fresher tyres, as the various strategies played out. Hamilton, Button and Raikkonen were all together in an enthralling race.

Vettel made his second stop on lap 32 and immediately passed Massa as he came out of the pits, not losing any time behind the Ferrari.

On lap 34 Alonso had a 24 second lead over Vettel, with both men needing to stop again, Alonso for medium tyres, Vettel for softs. Raikkonen pitted on lap 35 for the final time with 22 laps to do on the medium tyres, trying to undercut Hamilton. Mercedes did not react, leaving Hamilton out for two more laps.

Hulkenberg and Massa pitted together on lap 37, but Hulkenberg lost the place to the Ferrari as the Sauber didn’t come off the pit lane speed limiter. Hamilton pitted a lap later and lost the place to Raikkonen.

Alonso pitted for the final time on lap 42, a slow stop in 4 seconds, which handed the lead back to Vettel, who still had to stop again with 14 laps to the end.

Alonso repassed Vettel a lap later, using the DRS and the advantage of fresher tyres. With the race under control he set a new fastest lap of the race on lap 47 and was told not to push by his engineer, “I’m not pushing” said Alonso.

Button pitted on lap 50 for new softs, passing Massa for sixth place on the out lap. Vettel pitted on lap 51, rejoining in fourth, 12 seconds behind Hamilton. He had nothing to lose from behind and was able to push flat out to the end for four laps.

In the closing stages it got very close as Vettel closed at three seconds per lap on Hamilton, who was tucked up behind Raikkonen.

Hamilton’s tyres were suffering on the final lap. It was a final lap showdown, with Vettel and Hamilton dicing to the flag, a couple of small mistakes by Vettel as the pair navigated a back marker Caterham gave Hamilton breathing space.

Button finished in fifth with Massa in sixth and Ricciardo coming in an excellent seventh, where he started the race.

After all the complaints before the race about the Pirelli soft tyres degrading too quickly, it ended up creating a fascinating and entertaining Grand Prix, with the same three drivers who started at the front of the grid ending up on the podium, albeit in reverse, with Alonso moving from third to first and Hamilton the opposite.

CHINESE GRAND PRIX, Shanghai, 56 laps
1. Alonso Ferrari 1h36:26.945
2. Raikkonen Lotus + 10.100s
3. Hamilton Mercedes + 12.300s
4. Vettel Red Bull + 12.500s
5. Button McLaren + 35.200s
6. Massa Ferrari + 40.800s
7. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 42.600s
8. Di Resta Force India + 51.000s
9. Grosjean Lotus + 53.400s
10. Hulkenberg Sauber + 56.500s
11. Perez McLaren + 1m03.800s
12. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1m12.600s
13. Maldonado Williams + 1m33.800s
14. Bottas Williams + 1m35.400s
15. Bianchi Marussia + 1 lap
16. Pic Caterham + 1 lap
17. Chilton Marussia + 1 lap
18. van der Garde Caterham + 1 lap

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1

Yet another anti-climax. Was more interesting than quali. Was good to see the different strategies. But still, not a lot of good racing until right at the end.

Hats off to Marussia and Caterham tho! Amazing to keep pace with Williams in the dry, finishing really close to them. And not getting lapped until the last 5 laps for Bianchi and Pic.

If one of them scores a point this season before Williams it would be incredible, and it is possible. Obviously scoring a point anyway would be good

2

As I said before the season Redbull didn't have the fastet car no one would believe but its pretty clear now just as I said before the season Mercedes have the fastest car over 1 lap but Ferrari have a best car for the race and Lotus will be there abouts, Redbull needs to install that cheat active suspension as soon as possible, they're 0.4sec on average off the pace.

3

My conclusion from the race is that we've come full circle. As recently as three or four years ago, people moaned about how races were essentially decided by strategy and that there was no overtaking.

Now the combination of fast-degrading tyres and a double DRS zone led to a race where again the key aspect of strategy. As soon as one guy on newer tyres caught a guy on older ones, they would sail straight past them - either in the DRS zone or even elsewhere. This made overtaking inevitable and essentially meaningless; thus the only interesting point (and indeed differentiating factor) was whether drivers went "Soft-Medium-Medium-Medium", "Medium-Medium-Medium-Soft" or on a two-stopper.

Tbf Vettel's pursuit of Hamilton livened up the end of the race and it wasn't a bad race overall. But it is funny how the solution to 'no overtaking, only strategy is important' has, on this race's evidence, become 'overtaking as soon as one car caught another on fresher tyres and sometimes DRS, hence only strategy is important!'

4

Two words: short memory

5

It was only a few weeks ago, on another topic on this site that someone mentioned about Renault engined cars making way for their "team-mates"

Was it only me that noticed on the last 2 laps, Caterham holding up Lewis and him calling for blue flags, then when the Renault engined Red Bull had caught up, they both passed the Caterham easily?

6

Good point. It seemed to be though that Lewis, having caught the Caterham, then dropped back a little bit and wasn't swarming all over it. So it led me to think that maybe his tyres were reaching the cliff. That said it's also true that the Caterham did let them both through when Vettel caught him, so it does appear that he didn't make it as easy as he could have done for Lewis. More generally, I guess we'll have to keep a close eye out for on-track collusion between Renault-engined teams to see if the evidence stacks up.

8

And the award for the best tyre preserving driver goes to.....

So glad I decided not to pay SKY for F1 this year.

9

I definitely don't ser tis as an anti-climax. It was à LOT overtaking, strategies that made RAI overtake HAM and VET racing in to the end.

If you want a complete "who's fastest" THAT is boooooring. Because then you could just put the car in quali mode and add 56 laps. The combination of driving fast, managing car and tyres, making correct pit strategy, that's racing.

Hats off to ALO, he was the driver of the day, but the fight for 2-3-4 was incredibly exciting.

10

Anti-climax??? Not from my perspective, 'course I'm not focussed on Marussia, Caterham and Williams as you seem to be.

11

Nope, I watched the race, and by doing that I saw the battle at the front. There was absolutely zero tv time for the battles further back so I kept checking the times.

If anything I proved that I'm not focused on any particular part of the grid by looking at the back of the grid when so many others just look at the top 10 battle.

OK, it was exciting watching Vettel after the last pit stop. But in the end it didn't amount to anything

12
Bring Back Murray

I don't know what to say here. I'm an F1 purest at heart. I'd like to see full downforce, tyres that don't go off after 5 laps. The lap records being broken every year. The old style track being put back at Hokkenhiem.

But I have to say I rather enjoyed watching that race!

13

You may be a purest- but you are daft if you seriously believe cars can be allowed to be faster every year. These are cars that have to go around bends on varying types of track.

Maybe you should be watching drag cars.

14

It was precisely because of the lap records being broken every year in the 1980s that chicanes began springing up everywhere to slow them down (well before Imola 1994). Be careful what you wish for.

15

I grew up on f1 in the late eighties. I loved it as a petrol head but when I think back now we would lucky to see ten overtakes in the season by the time we arrived at Monaco. Sport is in the entertainment industry and I for one have loved the last couple of seasons. As per last season by mid season the teams will be on top of the tyres. I am hoping all the people wanting the tyres to be similar to the sticky Bridgestone era are not being serious as I think now I am older with less time to spare would not go out of my way to continue to watch a procession with overtakes in the pitlane.

16
vuelve kowalsky

you forgot; a driver getting hurt once in a while, so we feel it's still dangerous.

17
vuelve kowalsky

i am not trying to be sarcastic. It's my opinion.

18

I agree, I can't believe what Eddie Jordan spoke of after the race on BBC, that his was a fantastic race - no it wasn't. I am with Jacques Villenueve, artificial overtaking with no real racing and drivers fading off if they stay on the wrong tyre for half a lap too long. It's not about speed but minding tyres, apart from the first few laps and Vettels charge at the end this was a boring race with no real prospect at any stage of a classic race battle.

However Alonso drove a very good race as did Kimi. Sorry to be a complete moaner today but I think the BBC coverage is now second to Sky, Suzie Perry is out of her depth compared to Jake Humprey in my opinion.

19

Give her time. I thought the Sky coverage last year wasn't great, Simon thingee was wooden and out of his depth and Georgie was just annoying. Simon seems to have done his homework over the winter and is much better this year IMO. Not much to pick between the commentators though, I could take either of the main commentators and where MB is probably a bit more knowledgeable DC is more enthusiastic.

I remember back in 2009 when BBC started, the chat between the three guys was pretty cringeworthy but they soon gelled and for the last 2 - 3 years they were the best broadcasting team. Jake had a few detractors but you have to admit he is class, a true professional even if you don't like his style.

20

Suzi Perry is not a good fit for F1. She might master the nerves after a few more races, but that still doesn't address her profound lack of current and historic (cultural) F1 knowledge. This isn't an attack on her personally - I just don't think that she's professionally competent for the role she's been assigned, and it's making the coverage second-best in all cases compared to SKY.

21

Yes, Eddie Jordans comments after the race were total nonsense. Rather than any kind of classic - this was a mediocre race with some excitement in the first 10 laps but then the top guy won by 10sec and the others went @ 90% and only passed by way of DRS. Classic? Worst race of the year infact, and totally average.

22

Sorry to be a complete moaner today but I think the BBC coverage is now second to Sky, Suzie Perry is out of her depth compared to Jake Humphrey

Isn't it funny how one mans meat is another's poison. I haven't watched BBC F1 coverage since Sky got the gig. Sky are far better in my opinion. I remember when Jake started on the F1, I thought he was dreadful (although he grew on me). And I can't stand Eddie Jordan. He usually contradicts himself in the same sentence,and as for those ridiculous shirts, well I don't know what to say 🙂

23

Agreed - so far for me the BBC pre / post race coverage isn't great. Jake H was a great presenter and knitted the whole thing together. Best example of this is that SKY have basically completely copied BBC coverage with a few tweaks (SKY PAD etc). I'm sure Suzi will get better though.

For me just now - Pre/ post race on SKY.

Actual race coverage from BBC when available live. I love DC - funny and knowledgable. Always enjoyed Ben Edwards since his Eurosport F1 + Champ Car days.

24

If you think Eddie's shirts are ridiculous, you watch ice hockey in Canada; Don Cherry far outstrips EJ in bad fashion!

25

Out of her depth? Give her a break - Suzie was presenting her first live race and showed she had done her homework. At least she has motorsport in her blood - unlike Jake who jumped ship as soon as another offer came along. Suzie showed more knowledge than Jake ever did.

I too would have liked Lee to get the gig but Suzie is certainly not as bas some anchors we have seen.

26

I like EJ. He put's everybody else to shame in my opinion 😉

Although, I can see why people don't; he does have extremely strong and controversial views.

27
vuelve kowalsky

it's because thosse sentences are so long. It seems, he is never going to stop talking.

28

++++ it is all about "ARTIFICIAL OVERTAKING"!!!!

29

Well when Ferrari say that the sport needs to move away from Aerodynamic to Mechanical grip everyone screams out that they can't live with Newey. But then this is what Aerodynamics has led us to, car's that can't follow each other, hence the intervention of artificial measures DRS & degrading tyres to make races worth watching. Farcical.

30

Yeah, DC must have heard them talking about something relative to have done it. ALO seemed embarrassed once DC asked him

31

Well, I thought Coulthard should have felt embarrassed. It was silly to ask what he did and Alonso handled it very well.

32

@Truth or Lies - I agreed with Villeneuve as well today - whilst there was a lot going on, very little of it was exciting. But, the quality of the races in general is much better, and if we get the odd duff race amongst the neo-classics then so be it. Can't believe the stewards can't make a single in-race decision however; if the FIA doesn't clarify why this is, people might start to think they're incompetent...

About the BBC coverage - in fairness to Suzie it is her first live race; it took Jake a good season to find his feet.

James, any chance of you getting to do a podium interview?

33

Coulthard was snubbed by Alonso on the podium... it was painful and silly (Coulthard's question) to watch. He almost looked frightened to ask questions.

34

@Methusalem | No he was not! He was fine 😛

35

Coulthard was very boring!

36

No, but I have been asked to do the official press conference moderation

37

Give her a bit more time to warm up. She'll get better with more experience.

38

Give her time, Jake got better with time and so will Suzie. She's clearly nervous as this was her 1st live show, but those nerves will go after 4-5 races and she'll be in the groove.

39

Peter C | True, she doesn't think of the next question in time, but that should come with time and experience. Yes - she had experience with MotoGP, but that is slightly different from F1, and it was quite some time ago now.

It is quite annoying how she gazes at DC, but hopefully that too will stop shortly.

40

She's had plenty of experience with bikes, but Suzie Perry just isn't good enough to give the information needed, she appears "starstruck" when talking to drivers & team managers & can't think quickly enough for her next question to ask.

It doesn't help that she gazes at Coulthard when she is speaking, then says "David?" when she can't think of another subject to comment on.

A shame that Lee McKenzie didn't get the gig, as she is cool under pressure & knowledgeable about F1.

I didn't expect to miss Jake Humphrey, but he is very professional.

41

I have to say I was incredibly annoyed that BBC's online content was not working. Kept coming and going. And when the onboard video came back it was showing Webber's onboard, even though he'd retired 15 laps earlier!!

42

What WERE the stewards doing during this race? Why was everything being investigated after the race, it's a ridiculous way to run things. The fans want to know the order when the cars cross the line. What I don't want to see is races being decided in an office after the race.

Congratulations to ALO, drove a great race. Massa sadly returned to his poorer form today, hope that changes next week.

Great job by HAM, although sadly that car just isn't going to win races no matter how many times it starts on the pole, at least not in its current evolution.

It does not bode well for qualy that VET finished so strongly...........

Did you see the carpet of marbles? Have a quick look at China 2010 to see the difference, it can't be right. The tyres actually destroy chances of real overtaking by creating such a narrow racing line while all the time promoting fake overtaking. It's truly tragic for a sport to be so artificial.

43

Pirelli/KERS/DRS haters always complain, and yet always tune into the next race.

The race was stellar. Every single form of motorsport bar drag racing has tire management (just ask Kubica in WRC2 this past weekend).

Drivers asking when to fight? You mean they have to think a little? God forbid the sport is anything more than balls and brawn.

(Also, the only real difference between now and those glory day 80s is that now we have the opportunity to be able to hear the radio communications telling drivers to cool it for a few laps - I guess ignorance was bliss).

44

Problem is, if they made tyres that lasted 30 laps or more, then we'd arrive back at the 'procession' scenario with cars strung out according to their performance advantage and with 10, 20 or 30 seconds between most of the cars by the last lap. Remember how it used to be really boring at times back in the 1990s and 00s when, say, MSC used to win by more than 45 seconds?

I still wish they'd find ways to reduce the downforce so that cars would slide around more. It's the only way to make driving ability, rather than car performance, be the deciding factor.

45

I agree. No more wings etc. Personally I've never driven a car with wings. Wings and such have nothing to do with real cars.

Also, Adrian should be forced to work for Airbus or Boeing.

46

This is a technical problem with the FIA's trackside telemetry provider, which they changed for this season. It hasn't worked properly at all this season, so there's been no in car warning lights for the flags and the DRS can only be turned on but not deactivated. I've also read that there was green flag light halfway down the main straight during the yellow flag peroid for Webber's wheel loss, adding to the confusion.

For once the stewards can't be blamed here as it was someone elses cock up.

47

Add to your frustration about the steward's decisions, still haven't heard anything about the drivers using DRS in the yellow flag zone.

48

I am sick and tired of people complaining about the tyres.

Below is a link of Detroit 1986 in which Mansell wears his tyres out after 5 laps. Funnily enough, he had the fastest car (Williams Honda) but that car was harder on its tyres than Prost's McLaren or Senna's lotus.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn6wnhb2Vpg

Does this situation seem vaguely familiar to anybody?

I could provide dozens of other links to other races where this has happened.

The people complaining know nothing about the history of Formula 1. As somebody else said, if you don't like it go and watch the bridgestone processions with Schumacher leading from start to finish.

49

Although the current tyres is a sham, I have to say the reason we have so many fake races is because alanysts (computers/number cruschers) have created an optimum race plan when is same for most of the teams - yes, there is only one optimum race plan, as evidenced by JamesAllenOnF1.com's pre-race analysis.

Bring back re-fuelling and let the teams choose the size of tank they want to build.

50

Very well stated 🙂

51

People also have short memories, in 2010 the racing was non-existent. Everyone just finished roughly in the order they started after making the one mandatory pit stop on the same lap as everyone else for tyres that could comfortably last the whole race if needed.

52

That situation isn't comparable, Mansell had a problem with his brake pads that caused excessive tyre wear.

53

Quade, re the Sch/Hak video. Of course that was an epic move but that wasn't a depiction of week in week out racing. You might have to wait 5 years for a move like that, and meanwhile you'd have a lot of processions, with drivers doing 90% of overtaking during the two or 3 pitstop phases, with drivers conserving their car until they had clear air when the guy ahead pitted. They'd be often be little on track action. It may at times be trivial (today was not good overtaking I agree) but at least we get on track action these days.

Also, interestingly, in the commentary Brundle talks of someones tyres going off and them having no rear grip! Tyre management and car conservation have always feature in the sport.

I don't think today's race was particularly great but compared to one of Schumacher's 2002/4 romps, this trumps it easily.

And yes, it was the case that it was the aero that resulted in processions back then but you need degrading tyres to offset the negative aero affect to some extent, since this makes the cars more mechanically dependent.

I understand the views of the passionate tyre haters but you need to think of the big picture. What gets me is that if the sport went back to the tyres you all suggest (Bridgestone days), do people think criticisms would die out?

And this was one event. Not ever race can be a classic. Sometimes it seems like opinions of the complete state of the sport are only based on the last event: a bad race and F1 is in crisis (like Bahrain 2010), then there's a classic event 2 or 3 races later, and everything is grand!

In recent years we have had more top notch races in a season than we would have 10 years ago say. There would be many races back then where there would be very little to say about them. (That's not to say there weren't great too of course.)

I'm not saying things are perfect now but on balance the sport is better than 10 years ago. There's also more competition too, which is great. Some years the fight for every win would only ever be between a Ferrari and a McLaren, meaning only 2 or 3 people had a real chance for the win.

54

Bridgestone managed to put together tyres from 2007-10 that didn't fall apart after a few laps, and those seasons were'nt exactly dull. I'd take any sole Bridgestone year over 2011-12 in a heartbeat.

55

Too true, these tyre whiners are tiresome. We saw last year that teams took a few races but got on top of tyres, the racing at the start of last year was exciting...once the tyres were understood we saw more processional races. I think the most whiny fans are the ones in general who've clearly not watched F1 for more than 12 years. Get over yourselves. This applies to Red Bull Racing who apparently can't buy their way out of tyre trouble probably until Barcelona, so they just whine. If they were such racing purists they'd back Montezemolo who has been condemning aero dependence in F1 for years... But then again what would Newey do?

I will say DRS was a bit much today but they can't always get things right. It was a pretty good race overall today. Oh the cohort that have been proclaiming Alonso's fall to Massa must be so happy with his amazing performance....

56

Quade, the video presented shows Senna overtaking Mansell after 5 laps because his tyres have gone off.

You need tyres that wear out in order to compensate for the overwhelming aero of the last 20 years years. If you have indestructable tyres then you just get a procession, as we experienced from the early 90's onwards.

A final word from Kimi Raikkonen "this is what we have and you'd better like it or do something else."

57

Now, this is real, red-blooded, hang Lucifer style racing from the good old days:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eE3gCy5zvM

Sirs, thats how it should be.

59

I liken it loosely to politics. The public as whole want say the Left in power. After a while they grow unhappy and long for the Right again. Then the Left, etc, etc. Grass is always greener. Of course politics is more complex than that but you get the picture.

Nothing is ever perfect and things need tweaking but it's important not to overreact and swing something the other way. There was a reason such changes were made to begin with.

My main complaint today was less tyre based (we didn't see a ridiculous number of stops for example) but the over powered DRS. This sanitised many of the overtakes, which should have been more challenging and exciting given the varying strategies we had at play. No one stood a chance of holding off another car through driver skill and clever positioning.

With no DRS today, I think it could have been a classic. They'd have been a much tougher battle between Hamilton, the Ferraris and Raikkonen in the early part (and possibly throughout). And there'd have been a lot more tension seeing if this gang could have made it through the traffic after stop 1 when it was so critical for them to do so.

60

"There has NEVER been processional racing due to tyres." should read:

Until this artificial F1 era, there has NEVER been processional racing due to tyres.

61

What Bridgestone formations are you referring to, cos I can't recall any?

The only processional racing from the past was due to aero, not tyres. There has NEVER been processional racing due to tyres.

Even the video presented as evidence does not show processional racing; rather, it shows drivers racing with different sets of tyres from different manufacturers on a tight street circuit. In the good old days, teams had a choice to go with the manufacturer/tyre that suited their car/pockets best, and thats how it should be.

There is no evidence of any tyre manufacture rolling dice to create a lottery and dumbing down the sport to the current ridiculous levels. It was all clean, pure racing with plenty of overtaking (even in the tunnel).

62
vuelve kowalsky

Please, NOT, the dark ages again?!!! I rather watch this decaf f1, a hundred times better on the tely, because live,those v10's were way much more impresive than the current v8's.

And now we have to deal with another menace. The v6's!!!!

Daddy i am scared...

65

Agreed.

Artificial racing it is. Can anyone think of an overtake today (except at the start) that wasn't made simple by DRS or a tyre mismatch?

Bring back refuelling, genuine racing between pit stops to the full potential of the car and driver, with qualifying that actually means something.

66

Alonso overtook Hamilton before opening his DRS...

67

It would only take a couple of races before everyone started moaning that all real overtaking is done in the pitlane and that drivers don't overtake each other because they can just wait for the pitstops.

68

If we brought all those things back today, the result would not have changed. Alonso had the fastest car and he won. Fact is the vast majority of people who are complaining here would have no issues if a certain British Mercedes driver had won today.

69

Been saying this for a long time. I preferred the strategy decisions with refueling as well! Very interesting

70

I got this link from Gulf News, its interesting reading. Its an article from a communications expert who cannot understand what Pirelli hope to gain from the bad press they are getting as a tyre company thats making poor tyres:

http://gulfnews.com/business/automotives/f1-is-letting-too-many-rules-get-in-the-way-1.1168361

71

Wayne - yes, you have said the same thing 200 times!

72

Yes, interesting read. A tyre manufacturer can't win really. If they make lovely grippy, durable tyres, then invariably they get no press (all the technical talk will be back on aero and engines - the latter especially next year thankfully). Therefore there's little marketing going on for them, so what do they gain out of it?

The ironic thing is that while the general public would see their tyres as poor, it's probably a lot more difficult for a company to design tyres which fit specific target parameters such as wear rate and ultimate life for cars they don't fully know how will perform beforehand (over the winter), than it is to make bullet proof ones that could last, 1, 2, 10(!) race distances as it doesn't matter!

The best solution for a tyre company is for there to be other manufactures involved, providing a tyre war. I did like the Bridgestone/Michelin period. But that became too expensive and the FIA felt car speeds were becoming too great for the tracks, which resulted in them constantly cutting back aero each year and engine revs, and other technical restrictions, etc. Also, it was a little unfair as Ferrari abused their position with the Bridgestones optimised for them.

Regarding the need to 'unshackle' F1s rules. It's a utopian idea unfortunately. The runaway costs would just see F1 implode with only 4 or 5 teams able to survive and compete. And that would probably result in 3 or 4 car teams, leading to more of a single spec formula than now!

Like all things it's a balance. Pirelli probably do really need to adjust their rubber to give a longer duration of peak performance, but if we end up with 1 stop races (with that stop only required due to the option/prime rule if the tyres are bullet proof), a lot of the races risk being a lot less interesting. And as long as the rules are the same for everyone, it's still a fair sport in my book.

Come 6-8 races time, the teams will have the tyres working well. It's a repeat of last year.

73

I've said the same thing a hundred times, it's the worst marketing campaign since Lincoln campaigned for theatre safety.

74

Yeah, don't know what the stewards were doing. The last laps tension was palpable, but still felt artificial. Even when Hamilton passed Button around the outside of the Turn 1-3 complex, it did not feel like a hard won pass ... not like Hamilton's pass on Button down the pit straight in 2011, or his pass on Vettel in the last laps of that same race.

What was Gutierrez doing? What was Perez doing? I've mentioned Perez shudder moves before. Today his moves were clearly illegal, yet it wasn't even investigated (I'm thinking specifically of his move with Alonso behind, down the back straight).

Kimi now on 20 straight finishes in the points, just 4 off the all-time record. Behind him with active streaks are Massa (13) and Vettel (10). After that, no one's higher than 4.

I agree with you that the Mercedes as-is will not win. If it was Bridgestones instead of Pirellis, I think they'd be up there. I think they have the speed in the car, but they just can't unleash it without killin' the tires.

Must remember that Ferrari brought a lot of upgrades to this GP. Fair play to them and Alonso, the upgrades worked (most at least), and the result flowed from that.

First stats update for the season. Had to go to the 3-letter abbreviations for the drivers, from two, all because of Jules Bianchi! Here goes ...

Stats to date

=============

Wins: VET1,RAI1,ALO1

Podiums: VET2,RAI2,ALO2,HAM2,WEB1

Top5s: VET3,HAM3,RAI2,ALO2,MAS2,WEB1,ROS1,BUT1

Pts Finishes:

VET3,RAI3,HAM3,MAS3,GRO3,ALO2,WEB2,BUT2,

DIR2,HUL2,ROS1,RIC1,SUT1,PER1,VER1

Longest podium streaks (2+): VET2,HAM2

Current podium streak: HAM2,ALO1,RAI1

Longest T5 streaks (2+): VET3,HAM3,MAS2

Current T5 streak: VET3,HAM3,RAI1,ALO1,BUT1

Longest pts finish streaks (2+):

VET3,RAI3,HAM3,MAS3,GRO3,WEB2,HUL2

Current pts finish streak:

VET3,RAI3,HAM3,MAS3,GRO3,HUL2,ALO1,BUT1,DIR1,RIC1

Retirements (not classified):

SUT2,ROS2,MAL2,WEB1,GUT1,DIR1,ALO1,RIC1

T8-DWC Race Finishes:

VET3,RAI3,HAM3,MAS3,ALO2,WEB2,BUT2,ROS1

75

+1 about the stewards. Ridiculous decision not to penalise Perez as well. And if they don't want drivers to activate DRS under yellow flags, then disable it...

76

They can't disable it as their new telemetry system isn't functioning properly. That also means no yellow, red or blue flag indicators on the steering wheel.

77

There are two DRS zones, and I'm not sure if they can disable it for one zone only...

Anyway, that is the driver's responsability anyway. They need to pay attention ahead and at the flags being waved, just like us on public road need to be aware of different speed restrictions and abide them.

78

Very well said. It was sad to often hear the drivers asking if they should 'fight' or not. The best drivers in the dorks should be 'fighting'. I understand tyre management will always be 'an element' of being a great racing driver. The sad thing about things as they are now is that it is being made the most important element. We shouldn't go back to the Bridgestone days with bespoke tyres for certain teams but.......what we have now is barring racing. Although I FA was imperious today. KR also drive a very good race. Hard off to DR.

79

Yes, I thought that was truly sad, hearing a top F1 driver asking his team if he should fight or not. No discredit to BUT who has to make the best of the situation like they all do. Whoever came up with this tyre idea needs sacking, it's all shiny marketing gloss over sport. It's American wrestling on 4 wheels. Now we even have the stewards making 90% of their decisions in the 'backrroms'. What a mess, and I genuinely love F1 and have done for 20 years.

80

I agree, it's ugly as well when you look at it! The track actually looks dirty.

Vettel got off line to overtake Pic on the last lap and out-braked himself, could the marbles have caused it? I don't know, but it's possible

81

Great race for Alonso! Very dominant!

Its sad how Vettel was able to put on a charge toward the end from not running in Q3, it the silly tyres. They have now officially devalued quali. Its annoying.

82

But when qualy determines the race, the latter is dreadfully boring. I'll still take this formula over 2005, and even 2006.

83

Maybe get rid of all the artificial rubbish and make them do a real gear change - yes that means up and down with a manual gearbox - and a real start and then we would see who can actually drive a car.

84

It's called technological progress

85

Dan,

Certainly true - but more technology doesn't mean they drive the car any better, just more driver aids that make it less of a drivers responsibility and more of a computer programmers. Both tyre designer and computer programmer/Tech funnily enough aren't actually driving the car.

86

With you on that!

87

Well the guys who qualified up front still finished top so I don't think it devalued qualifying. If Button and Vettel had dominated the race then yes.

There must be a way of resolving this so that we can still have mixed starting race strategies but everyone wants to do the very best they can in qualifying.

My suggestion would be to give everyone extra options for qualifying, so that everyone in the top 10 qualifies on these 'quali only tyres' but before the whole qualifying event begins, each car has to privately choose and inform the FIA which tyre they will start the race on (if they make it into the top 10).

Doing this will ensure we have a proper top 10 shoot out. It could also allow some mixed strategies where those on the front rows may decide to start on primes and aim to stay in clear air for as long as possible while someone who's say 3rd might go for the options to attack early on. Additionally it would resolve the slight unfairness that P11 can start on new tyres but P10 usually can't.

In reality you may just get everyone starting on options still, or whatever the best race tyre for that event is but you mostly get the top 10 starting on the same tyre anyway.

88

To be clear, I mean that the top 10 would then start on a fresh set of their nominated starting tyre and disgard the quali ones. Yes it would cost more but it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the sport as a whole. And anyway, all those wets and inters get binned after each race from what I understand.

89
Bring Back Murray

I really hope he can get his third WDC this year. He sure deserves it.

And I think on today's evidence he has a great chance. He put on a master-class drive today.

Stormed through the pack early after dropping back after his first pit stop then kept up excellent pace right the way through the race.

90

He already has 3 titles.

--Heres to a fourth!!

91

I don't agree about the tyres. I found it exhilarating. Great end of the race. First the battle between HAM and RAI. Then VET catching HAM.

Agree though that Alonso was outstanding. Not a foot wrong making it look so easy.

92
Tornillo Amarillo

It was EASY for Kimi in Australia.

It was EASY to Vettel in Malaysia.

It was EASY to Alonso in Chine.

It will EASY to ... in Bahrain.

It is EASY to understand why if drivers cannot attack for tire reasons. Now it is a strategic game.

But we discuss it again and again because is funny to discuss (and free of charge)!

It is what it is, still if you don't like it.

Move on.

Don't worry, be happy, things aren't so bad.

93

Okay Tornillo. You made me smile. I'll try and have a good day. Cheers.

94

Funny how RBR are 1,2 last race and then fall apart this race.

Alonso earned it big time. And so after just races it is a 3 way race for WDC by the looks of it.

95

But they were not straight out battles of speed vs speed and skill vs skill, they were ALL about the tyres......

96

Good point @hero-was-senna

Moaners will be moaners

97

Look back at the mid 80's, those races were all about fuel management.

Find a copy of Imola 1985, this is what wikipedia says about the race..

"The 1985 San Marino Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Imola on May 5, 1985. It was the third round of the 1985 Formula One season. It was the fifth San Marino Grand Prix.

Limited fuel allowances played a big part in the race, as a succession of drivers ran out in the last few laps. Alain Prost (McLaren MP4/2B) took the chequered flag before stopping on the slowing-down lap and being found to be 2 kg underweight in post-race scrutineering, meaning disqualification. Elio de Angelis (Lotus 97T) was initially disqualified for the same reason but was reinstated.[1] Williams driver Nigel Mansell noted that "it wasn't really racing". Stefan Johansson (Ferrari 156/85) drove from 15th to 1st before running out of fuel."

Pay close attention to what Mansell, IMO one of the best racers ever in F1 history said.

Prost was nicknamed the professor because he used his intelligence rather than his speed to win races.

I'm sorry, everyone can complain about F1 tyres, but there has always been some limiting factor throughout the years.

98

Managing tyres takes skill... and it's not just about the car as the difference in performance between team mates show. I think you guys need to start enjoying the positives of this season instead of digging too deep into the negatives.

99

Alonso had speed, skill and good tyre management. It's not his fault that Hamilton couldn't keep up. If the tyres were great, the result doesn't change. Alonso was winning no matter what. The F138 is just wicked fast. Everyone is crying about the DRS zones, would you rather see Alonso wait for Hamilton to pit and then have him pass him through the pit stop rotations like Schumacher used to do to everyone for so many years? It is the formula that all teams agreed to and had a year to prepare for. Mercedes need to improve their car plain and simple.

100

+1 on the tyre issue, but if Raikkonnen hadn't been let down by his race engineer's start settings and been hit by Perez, Alonso would have finished where he started-behind Kimi.

101
Unbiased observer

What race were you watching? Alonso had this race in the bag and Kimi wasn't going to catch him even if his wing was never damaged. Ferrari's race pace was incredible. Kimi will get another chance in Bahrain for the win, but he was out of this one after the start today.

102

Seriously doubt it. Alonso had pace to spare.

103

+1 about the tyres. Fascinating race, and I was on the edge of my sofa as Vettel ran wide with 3 corners to go!

104

@James Clayton

Its not just about sailing past. What would it have said about F1 if a guy that didn't bother to qualify had ended up on the podium? If Pirelli don't make drastic changes to the tyres, then the sham in China will become the norm and all drivers would simply sit out quali, cos they get a set of better wearing, fresh tyres as reward. Someone like Ricciardo should have come fourth instead.

105

How was it fascinating? If Vettel had caught Hamilton he would have sailed straight past? What's exciting about that?

They used to say "Catching is one thing, passing is something different altogether". I can't think of any catchphrase that would sum up today's joke of a race.

106

Lewis has again demonstrated his immense speed by dragging the car where it didn't belong. Nico was nowhere in the sister car until he retired though. He's two DNF's this season so far, you've got to feel for the guy.

107

Rosberg has really had some Webber style misfortune so far.

108

it s the Mercedes # 7 effect!! remember Schumacher?

109

Rosberg's #9.

110
Alexander Supertramp

Strong week-end from Lewis. He could inheritate 2nd if Kimi gets a penalty..

111

No further action for breach of DRS. There were a host of mitigating factors, including a green light shown on the straight and a one-minute delay on issuing the message to disable-DRS.

112
Alexander Supertramp

Correct decision I recall.

113

What would the penalty be for, may I ask? Was Kimi one of the cars that used DRS under yellows? I thin that will be given a pass this time out, b/c it's to do with the McLaren system on each car not being able to automatically disable its use.

114

Who really wants to see that?

115

Mark Blunndell won't be going home anytime soon.

116
VP of Common Sense

Yes and no. Pretty alarming that Hamilton couldn't overtake a car that had a damaged nose come and was missing half of the wing elements on the right side. Considering Massa's and Red Bull's troubles, Hamilton should have made the podium and he did so. He did his job, nothing more or less.

117

Strange that Kimi did not opt to have the nose replaced, so it could not have damaged his aero that much.

Shouldn't really talk up the effect on the podium if you have chosen not to get it replaced.

118

Changing a nosecone adds about 10 seconds onto the length of a pit stop, which at the point in the race they were looking at would more likely have dropped him into traffic. It's a question of weighing up the risks.

119

He wanted it replaced but the team choose not to.

120

Yes, its alarming that the Merc turned out to be so slow on race day. Lewis did an extraordinary job of placing it on pole.

121
VP of Common Sense

Alex, the fact is that Hamilton hasn't been close to Alonso's pace in 3 GP. Alonso would have beaten him for a podium in Malaysia if he wouldn't have hit Vettel in the rain. The gap is there and Mercedes have much work to do.

122
Alexander Supertramp

They are not realy'so slow', Mercedes is there or thereabouts (or to quote Brawn: "we're not quite there yet"). But the gap is not huge.

123

Raikkonen's car was clearly not too badly affected otherwise he would have fallen back considerably. Hamilton's car simply did not have the race pace, and had more rapid tyre wear than Ferrari and Lotus. The Ferrari's are also clearly fast starting cars. That said Alonso drove an exceeding good race as we've come to expect from him. - First class!

124

Please see my comment about on this.

125
Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

+1 Richard, magic carpet: if it was so bad why did he not change it?

126

It was clearly underestimated because you have a driver capable of driving any car in any condition better than any driver driving a car in pristine condition. He is also the most understated driver ever. He was set on fire in 2008 in the Ferrari and said it was "not too bad". You have to understand some people are very understated /modest and others are big mouthed show boaters.It works against him with people who know no better.

127

No I've looked again at Raikkenon's front wing, and yes there's damage, but not that severe, and frankly had the wing performance been reduced significantly no amount of skill would compensate for the car not working reasonably well. Had Raikkenon changed his wing he would most likely have given second place back to Hamilton.

128

I think you are badly underestimating how much of Raikkonnen's performance is due to his skill and how much is due the car.

The damage to the Lotus wing and nose was severe.

129

We all know the the lotus is faster, plus from what i gather in the interviews, the damage on the lotus wasn't all that great. It resulted in kimi having over steer, which Lewis had also due to his tire collecting too much rubber.

So all in all, it was a very skilled drive, it's just that his competition has got better car performance.

130

@magic carpet

Kimi's had a decent amount of damage on his car. He must have definitely had understeer. However, a freakishly few damages have beneficial tendencies. I do remember a case where a damaged car was disqualified after the race because the damage actually assisted the car.

A damage like what Kimi had should've resulted in lot more performance loss than what Kimi had. So, while I believe he suffered understeer, he may also have benefitted from the big hole there by limiting his performance loss.

131

If Kimi says "the damage wasn't all that great" it translates as "the damage was so great every other driver would have come in for a new nose"! You seem to have a problem with the Kimglish language. Losing downforce forward caused under-steer, not over-steer, and that is exactly what Kimi reported, so you got that 180 degrees confused too.

Ross Braun stated "Hamilton's front WING collected rubber, not his front TYRES and which reduced downforce, causing understeer. When the rubber jarred loose, clearing the front element, his understeer went away.

If some rubber bits collected by the Mercedes front wing destroyed Lewis' downforce, imagine what the absence of Kimi's entire right side forplane element, a hole you could put both hands through and a flapping door the size of a license plate on the nose of his car did for his handling!

132

That "damaged car" you're alarmed Hamilton wasn't able to pass was driven by the best driver in F1.

133
Heinzman (Fan of: ALO)

If his wing was so 'badly damaged' he would have changed the nose and copped the net extra 9 seconds on top of his race time; he chose not to change the nose, so it must not have been worth more than a 9 second loss over the race in Kimi's mind. He did not get within 9 seconds of ALO, therefore he could not challenge him.

134

Nick H!

Get a grip, homey.... No one's ever going to run at the front of a Grand Prix with half a front wing on a circuit like Shanghai's. I'd advise you to check out a video of the race and Kimi's car. He didn't even risk the pit stop to change it and even stated (on the car's pit radio) that the handling was manageable.

Mr. Ryan,

So, is it possible to consistently steer through long constant radius bends like Shanghai's circuit with snap oversteer, while maintain race podium pace for dozens of laps. And what about the wear on your rear Pirellis? No, I disagree?

Understeer is preferable in a best of the worst case scenario like Kimi had at his disposal. Räikkönen could not have driven with such pace dealing with twitchy oversteer!

135

'No real wing damage' Could you see his wing?! Did you actually watch the race!? Not by the sound of it.. Half his wing structure was ripped off, and he had a lot of understeer. He would have had a chance to catch Alonso if it wasn't for the idiot Perez

136

[MISTER]: Collective opinion is still an expression of opinion as opposed to fact. Sebastian Vettel won International Racing Driver of the Year Award at the end-of-season Autosport Awards last year, so evidently the voters in that felt he was the best driver. It's all very subjective at the end of the day.

Wheels: Understeer on a circuit which kills front tyres as a matter of course is certainly not an improvement - the understeer results in more heat through the front tyre owing to the increased sliding and friction, causing more degradation (which is exactly what happened). Oversteer isn't great either, but out of the two Raikkonen would probably have preferred the latter as then he would at least maintain front grip, which is critical in the longer corners. But for his damage, I believe he could easily have challenged for the win, so all things considered that was a supreme effort by Kimi.

137

@[MISTER] Facts that are based purely on opinion.

138

Magic Carpet!

Not, quite, right my man....

Kimi suffered no real wing damage, only a smash at the very tip of his car's nose, that minimally affected his car's handling, giving him some under-steer.... (a lot better that over-steer!)

The Mercedes chassis/suspension is, obviously, still really tough on tires and just hasn't arrived, yet, in terms of real race winning pace. Otherwise, Lewis drove a highly intelligent race and put the car, once again, on the podium, where it, truly, doesn't belong.

Just check out his teammate's early race position, during today's Grand Prix.

139

In your opinion!

The best driver, according to the votes of all team principals last year was Alonso. Also, Alonso was voted the best driver on this website for the past 3 years.

And that's not just my opinion, but facts! 🙂

140
Alexander Supertramp

Sebastian was one of the fastest guy last year in Brazil after his crash. You can't be sure that Kimi lost a lot of performance today. Alonso was impressive, yet Kimi was just 10 seconds behind him.

141

Alexander Supertramp, he was only fast because the rain masked how hopelessly down on power his car was (you can't go full speed in the rain) when it started to dry up mid race he started falling back. Plus he is one of the genuinely good drivers in the wet.

142

Räikkönen got more understeer after the accident, which in turn degraded the tyres faster, but obviously it handled well enough. Fortunately the Hamiltons Merc had worse degradation. The first 5-6 laps of the last stint looked like HAM would catch RAI but then his tyres dropped off more. However, with one more lap they both would have fallen prey to Vettel.

Anywho, the clash between PER and RAI was on lap 16. So he ran with the damaged front wing for 40 laps. So he would have had to have lost around 2 tenths per lap on average to affect the outcome of the race. Not impossible, he was driving very well.

143

Maybe Nico has inherited Schumachers car parts...

144

Well, last year it was Schumacher, this year Rosberg... Mercedes need to sort out their reliability if they want to be at the top.

145

Doobs - how is this years Mercedes better? Last year they won from pole to flag, this year they scraped home 3rd?

146

They'll get there, already the car is a lot better this season.

147

DRS overtakes are so dull... that is the only feeling I got from this pace... (we can't really call it a race anymore, as the drivers are so limited).

I watched an old school video - the cars give you a much better sense of speed, and the slipstreaming is breathtaking... what we see now is mind numbing.

148
Tornillo Amarillo

Two DRS zones maybe is too much?

149

Yes, agree

150

Yup. Two too much(many).

151

Dito on the DRS overtakes. It will be curious to see how the world reacts to the new F1 film Rush.

The film will show a different era, no DRS and more risk. Drivers in the modern era like Vettel have no fear partly because the cars and tracks are so much safer.

James

Will people look at the current F1 and thinks less of it? Or wish it is more like the 70s?

Will the film change the power dynamics in the Merc team as Niki Lauda will now gain respect from past and current F1 fans. I mean the film is basically about him and James Hunt.

Have Merc hired Niki on purpose as it will give the team great publicity?

The trailer looks fantastic.

Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0lkElrEtTs

152

Wasn't Niki Lauda instrumental in convincing Hamilton to join Merc?

153

/The film will show a different era, no DRS/

But lots of slipstreaming. Alonso's pass on Button was so 70's.

154

I suspect the impact of the film will be limited. The technical regulations and the main players have been set for longer than the consciousness of the film is likely to last.

To turn back the clock on the racing would be difficult. How to regulate that some cars should have good engines and crap chassis and others the other way around? What you had was a race-to-race variation of what car suited which track. In some cases the gaps between the cars were huge - three cars on the lead lap, for example. Drivers still had to conserve, which allowed drivers to out-brake each other much more easily.

A film will always be able to cherry pick the exciting bits of a season. In the same way as people look at Villeneuve and Arnoux in Dijon 79 as a highlight, ignoring that it was two laps out of an era.

On Lauda, I doubt the Daimler board is going to have its opinions changed by what the casual F1 watcher, who may not know much of Lauda's career or know he owned an airline or two, thinks.

155
Alexander Supertramp

You're kind of right. There was very little genuine racing. It's ALL about tyre management and managing lap times, so everybody is affraid to race because it could mean having to make another pitstop. We had a nice "show", but this is not what f1 should be about. We have got the show back, now it's time to enhance performance and bring back the fierce battles!

156

I agree, DRS was too strong. It could have been half the length, or perhaps not even required with such a long straight (and others could make overtakes in sector 2 so this track wasn't one whee overtaking was naturally impossible).

When DRS is set well it can add to the quality of a race I find, but not today.

I mean we had BOTH Ferraris flying past Hamilton in one corner for goodness sake!

157

Would you prefer no overtakes at all? Look at the passes Alonso made with DRS in reserve so he could use it afterwards to consolidate his overtaking.

Your apathy means you're definitely not a Raikkonnen fan!

158

I don't see what being a Raikkonnen fan has to do with wanting the return of pure racing. Its not a partisan thing.

I would rather have DRS than silly tyres, though. Because DRS is at least, within the drivers control and so, better than a 3rd party killing the sport by trying to roll dice with the tyres for the entertainment of football fans who would never appreciate or pay to watch or fund F1 anyway.

159

Agreed. It's nothing like as 'pure' as it used to be sadly. Some people find the artificially engineered situations thrilling but these are mostly magpies, oooooh look at the shiny shiny!

160
Spinodontosaurus

And then you get people making sensationalist comments about how F1 is bad nowadays.

China was a bit of a dud, but 1 dud out of 20 is preferable to 18/18 boring processions, which is exactly what we had before all this evil artificiality.

161

I think every era had their highlights. The key is to try to enjoy each one era and the variety.

I really enjoy fries (aka chips). I don't have it all the time with everything.

162

+1 people have short memories or never watched the sport before the last 5 years

163

I'd take the "boring processions" of the single supplier Bridgestone years from 2007-2010 over today's tyres and regulations in a heartbeat.

164

Its the new dumbed down formula with even dumber tyres.

165

Congrats to Ferrari and Fernando - as predicted earlier if the Ferrari for off the line better it would win- & it did.

A sensational drive by Kimi with a damaged car- very few drivers can bring a damaged car home with that sort of pace. Whilst I was dirty on Perez for pushing him wide - I understand the decision not to penalise cause Kimi was in his blind spot on the outside of the curve.

Great drive from Seb and I would find it hard to split Seb and Kimis drive today. Bring on Bahrain !

166

Absolutely flying start from the prancing horses - and incredible overtaking Hamilton!

Disagree about Perez. It wasn't his fist time that race that he had defended unfairly. It was bound to cause an accident and it did. He should have been penalised.

167

Yes, it was incredible watching Alonso and Massa press a button on their steering wheel and drive past Hamilton before the breaking zone.

168

The one thing I really get angry at Perez is he always jinks very quickly toward a car trying to pass Suzuka last year in Hamilton and even Melb this year with Kimi- who was miles faster . It a very dangerous practise which will wope 2 cars off one day .I might have to replay this a few times to be sure it was very difficult to judge and my first instinct was he "did not leave the space" regardless of whether he saw him or not.. He needed to leave that space/ inside or outside-but dc or brundle were suggesting he was not to expect a pass on the outside-when you have the best overtaker in the world near you- that's not a valid argument. The only question remains is how far along was Kimi going into the turn. Very marginal but still not the sign of a great driver which I I thought Sergio would be.

169

Both Perez and Jenson were guilty of weaving to defend their positions. Perez, especially should have been punished.

170

What an amazing finish. Thankfully Hamilton just held on. Not enough information on the investigations pending but would be a hammer blow to McLaren's already stuttering Start if Button punished as a 20 second penalty would put him down in 9th potentially.

171

Due to the confusion there will be no penalties for any of the yellow flag DRS usages. Moral of the story - if you're going to break the rules, do it along with half the field.

172

Hi James,

Would Kimi have won had he kept Alonso behind him?

173

I think Ferrari had some pace in hand, but it's hard to know.

if RAI had stayed P2 off the start line, would have been a hell of a race for the win.

174

I heard Lotus pitwall saying "Sorry about the start..." to Kimi. Was this a setting error?

175

Sounded like a clutch calibration issue. But even with a good start, he was on the dirty side and I think he would have been third even though it was a short run to the first corner.

Being on the dirty side gives too much penalty IMHO, not much debate about that though.

HAM, ALO and MAS started well from the clean side. RAI and ROS lost positions (not sure about GRO and BUT). Although RAI lost a lot more.

176

Also, had he not been pushed off by Perez.

177

Great race and result for Alonso and Ferrari.

I giggled on the podium after the national anthem when Kimi was picking up his trophy and champange to go away and realised there's still the interviews :))

I also found amuzing during the race when Ferrari told Alonso not to push after doing the fastest lap to that point..and he replied "I'm not pushing" :))

178

Gotta love Kimi- give me my drink & f/o. I think that's all he races for !

179

Great race!

More importantly is that the first time we've had the '05 to '08 champions on the podium in chronological order?

Sounds like something goferet would let us in on?

If only Button could've squeezed ahead of Vettel too.....

180

Great performance by Alonso! A happy day for Ferrari fans.

Funny they requested not to swear once Kimi made it to the podium.

Anybody thought the podium interview was a bit strange in the end with DC suddenly cutting off Hamilton and jumping to know what the other two were talking about.

181

I think he had overheard Kimi and Fernando criticising Pirelli, and was hoping to get them to say something controversial.

182

Yes, I thought that was a tad rude against Hamilton. DC normally has good manners. One off blip I guess.

Funny how neither Kimi and Alonso gave anything away about the conversation. Nice to see them getting on too 🙂

183

Alonso being cautious said he cant say what they talked about, while Kimi being Kimi at least revealed what they talked about.

But I don't think they will be highly critical about the tires (at least publicly) as the current situation seems to favor Ferrari and Lotus.

The steward decisions after the race were shocking. Webber got a penalty and Perez didn't. I thought he was weaving all over the place to defend his position.

184

DC is such a dog, making that not very subtle comment about ALO's gf and private celebrations!

185
Bring Back Murray

It must be difficult doing the interviews live like that just after the end of the race and knowing what to say. He probably just wanted to be spontaneous!

186

Fact error in text. Raikkönen finished 10s off Alonso. Still, the contact with Perez was early in the race so a couple of tenths better lap time would have made a big difference.

188

James, I would love to read a post about the penalty of starting on the dirty side of the grid. Maybe there is a case to be made for compensating by moving the gridboxes further up. Something for the FIA to look into.

189

Brilliant from Alonso. Great to see Vettel not making the podium. Had he done so after not running in Q3 would have made a joke out of F1

190

You can blame the tyres for that, not the drivers or teaqms tryong to maximize the tools they get.

191

Same deal for all.

192

So a bum deal is fine as long as everybody is getting it??

193

The cream always rises to the top whatever the condition, what with all this nonsense tyre talk going around.

4 worthy world champions in the top 4 places. And another world champion a place back. 3 winners from 3 races. Cracking season.

Wanted Raikkonen to win but would've been tough even without the Perez incident. The start did more damage than the coming together with Perez. Alonso deserved this one overall.

Looking forward to some more of the same in Bahrain. Bring it on!

194

Just to add, the races are awesome, its the quali they have to tweak a bit to make Saturdays worth attending for the spectators.

195

Can't help wishing the DRS had been a little weaker, and the soft tires a little stronger.

196

If DRS was weaker then the drivers would avoid pushing for an overtake altogether to prevent rapid tyre degradation. DRS today allowed them to overtake without destroying their tyres within 2 laps....

197

Fair point. I've always been strongly anti DRS but it might be all that stops these races producing absolutely no action at all.

198

Fantastic job by Ferrari and Alonso. Also a great performance by Kimi and Lewis. I really hope the 3 of them can keep this momentum for the rest of the season. Those 3 are worthy of the championship

🙂

199
Alexander Supertramp

4 champions within 12 points. I guess everybody who loves f1, no matter which driver you prefer, should hope that the season remains as close as it is now.

200

Gutierrez is very poor. Funding or no he should be replaced at Sauber. Bianchi continues to impress.

Exciting race at the front, nice to see the championship tighten up too. 8/10 from me.

201
Alexander Supertramp

Agree on Gutierrez, but it's still only his 3rd race. Let's evaluate his situation by mid-season. Bianchi has talent, but he is fighting guys who don't belong in F1, so they make him look good. Would love to see him drive a Sauber, Force India or Williams.

202

You will!

203

I think it was a bad decision to replace the experienced Kobayashi like that.

204

Finish was tense and a kind of interesting race but it lacked 'bite' for me because the DRS was WAY too strong. The was no question marks over overtakes as it was so easy.

There wasn't really any tension about whether I driver could get past a car to make his strategy work and vice versa whether a driver could defend to make theirs work.

It was more like a rally race with the cars as 'ghost cars' (with the exception of those that collided of course haha!) so most cars could pretty much drive the race they wanted.

Still, great performance from Alonso, Kimi, Lewis, and Vettel for making his options work.

On another note, notice how both Massa and Grosjean finished 44s behind their team mates but in the first stint they were both right behind Alonso and Raikkonen. For sure some of that is due to the 'number 1s' being simply better but I think their team's also compromised their 'number 2s' with strategy. Massa definitely lost a lot of time staying out.

Oh, and what a bad time for Webber to have a bad race. His error trying that overtake, leading to the other unfortunate events.

205

It is impossible to have the best strategy for both drivers. Massa could probably finish on a podium, but he did not show the same pace as Alonso. He was very-very good on softs, but I noticed that as soon they overtook Hamilton on lat 5, Alonso have built a gap of 2.5 over Massa in the next 2 laps.

I wish Massa would do much better in the race, I really like the guy.

206

Yeah you're right. Upon seeing the BBC re-run it was clearer that though Massa suffered a bit from pitting a lap later, he still could have competed at the sharp end. He simply didn't have the medium tyre pace as Alonso and fell away. Same story with the Lotus boys really.

207

In his interview, Massa said his pace on the MEdium tyre was poor all weekend. I read on Friday that Massa was one of the best on the Soft tyre. Maybe that is how he showed so strong pace in the first stint.

Being pitted second, undoubtedly put him on a back foot, but he was struggeling to pass Button and his times were not good at all when was in clean air.

The F138 is definitely right at the top if not the best, so that must be encouraging for both Fernando and Felipe.

208

Two questions:

(a) Could Ferrari have stacked their drivers in the pits a la Mercedes at the first stop? Massa was running second before the pit stop cycle and came out well down the field. They were closer than the two Merc drivers but surely the time lost would have been better than having Massa trundle round another lap while his tyres fell apart?

(b) Why didn't Mercedes react quicker to Raikkonen's undercut at the final pit stops? Kimi had three laps of undercut on fresher tyres, and Lewis and Kimi had similar pace from that point in the race to the finish, surely he would have finished second?

209

Autosport quotes Ross Brawn after the race saying Lewis couldn't stop on lap 35 and get to the end. If the quote was accurate it was definitive, not doubtful or caution.

210

I think the data bears that out

Look out for analysis in the strategy report tomorrow

211

Your answer to b) - this was the most impressive part of Ross Brawn. He was aware of the Vettel threat and was prepping Hamilton for it from a very long time - from around when he pitted for his last stop.

Ross probably knew that the medium on Lewis won't last long and he would be vulnerable to Kimi & Vettel if he switched early.

212

I think Massa in lap and out lap was very poor.

213

That would've meant doing another two laps on the final stint, and Lewis' tires were going off at the end of the race as it was.

Sometimes I think they would've been better even going another two laps over. Yes, they will lose time on those laps, but then when they come out, they have 4-laps-fresher tires, and they have clean air to run in, and plenty of time to close the gap. To me it would be better to take a bigger gap, knowing you're able to close it, and then with the difference in tire freshness, effect the pass more quickly. Lewis suffered b/c he couldn't get past, and running in the dirty air helped chew the tires.

214

But surely pitting him and getting him back out ahead of Kimi would have reduced tyre degradation?

215

Since Kimi already had the undercut, there is no way they could've pitted the next lap and got ahead of Kimi - as you know, the following car has the undercut advantage.

216

On your second point, look at the end of the race - Hamilton was running out of tyres in the last laps and was struggling to gain on Raikkonen even though Hamilton had the fresher tyres by three laps. Raikkonen pitted at a time when Hamilton couldn't realistically get to end. Another two laps by stopping on lap 35 rather than 37 as he did would have made Hamilton fourth behind Vettel.

217

Not sold on that one at all, especially losing third to Vettel. If he had track position and clear air over Kimi his tyre degradation would have have been less, because he wouldn't have had to follow in Kimi's dirty air and he wouldn't have had to push as hard to get on his gearbox.

218

Without using hindsight, to me it is clear that Mercedes didn't believe Lewis could get home effectively while doing 21 laps on those tyres. The first stint was 15 laps and Hamilton was the first to stop due to degradation. To come in a lap after Kimi would have made the second a 14 lap stint with less fuel than the first and clear air. So to expect to get home with a 21 lap stint would be very bold. Lotus clearly went quite early as with its tyre performance it could. Grosjean, running a more normal race stopped on lap 37.

If you stop too early your overall race time takes longer as you lose time on every lap after later stop occurs and the difference tends to get bigger with every lap too.

Add two seconds to Hamilton's race time and Vettel with his tyre advantage would have found away by on the last lap.

219

I don't think they could've.

The problem is that Massa was right in Alonso's gearbox. If he would've followed Alonso in the pits, he would've blocked RedBull's pit box exit and risked a penalty like 20sec.

Mercedes drivers had a 3-4 sec between them and that worked out beautiful.

220

Before the pit stop, Massa was exactly 2.5 sec behind Alonso.

221

Why were so many drivers investigated for use of DRS under the yellow flag?

222

I think it is silly. If the stewards don't want them to then they are able to disable the DRS.

223

Because according to their telemetry they were doing things legally. FIA needs to look at telemetry. However I think drivers can look at the flag and not only telemetry.

224

It's known that telemetry doesn't work well this year.

225

Will be interesting to see what the DRS-under-yellow review will bring... but in any case an exciting finish. Stoked for Ricciardo, he was closing on Massa for the last 10 laps and might have been able to put some pressue on him if he had a few more laps up the sleeve.

226

Actually he lost time by changing a nose unseen by TV. Without changing the nose he would of finished ahead of Massa . The stewards by the way have been very indecisive waiting to make decisions until race end.

227

I think it's clear now the top 4 today are the best drivers.

They make the difference to their teams.

Mereceds are fourth fastest team, but the fastest driver in my opinion.

228
Bring Back Murray

Yes its a lot ress random than last season isn't it. Despite the relative lottery of the tyre situation its the four world class drivers that are still managing to keep on coming through at the sharp end every race. For this reason I reckon this season is already better than the previous one.

229

James, In fairness Sergio Perez did not see Kimi and pushed him off the track onto the grass which is what prompted Kimi to slide into him to begin with And the comment " “What the hell is he doing?” From Raikkonen.

I find it amazing that Kimi did not completely loose control and crash out of the race let alone finish 2nd. Who was it that said " he drives with the luck of a drunk" or maybe he

has the Nordic gods on his side.. I prefer to believe he has fantastic skills.

230

IMO Perez did exactly the same move that Hamilton used on him at japan las year,

231

What a confusing motorsport event! I won't call it a race as there was very little real racing; just a strategy exercise dominated by varying performances of different tyres and too easy overtaking using DRS.

Let's get rid of the current tyre policy and have a single compound durable slick tyre that will last a whole race. The concept of tyres designed to wear out so quickly flies in the face of cost limiting policies.

I've never liked DRS and today it gave way too much advantage, and is a potentially flawed technology as so many drivers are under investigation for using it under yellow flags. I thought it was switched on and off at race control so it should have been impossible to use if it had been properly disabled upon the yellow flag.

Let's get back to real racing!

232
Alexander Supertramp

There is something wrong with the real time telemetry provided by the FIA so teams have to take care of the drs themselves. You're right when you say that there was very little genuine racing today though.

233

The single compound lasting a whole race idea never worked the last time it was tried, why would it be a good idea now?

234

Yes quite. Having the finishing order set at the end of lap 1 is not what I'd call "real racing".

235

It wasn't:-)

237

Anythings got to be better than what we have at the moment!

238

Well, although the race was slightly boring in some respects - I feel very satisfied by it, and for me Pirelli have been vindicated. The tyres certainly made the race a whole lot better!

It's a shame that Massa just went backwards after his first pit stop - I thought he was really in with a shout of the podium.

Dreadful driving from Perez all day to be honest - and Raikkonen certainly did something special in keeping it together and going on to take 2nd!!

Webber's accident was 100% his fault in my view, and it was ironic how he retired in the same place as yesterday in qualifying! He was doing well to come back from the pit lane until his accident.

But it was another perfect drive from Fernando Alonso, in a way making up for 3 weeks ago in Malaysia 😉

239

Would JEV have left room if it was VET rather then WEB?

240

Webber has received a three grid spot penalty for Bahrain...it's just gets worse

It will be interesting how incidents like this get treated for the remainder of the year

241

Webber has proven beyond doubt why he should not be backed for the championship bid. The better, more talented driver generally still survives and salvages points on a not-so-perfect day.

Webber made an unforced error that resulted in a pit-stop and from there things went down-hill. No coincidence that Vettel was coming up to overtake him...

When it comes to action on the track, Webber comes up mightly short - whatever the "talk" , when it comes to delivering he is short...

Marko is right , hate him as much as you will..

242

I would agree but Webber was informed that Vergne new he was there and appeared to leave to door open. Vergne and Webber are not in the same race and I think Webber was within his rights to make the move.

It was all academic anyway because he lost his wheel nut.

243

It was all academic anyway because he lost his wheel nut.

He lost his wheel nut after hitting JEV and pitting for a new nose & tyres, due to the accident.

He hit JEV because Seb was right behind him on fresh tyres and the pressure was too much.

244

I think you need to check your timings. I'm sure Raikkonen was more than 1.6 seconds behind Alonso. From the BBC website, Alonso's race time is 1:36:26.945 and Raikkonen's is 1:36:37.113. That's over 10 seconds... Even the official formula 1 site has the gap at 10.1 seconds...

245
Craig in Manila

Webber should just give it away.

First the car is under-fuelled in Quali.

Then Vergne in the sister-team cuts him up and sends him to the pits.

Then the team can't get all four tyres secured during the stop.

He's gotta be the unluckiest dude on the grid.

246

Even his barber hates him 🙂

247

LOL. I would say even the barber does not follow (his) orders.

249

LOL. I noticed that too.

250

Lol!!!!!!

251

I'd much rather he hang around and stick it to them in the coming events. Have to say about RBR though, when there is a controversy in the previous event they do very little to allay the conspiracy theorists!

252

Wouldn't that suggest that they have nothing to allay and events are really what they seem?

253

If it is what it seemed, then apart from the impressive pace that Mark showed on Friday and at some points during the race, his side of the garage ran an operation that only Andrea Moda could have been proud of...

Fuel bowser issue or no, they must have had some way to know there was a problem: 150mL is some way short of 1L, and given the sensors and telemetry on the cars, surely they had to know before the car coasted to a halt? Given the way that STR jump out of the way of an RBR in recent times, not only did Vergne take a slightly later than average turn-in but also told the stewards he had no idea Mark was there (Mark fell on his sword by admitting fault, but if it were Vettel it would be a severe career limiting move)? Whatever happened to the rear wheel in the race was also pretty odd given that it was not a quick pitstop!

I know that Horner has come out and said no conspiracy, but if he has any authority left in his position there should be a Geox in someone's posterior!

254
Grayzee (Australia)

Yep. Some days ya should just stay in bed............... 🙂

255

Followed by a 3 place grid penalty next race ( what a joke! )...

256

I think it is right that he should be penalised as he clearly tried to go into a gap that wasn't there!

257

Meanwhile, Webber is the unluckiest driver on the grid. Again.

He'd have more luck pitting car 13 under a ladder as a black cat runs past breaking his mirror.

258

hahaha!!

259

I think Mario Andrettis famous saying about Chris Amon would be appropriate for Webber...... "if he became an undertaker, people would stop dying".

Whilst it was his mistake on Vergne, surely Vergne knew it was coming. I mean Vergne almost moved off the track in Brazil last year for Vettel.

But being subject to two 'friendly fire' incidents in one weekend is more than anyone should get, even Lewis.

With such a competitive season, Webber will find it tough

260
Bring Back Murray

Wow where you do start with this one.

Best thing for me was watching Hamilton absolutely getting after Alonso, the both of them slicing through the back-markers after they'd both made their first pit stops.

Obviously Hamilton didn't have quite enough though over to match him over the race distance. Still another step is required by Mercedes.

Well I didn't agree with the way qualifying went yesterday but it sure seemed to make things rather interesting for the race.

Kimi's stong performance was also of note - keeping within 12 seconds on Alonso despite a damaged front wing.

Probably loads more detail in there - like it was a shame Hamilton came accross Button when he did near the end of the race. Looked like he was gradually building up to have a run at Kimi. He couldn't get the challenge going again afterwards, although at least held off Vettel. And when is the last time we've had someone going 3 seconds a lap faster than the rest near the end of the race?

Thoroughly enjoyed watching that race, although note concerns that have been highlighted above regarding the ease of passing of the DRS. But what is the alternative to DRS - a race which there are only about 5 passes over its entirity?

261

"But what is the alternative to DRS – a race which there are only about 5 passes over its entirity?"

There are plenty of alternatives to DRS.

An Indycar/A1GP style 'Push 2 Pass' button is perhaps the best alternative. Where drivers are allowed to use a limited number of times through a race & which can be used to both attack & defend.

That has always produced great racing & has never produced the sort of easy drive by highway passes DRs has.

Also consider that in the Pre-DRS era we didn't have the Pirelli tyres which as much as i dislike them at times (When there a bit too extreme like this weekend) produce far better racing than DRS ever will.

262

The race itself was a tyre bore for me but Kimi and Vettel drove the wheels off their cars. And Kimi gets it because his car was damaged and still overtook many and kept Hamilton behind.

Ferrari had a dominant car for this track and Mercedes is now starting to go backwards, like they always did after a handful of races.

Expect more Mercs breaking down or always finishing lower than they qualified. Honeymoon for the Hamilton fans is over.

263
Tornillo Amarillo

To Welps: Hamilton is keeping now two trophies at home, you don't!

264

And how is it different from Vettel in Australia?

265
Alexander Supertramp

Mercedes going backwards? So is Red Bull than? Seb went from pole/win in Sepang to p4 today. The top 4 teams are closely matched. 12.5 seconds separate the top 4, that's realy not that much. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I think you should take off your anti-Hamilton glasses.

266

+1

Try not to bite, Welps is just fishing for a reaction. Team superiority in F1 is always cyclical. RBR won't be the dominant team for ever, there has and always will be a changing of the guard. RBR came through from relative obscurity to be the front runners.

Why can't it be Mercedes turn in the next couple of seasons?

267

Alex, I've read your comments and it's clear to see you are very pro Hamilton. I think you are being way too sensitive to criticisms towards Mercedes. They won a pole but they went backwards in the race. There is a gap from Ferrari and Red Bull to Mercedes. Alonso could have beaten Raikkonen and Hamilton by far more than 10 seconds today, you are kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. There was no need to risk the equipment as the win was certain. There is also a gap from Lotus to Mercedes, though it hard to say how big it really is. Lewis couldn't pass a damaged Kimi, I doubt he'd have been able to keep touch with the Iceman if his car had been whole the entire race.

268

[mod]

Fact is, in the race Mercedes almost always lose positions to where they started. Just like the seasons before.

Vettel started 9th and ended 4th with the least favorable tyre strategy. Hamilton started 1st and ended 3rd thanks to a Caterham getting in the way of Vettel.

So how can you say RBR is going backwards in the race?

269

The Caterham got out of the way for Vettel right away, after holding Hamilton up through at least three corners. Where were the blue flags?

Can't say the Merc is behaving like it did in 2012. They have made the step-change that Brawn said they had. It's just that others have progressed as well, and maintain an advantage, at the moment.

270
Alexander Supertramp

Least favorable tyre strategy? That's highly debatable. Furthermore, I was not suggesting that RB are going backwards, I was just asking a rhetorical question to proof my point. Anyway, I was just sharing my view that the top teams are more matched than Welps was suggesting.

271

I wouldn't say Mercedes are going backwards. They have had a good car but not the fastest at each event. And they didn't start pole in the first two races.

272

I think we have the makings of a triple world championship for Alonso. Finally, Ferrari have given him a car he can win with. As for Vettel, hopefully, the honeymoon is over. Just as well. He's an embarrassment to the sport.

273

Vettel was driver of the day after Kimi though so there goes your negative wish.

Also, Alonso won with a clearly dominant car. Does this mean we should celebrate the designer?

274

I'm not sure we can say Alobso won because he has a dominant car. I think his performance was outstanding, check where Massa finished with a 'dominant' car.

275

Yes it does. Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton are now in a WDC fight with Pat Fry.

276

5 straight? The Newey/Vettel combo "only" managed 4 straight last year, and only won the first of those because a faster driver in a fast car had retired from the lead in the race.

277

You can say that if Alonso wins 5 straight races 15+ seconds ahead his closer rival in the track. I don´t think it will be the case. So nobody is fighting with Pat Fry at this point

278
Alexander Supertramp

I don't agree on Vettel being dotd behind Kimi. Seb should have taken 3rd, but he made a series of small mistakes on his final lap. The top 5 drivers were impressive, but this means that subtle details make the difference, and unlike the top 3, Vettel did not make the most out of his opportunities. Same goes for Kimi, he could have had a better start. Then again, I'm just sharing my opinion on this wonderful forum ;).

279

@Lol,

that Caterham had held up Hamilton for some significant distance, only letting him by when Renault advised them Vettel was there.

How about this for a conspiracy theory, should they check Petrov's data and comms from Abu Dhabi 2010, was Renault manipulating his race to prevent Alonso getting by? After Singapore 2008, it wouldn't be the first time they fixed races.

280

Besides Vettel couldn´t deal with Hulkenberg early in the race for several laps until both pitted and Sauber made a bad pit and that allowed Vettel to get ahead.

281

Only Vettel and Kimi were driving on the edge. The rest were cruising, relatively speaking.

And Vettel did not make mistakes, the Caterham forced Vettel off the racing line onto the marbles while his tyres were also going off.

282
Tornillo Amarillo

Kimi great, he recuperated, suffer damage but kept P2 and gets just shy in the WDC from Vettel. He is doing really well this year.

Vettel did good from P9 on the grid, but he failed to pass Hamilton, as you say a couple of little mistakes in the last lap. This fight was really good, I mean 2 laps of speed... Good for Hamilton there and his consistency can be interesting, specially if he can win soon (in Canada maybe).

So Red Bull have some problems, maybe this year could be Kimi versus Alonso.

Ricardo showed he can replace Webber, while Vergne comit suicide against Red Bull car nr 2, what you think?

283

Beat Lewis in the last corner?

Even if Vettel hadn't made his avoidable errors, I seriously doubt he would have been able to pass Lewis.

Does anyone recall what happened to Massa when he tried a similar move on Lewis in the last corner a couple of years back? At the most, they would both have crashed. Lewis gets super gritty when he can see the prize ahead.

284

It was a cracking race especially the last 10 laps watching Kimi and Lewis fighting 2nd and 3rd then joined by Seb in the last 5 laps.

I think a poor start has caused Kimi for the shot at the top spot. It was amazing to see his speed despite the damage to his car.

Well done Fernando for driving brilliantly, especially with the clever use of DRS.

I am not complaining about the tyres, they just made the race pretty exciting.

Bring it on, Bahrain!

285

Alonso was just simply too fast today. There was one run on which he had hundreds of laps on his tires and was almost matching Raikkonen and Hamilton, who were on fresh sets. Simply put, no one was going to beat him today. Big statement from him and Ferrari today.

I think Raikkonen had more pace than he was able to show. Losing places at the start and spending a lot of the race behind Hamilton really slowed him up. I wonder how much he would have been able to give to Alonso if he was in better track position in the early-middle stages of the race.

Mercedes seem like they have a quick car on new tires and light fuel. Hamilton was catching Raikkonen for many laps on the last run, but then faded at the end of it. They've got some work to do to match Lotus and Ferrari on long runs, but if Hamilton keeps putting the car in the top-2 rows, he could be in for a type of season like Alonso had last year for Ferrari: delivering consistent points finishes and taking advantage of days when the conditions suit the car.

286

"There was one run on which he had hundreds of laps on his tires and was almost matching Raikkonen and Hamilton, who were on fresh sets."

I think that was a lap before he did one of his pit stops (i think last one). Stella told him on radio that they were pitting at end of NEXT lap, hence he pushed 100% on that last lap to squeeze everything out of that set of tyres.

Of course, being 1st and having clean air on that stint also meant he had been able to take well care of that set.

287

It wasn't just one lap. It was the run that he did when he pitted several laps after Raikkonen and Hamilton. He was able to keep pace with them well. That is still impressive stuff from that a car was able to do that, even if it was in clean air.

288

Clear air in Front accounts for speed and tyre durability -remember Melbourne. Also Kimi was pulling very fast lap times even with the damage. It's already been noted that had he not had the accident he most likely could have challenged. After all we are talking 3/10 or less I you take into account the time lost in the incident with Perez. We will never know. But great race from Fernando no doubt !

289

Oh, I absolutely think Raikkonen would have challenged for the victory if not for the wing damage, the start, and getting stuck behind Hamilton for a lot of the race. The pace that he had even with the wing damage alone was frightening.

But the way the race unfolded, Alonso was too quick.

290

I now wonder if Vergne will drive alongside Vettel next year for his quick thinking in the race.

291

🙂 funny....

292

Good one 🙂

293

I really feel for Rosberg.like someone said it looks like he's inherited the Schumi side of the garage with unreliability.

Don't know what Merc have to do to fix it- but its undoing all the speed that Lewis has brought. Hope Nico is good for Bahrain cause he usually goes ok there and we need another Merc in the mix!

294

Goes ok there? Didn't they drop back in Bahrain last year, causing Rosberg to throw some very robust defensive moves on first Hamilton then Alonso?!

295

Yeah Im not a fan of that type of driving. But Nico can use a little more controlled aggression in his repertoire. I think they will be a little better this year.

296

Yeah, it went over the line in Bahrain. But with Rosberg he at least knows that if you make a defending move, you keep going in that direction, and don't dart this way 'n' that.

I hope they're better. They did ok in the heat of Malaysia, so we'll see.

297

James,

On German RTL, Niki Lauda told about Pirelli to supply tyres that last longer and have a wider temp.range from Barcelona onwards.

Does this mean Mercedes and RB won the tyre lobby against Ferrari an Renault?

298

Last time I looked he wasn't running F1

299

I'm sorry James, my English is not so good. I meant he seemed to know something about a different Pirelli tyre coming at Barcelona latest. A tyre that should suite the Merc as it is less critical.

300

Bernie said in the grid walk that Pirelli will supply an extra set of tires on friday to ensure more running.

301

But he sounded very sure of it. IMo Lauda knows something, others don't know yet. Wolff sais something like this some weeks before, that Pirelli are going to change the tyres. Maybe they know something

302

I think this is a mistranslation from the German. Pirelli will, I understand, assess the tyre situation - performance and appropriateness - after Barcelona.

303

I may like some rules and dislike others, but one thing that F1 should NEVER do is change rules mid-season. That's just interfering with the competition. They all knew what the score is, well before the new year, so I see no reason why those who did the better job should have their good work negated.

If they wanna tweak something as essential as tires, they can do it for 2014, but you can't change it mid-season where teams are designing their cars and future upgrades around the tires they have at the moment.

304

But there are some new tyre rules coming in from Barcelona aren't there?

305

Veeru: the allocation of tyres is specified in the regulations, so extra tyres means a change in the rules.

Turns out it's a bit less of a change than one might have assumed from Bernie's comments. It's one additional set of extra-hard tyres for Friday morning but they can only be used by a rookie 3rd driver. So most likely it will only be midfield and backmarker teams that will use them.

306

they are not rules. From Barcelona, they are going to get extra tires. that's all.

The tires will be the same... Niki doesn't have that much clout...

307

Great race by Kimi with a damaged car. I hope Lotus can keep up with the developments. Vettel should have pitted one lap earlier for softs, I think.

308

Yes, Vettel should have done that. But he (and many others) didn't expect he would have that big advantage when he actually pitted. In fact the commentators were making fun of Mercedes radio message when Hamilton was being told of gap between him and Vettel before Vettel had pitted. They thought Mercedes was being too overcautious.

309

Good to see that all three podium drivers were ones that had a 'crack' at Q3 yesterday.

Great 'bounceback' win for Alonso. Ferrari and Lotus with Kimi really are the true contenders this year.

Solid performance by Ricciardo which will not go un-noticed. But he needs to follow up with consistency.

With the teams slowly getting to understand tyres, it will be interesting to see how Mercs go, hopefully for Lewis not backwards.

Great podium.!!

310
Val from montreal

I was expecting a 2002-2004 Ferrari-esque domination by Red Bull this season , but sadly thanx to Pirelli it wont happen ... Ah well it will be that more of a heart-break when Vettel beats Alonso by 7 points ( or less ) at end of the season ...oh and Ross Brawn's sucking up to LH is pathetic to say the least !

311
Scuderia McLaren

[mod]

Congrats Ferrari and Fernando. Well deserved and controlled win. Shame Kimi lost a chunk of wing to Sergio. He is definitely the Driver of the Day for me all things considered. What a talent, considering it was a front limited circuit!!!I I think Hamilton was very lucky to get third as he was moving backwards from pole. Red Bull were a mess today. A very tasty championship is brewing.

312

The bigger joke is that some people want to believe your first paragraph is true and tell others about it...

Looking at Kimi's front wing from the TV screen, I think the damage to Kimi's wing was to the flow conditioning bits t