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Hamilton beats Vettel to win thrilling Chinese Grand Prix
Hamilton beats Vettel to win thrilling Chinese Grand Prix
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2011   |  11:02 am GMT  |  288 comments

Lewis Hamilton won the Chinese Grand Prix, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s stranglehold on F1 this season in a thrilling Grand Prix which featured the Holy Grail of a pass for the lead in closing stages of the race.

It was Hamilton’s first win since September last year and the fifteenth of his 74 race career.

And it wasn’t because of the DRS wing, the pass Hamilton pulled on Sebastian Vettel happened in Turn 7, one of the faster corners on the track, when Vettel least expected it and it came about because of differences of strategy.

Hamilton and Button go at it (McLaren)

Hamilton had learned from his problems in Sepang, saving a new set of soft tyres for the race and it played its part, his strategy planning began on Saturday.

Varying strategy and resulting overtakes was the story of the race and what made it such a thriller, as the new style racing really hit its stride. Drivers who went for three stops found that their tyres had life in them in the closing stages and they were able to make up places.

There were complaints after Malaysia that the DRS wing had made overtaking too easy, but here there were many passes which were not in the DRS zone, particularly from Hamilton and Webber, who recovered from 18th on the grid to finish on the podium, proving he is always at his best when chips are down. He might have beaten Vettel if he had not lost so much time in the first stint on hard tyres, where he actually lost a place to Sergio Perez.

KERS played its part in the overtakes, but this race was all about Pirelli tyres creating the spectacle.

Hamilton’s race wasn’t without its dramas. Before the start he had a drama on his car as the engine had flooded. The mechanics managed to get him onto the grid with less than a minute to spare before the pit lane closed. Hamilton was able to put it behind him and settle into the race as normal.

At the start Vettel got away slowly, his revs dropped and he bogged down, allowing Button and Hamilton to pass him. Vettel’s KERS worked fine, but he’d lost momentum. He managed to fight off Rosberg.

Behind them Massa again outperformed Alonso off the start line and got ahead, while the Force India cars again had strong starts, picking up places. Di Resta was 7th at the end of the first lap and Sutil 8th.

Di Resta reported some problems with the rear end of his car and a queue formed behind him.

The Mercedes drivers stopped earlier than their rivals, Rosberg came in on lap 14, indicating a three stop strategy. The leaders bunched up behind Button approaching their stops, Vettel passed Hamilton and then pitted, following Button in. At this point three stops was an option for Vettel. Button made a mistake, driving into the Red Bull pit box, losing around three seconds in the process. The team had expected him in the lap before, but he was a lap late.

So Vettel jumped Button and as they emerged, Vettel had gone from behind the McLarens to in front. But they were all behind Rosberg.

Also making great progress was Felipe Massa who passed Hamilton before the stops and then held fourth position ahead of him. Alonso missed out, being kept out a lap longer and rejoining seventh behind Michael Schumacher. He got separated from Massa at this point.

The pair had a great scrap during the second stint, Alonso finally getting past on lap 25. Schumacher pitted straight afterwards.

Button was the first of the front runners to make a second stop, followed by Rosberg and Hamilton. Vettel stayed out having committed to a two stop plan, which turned out to be the wrong choice. The Ferraris had also committed to two stops, which was a shame for Massa, who had good pace in this race and even passed the race winner at one point. Nevertheless he restored his reputation by finishing 14 seconds ahead of Alonso.

From those second stops onwards it was all about how the differing strategies would play out. Everyone is still learning about the new Pirelli tyres and how best to use them and today showed how finely balanced the decisions are.

There were so many highlights to the race and some sublime overtakes. Hamilton was faster than Button generally during this race and was forced to overtake his team mate on lap 36. Button gave him room, as Hamilton was in a determined mood.

Webber came through the field very rapidly, his team pitting him in order to give him some clear air to push in. Once the third stops were made it was clear that the three stop plan was starting to come into its own. Webber passed Alonso for sixth, then took Massa, Alonso and finally Button.

Meanwhile Hamilton closed on the leader Vettel, who made it as hard for him as he could, particularly in the DRS zone into Turn 14. But Hamilton was an irresistable force and he went past mid way through the following lap, as Vettel struggled for grip on his tyres which were seven laps older than Hamilton’s.

“The strategy we came up with into qualifying seemed to help,” said an emotional Hamilton. “Quite a few things came together; the pit stops, the car felt great. I tried to keep my tyres. The guys at the front had to do quite a bit of overtaking. I wasn’t worried, (about the problem before the start) it was important to stay as calm as possible.”

One final note; Heikki Kovalainen finished 16th for Lotus, ahead of Perez and Maldonado, marking the first time since the team arrived in F1 last season that one of the new teams has battled with established team cars. Trulli’s fastest race lap was only 3/10ths slower than Maldonado’s set in similar circumstances on new tyres in the closing stages.

Vote on what you thought of the race below.

Watch out for my deep dive into the race strategies and explanation of how the strategies contributed to this thrilling GP, coming up on Tuesday

CHINESE GRAND PRIX, Shanghai, 56 laps
1. Hamilton McLaren 1h36:58.226
2. Vettel Red Bull + 5.198
3. Webber Red Bull + 7.555
4. Button McLaren + 10.000
5. Rosberg Mercedes + 13.448
6. Massa Ferrari + 15.840
7. Alonso Ferrari + 30.622
8. Schumacher Mercedes + 31.206
9. Petrov Renault + 57.404
10. Kobayashi Sauber + 1:03.273
11. Di Resta Force India + 1:08.757
12. Heidfeld Renault + 1:12.739
13. Barrichello Williams + 1:30.189
14. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1:30.671
15. Sutil Force India + 1 lap
16. Kovalainen Lotus + 1 lap
17. Perez Sauber + 1 lap
18. Maldonado Williams + 1 lap
19. Trulli Lotus + 1 lap
20. D’Ambrosio Virgin + 2 laps
21. Glock Virgin + 2 laps
22. Karthikeyan HRT + 2 laps
23. Liuzzi HRT + 2 laps

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1.Mercedes cars are going way up the ladder.Way to go-Mercedes cars!!!

2.Nico did an amazing feat, put up a good fight.

3.Schumacher is back in the game

4.Nico and Schumi- cars are ready to roar, start now

5.Hats off to Webber started at 17 finished 3 waht a driver

6.Red-bull had a squinted stop strategy- which did not allow vettel to win


Webber made his time & passes on superior soft tyres. Lewis was the only one who did it the hard way round by going past Massa, Button, Nico & Vettel. This is how you win a race 😉 Button was on the same strategy as Lewis and yet he could only pass Nico after a very long delay that ultimately cost him the podium. If Button could get past Nico as quickly as Lewis did, he would have been in the hunt to hunt down Vettel too. So yep Webber did well but it was more tyre than skill whereas it was the opposite in Lewis's case 🙂


Hamilton also benefited from having better tires due to his 3-stopper allowing him to pass Massa and Vettel. Had he been on the same strategy as these two, he would not have won.


He was smart and learnt from his mistake from Malaysia. That's what a champion does.


[mod] Strategy, with the help of a dodgy qualifying session, is what fueled Webber's race today, giving him a superb run.


Well that was a race like we should have every week where is difficult to predict the winner at any given point during the race. Really don't know who I'd say was my driver of the day as I feel there were so many great performances for differing reasons. Hamilton just gets it on the basis of not only the amazing job to win but to do so after the drama pre-race. Webber put in a stunning shift, really showed off his aussie grit. Massa drove great but was let down but strategy today, Rosberg had a great weekend and we'll hopefully see more of the Mercedes up there.

What happened with Button and that pit stop? Good honest answer though, admitting he looked down and messed up. Can't believe the Red Bull mechanic saying he was attempting to cheat though - Button was always going to lose out in that. Bet management weren't impressed by that comment.

Where were Renault? I expected a much stronger performance from them today? Torro Rosso also had a bad weekend after signs of real progress. Great day for Lotus, beating Maldonado on pace (Perez had a drive through which clouds beating him). Trulli even put in a quicker fastest lap than Alonso!

Noticeable how much the on car footage seemed to show a lot of vibration in the cars, is that a result of the tyres degrading or does the Shanghai track have a poor surface?

Again, big pat on the back for Pirelli, another job well done. Lots of different tyre phases throughout the race, different strategies, people coming through the field, different cars leading and a great race is the result. Not an all time great race as some seem to be saying but still a superb race. Roll on the return to Europe and the start of upgrade season!


Anyone else notice how we are talking about the tyres making for a great race? How the difference between soft and hard compounds, when to use them and the wear rate have all added to the action?

We love that they degrade, and we love what they do. Pirelli were asked to supply this and they responded. They didn't play safe like Bridgestone. As a result, everyone is talking about the Pirellis, and they are getting a lot of publicity, good publicity, linking their name to exciting racing.

Those who said it would harm them, making tyres that fall apart after a few laps, seriously, if anyone believes road tyres would wear out at the rate of F1 tyres, they shouldn't be driving.

Well done Pirelli, for doing something Bridgestone had the capacity to do, but were too worried about image to implement. As it is, we are talking about Pirelli a lot more.


It will probably stay unpredictable, like this, for a while. Nobody yet knows what to expect of the tyres. Indeed, tyres that degrade rapidly are what it takes to make a race exciting. The performance differencial is too large to ignore, regardless of how good the rest of the package is.

It seems to me that teams did not adjust their strategies in mid-race, based on what their opposition is doing and 2-stoppers all stuck to their guns.

In light of all this, who needs KERS and DRS?


Great race I have been an avid enthusiast from the late 60s. I know some purists have their objections, I wonder why they think their opinion is any more valuable than anyone else's.

It's certainly much more entertaining than some of the bore fest's of the past. I have been lucky enough to see some GPs live and always tried to view from a position where I could also watch from a big screen in order to catch the limited action. Now it would be really exciting to be at the race track with this sort of action unfolding.

Fantastic drives from Hamilton and Webber (look out for the fireworks kicking of in RB). McLaren will not have the same problem as Jenson seems to have returned to party mode. Maybe if his girlfriend hadn't ''rocked up'' yesterday he may have been better rested for today. I think Specsavers may well be in touch with a little personal sponsorship proposal.


It appears that Alonso used the DRS in his battle with Schumacher while they were outside the DRS but it was never addressed by the stewards. And also Massa leaving the pits appeared to have crossed over the white line. But again that was never addressed. Do all 4 wheels have to be over the white line or are 2 enough for an infraction?

While the racing has improved to some extent this year it the consistency of the imposition of penalties is still lacking. For example, it seems that Vettel was weaving as to block Hamilton's pass at the end of the race, certainly far more than Hamilton moved on Alonso last week. Perhaps the FIA can next turn to ensuring greater consistency from race to race, as to what is and isn't allowable.


On Alonso's DRS activated out of the overtaking area


DRS can only be activated by the driver if previously enabled by race control.



Charlie Whiting: We have written the software to allow a driver to override the system if, for example, the proximity detection failed for any reason. This would only be permitted if the team had been given a specific instruction to do so from the race director. Heavy penalties would be imposed for unauthorised use.


Mmmm... so maybe I'm wrong? Anyway, as far as I know the only official source for regulations is the FIA site.

From the 2010 Formula One Technical Regulations:

"3.18 Driver adjustable bodywork

3.18.2 The adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed a

minimum of two laps after the race start or following a safety car period.

The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control electronics (see Article 8.2) that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled by the control electronics the first time the driver uses the brakes after he has activated the system.

The FIA may, after consulting all competitors, adjust the above time proximity in order to ensure the stated purpose of the adjustable bodywork is met."

Charlie says as well that this possibility to override the system could only work should it be given a prior instruction to the driver.

So I assume that a prior instruction was given to Fernando in order for him to activate the DRS.

Looks like the BBC says something about that:


Understood, but the thing I don't get it A) Why was it enabled out of place b) Why did he press the button to activate it there ? You'd get a bit tired if every time you were on a straight pressing a button for nothing to happen, in the hope that on one lap it might work ... if it activated itself .. thats scary


Ferraris system is understood to be linked to teh throttle. Rather than the driver pushing a button, when DRS is activated, and the driver is on the throttle, the flap will open. When on the brakes - as with all cars, the flap closes.

So the DRS zone was out of sync at that time, meaning it was still active when Alonso came out the corner, and put his foot on the throttle.


I must agree - we had same stewards as last race, i guessed the penalties were same. Also, it took awfully long to get Perez penalised... and that was for a first infraction??


All 4 wheels must b across the line so Massa was fine. I didn't think Vettel was weaving, it looked like he just let Hamilton through in the end, he said himself he wasn't gonna defend much.

As for Alonso's DRS I'm surprised there was no investigation. I read before the season that the FIA were gonna b v strict if it wasn't used properly! Although I think Barichello's was programmed for the wrong straight in Melbourne & nothing happened to him


I don't think It was working properly. Bit of a worry if it can malfunction like that


Yeah, it's quite a big worry. If Alonso didn't hit a button & it opened in the wrong place it seems dangerous. What if he was just coming out of a corner, he would have no idea that he's about to lose rear end grip. Could cause a big accident. The issue needs to b addressed.

Also about Button stopping in Red Bulls pits, is there any rule against that? Alonso got punished in 2007 for delaying Hamilton and that was his own pit garage! I know it was more obvious and Vettel wasn't delayed much if at all. But is there a rule?


James, I noticed the virgin cars were using drs as they were being lapped. I take it that drs is not only to overtake cars who are in front of you in the race but any car on track (lapped or otherwise)


Agreed. You don't want that happening on a high speed corner.


Crossing the white line with any part should be punished, and usually are. Not punishing Alonso, sets a wrong president,and should be addressed!


Alonso's flap did operate outside the permitted zone -- but I thought it was armed by race control and so surely it's not Alonso's fault it was triggered?

Indeed, anticipating a time when its use will be freed up, practising using it all the time seems like a good tactic on Alonso's part -- especially if it might accidentally operate! I think we might now see other drivers trying this.

Michael Hutchinson

There's a very good chance that for this weekend in china the activation switch for the DRS on the Ferrari was part of the accelerator pedal (i.e. triggers when Alonso has his boot fully in!), especially since the DRS zone was perfectly straight!


Two wheels would be enough, but the area where Massa crossed the line is regarded to be still part of the pit lane and not part of the race track so there was nothing illegal about it.

As for Alonso's DRS "use" between turns 14 and 15: that was a matter of two or three tenths (what we saw on the tv was a very slow slow-mo) and didn't give him any advantage so a penalty would have been rather harsh. I would very much like to know though how such a malfunction can actually happen.

Vettel weaving in front of Hamilton? When and where? I didn't notice that and from what the drivers said after the race none of them did either. Vettel was defending his position and he is very much allowed to. Consistency is fine with me but everyone should also be consistent in analysing different situations.

Rubinho's Keyfob

"I would very much like to know though how such a malfunction can actually happen."

The official response is that the "start time" of the DRS activation was offset (i.e., it was enabled too late so was therefore available beyond the usual end point). However, I thought that the end point of the activation was whenever the driver next pressed the brake pedal - it's not a time-limited thing - if that's the case (and Alonso had used it in the usual area already (* see below)) then that's a pretty basic software error on the part of the FIA's systems.

Whether he had used it or not, assuming that the DRS only activates if the driver requests it then that's some fairly quick thinking on Alonso's part to notice the DRS indicator between those corners and use it in a part of the track when he should be paying attention to anything _but_ that indicator.

If it turns out that the DRS deployed without the driver requesting it, then that's a serious safety issue.

(*) So what exactly is the rule here? There's a DRS "detection" point (when the 1.0s rule is applied) followed at some point by the "DRS activation zone" (a line after which the driver may press their DRS button which should open the wing until they next press their brake pedal). Does that mean that the driver may activate DRS _at any point_ in the next lap or is it only until they use the brake even if they haven't pressed the DRS button yet?

If the latter, I think it would be interesting if the rule were opened such that the driver may choose at what point over the course of the next lap the DRS could be used. Would that make it more "artificial" or actually add into the mix an additional "driver skill" in knowing when is the best time (for them) to apply it?


Vettel certainly weaved just as much as Hamilton did, i.e. not alot. All part of racing and with the rule changes this year it should be allowed as long as it isn't excessive.


Where when ? If you are talking about the start, then moving twice is allowing, if l8er, did he really move more than once per move ? I didn't spot it ? if I did I'm sure McLaren/Merc/Ferri would complain, they would all gain from it (it would put vet 6)


Alonso hasn't been penalized for using the DRS on a part of the track to overtake Schumi coz duh... He now drives the Red car.

As for Massa, yes he crossed the white line but that part of the pit lane isn't on the racing track so it was fine.

Do you remember Hammy in Brazil 2009, he too crossed the white line as he was emerging from the pits but since the majority of the pit exist is sheltered from the track = Didn't get a penalty


I read somewhere today - can't remember where, that Ferrari's DRS is controlled by the throttle. It was a problem with Race control that put it out of sync, so it opened later than it should. Alonso braked, the DRS closed, he then went on the throttle and it opened.

He therefore couldn't use the DRS at the start of the zone, lost it in the corner, and didn't get an advantage as he was accelerating.

It isn't because of the fact he was driving a red car - it was an error by race control. If they left the green light on at the end of the pit lane during a safety car period, and a driver went through it, could they disqualify him for it?

(Yes, I am aware that rule has changed - but it is the only comparison I can think of!)


Even BBC knows the reason - obviously it has nothing to do with Ferrari but with an error by Race Control, but I'm sure nobody will notice. At the end of the day, don't let reality ruin a good fanboy prejudice.

Still LOL.


Alonso didn't get a penalty as it was only open briefly going into a braking zone and thus gave him no advantage. It was clearly a fault on the wings part, it wasnt used to gain an advantage.


I'm pretty sure it's 4 wheels given that the rules are you are only considered to have cut a corner if you have all four off the inside of a corner, not just 1, 2 or 3.


Actually it's 2 wheels for the pit exit line. But Massa was fine - he cut a line (legitimatly) before the pit actually ended. Others did it too.



Massa's exit was similar to many others, hence the black tyre marks over that part of the pit exit.

Vettel weaving? I think you've got Hamilton tints on those specs, as you have RE: Alonso's DRS opening for a split second.

Let me guess you're a Lewis fan!


Vettel made 3 moves at the start. There weren't big, but it was still 3 moves. Way more blatant than Hamilton's where he received a penalty


Stewards have chosen not to look at the start, as everyone is trying to get off the line and get a position down to turn one. It would just be boring if a driver moved once to defend, then was out of position for the corner, braked, and let 15 cars through instead...


I agree about Vettel weaving in front of Hamilton. But its upto McLaren to complain to the FIA, who by themselves will not take it up.


There was no weaving. Of course, it is the FIA that investigate and enforce penalties, they do not need a complaint to do so.


A certain team does much better at escaping penalties and is also able to influence penalty decsions on other teams such as Hamilton's penalty last week.


Geez, there's another swipe at Ferrari - like that isn't getting boring beyond belief. This paranoia over the red team really astounds me and is so knee-jerk, for all the holier-than-thou nashing of teeth by Ferrari haters. Jesus, Ferrari aren't even a threat this year - leave those tired cliches the f*** alone! LOL


Drivers were allowed to cross the white line where Massa did as that wasn't part of the track. Alonso was actually disadvantaged by the DRS thing because it deployed later. It wasn't Ferrari's fault.


You should be happy that Hamilton won, and drove flawlessly in the process. Addtionally, McLaren out-strategised its rivals.

Incidentally, Ferrari did not influence the Hamilton penalty at Sepang. Race Director Whiting chose to investigate both incidents that were investigated after the race without any suggestions or pressure from any teams. A clerical error was blamed for the paper work. This information has been in the public domain for a few days now.

And explanation has been given for the Alonso-DRS incident.

If drivers are going to be penalised in instances where DRS works when it shouldn't, should they be given a time bonus for instances when it fails to deploy?


The biggest improvement this season has to be the fact that the races are entertaining until the last lap.


That's a huge improvement the, right? 🙂


Where's Jo 🙂


I was mourning Ferrai's start of the season :

-inability to qualify

-wrong strategy calls thanks to the new genius of strategy hired from RBR.

-loooooooooooooooooooong pit stops

-Alonso always caught sleeping when lights go off

P.S : James can you tell Stefano Dominicali that a Ferrari fan can understand that they're in big trouble with Wind Tunnel but can't work out how they can't improve their pit stops.

Would you please ask him to ditch that lights system during pit stops


Other teams have the lights system too Jo, e.g. Mercedes. They don't seem to have a problem with it.


I forgot the Unreliable DRS : it doesn't work or it works when it shouldn't


Vacation? In China perhaps.


So... If the BBC can spot alonso's DRS coming on.. Why can't the stewards? I'm a Ferrari fan through and through but the rules must be followed - a post race investigation?

Great race though. Well done Pirelli!


The BBC didn't spot the DRS coming on. It was a viewer/viewers that brought it to BBC's attention was it not?


I think one of the producers at BBC


Martin said during the race that it was one of BBC's producers (with eagle eye vision) that spotted it.


Thanks for the link; all is sort of clear now. I guess DRS needs some bedding in and it looks like no material gain for Alonso. Pragmatic stewards also take some getting used to!


I am a Ferrari fan also and I think that should be investigated, but not in a way that should penalise Alonso. Why? Because I suspect that was a malfunction rather then Alonso trying to cheat.

We all could see on the onboard cameras the DRS sign flashing when has been activated..and then getting green when the driver is using it. Must be a malfunction if his DRS was activated before the white line.

I don't know if the drivers get a similar light flashing like we do when the DRS is activated (and maybe James could help in this respect), but I think it was a malfunction, so that's why Alonso was not investigated or penalised.


Great win by Hamilton, great win my McLaren, shame Button couldn't stretch his tyres for a couple more laps and fend Webber off.

Will any team bother to use up 2 sets of tyres in Q3 anymore?

It was interesting the hear the Team Lotus' technical director Mike Gascoyne being interviewed after the race and being asked which of the estabglished teams they expected to be ahead of first as their car improves?

He replied, 'Regrettfully it looks like Williams'. What an earth has happened to that once great team. Williams together with Ferrari and McLaren were the big boys and now they're all but nothing. Williams have gone the same way as Tyrell and will never rise to the top again.


The Best drive from Lewis passing cars without using aids like DRS and tyres. Here is a guy making the difference!


Tyres are aids are they? I'm sure that had everyone opted to not use tyres, the race would have been just as thrilling, yeah? 😉

Honestly, for the second time now, you need to stop treating Hamilton as if he's in a class of his own.


LOL - and so agreed.


One of the best F1 races ever, if not the best for pure entertainment value. It had everything, blinding pace by Webber, thrilling overtaking, intriguing strategies. Just awesome. If there were any doubters about the new rules, I think they have been dispensed with.

Great stuff with the drive of the day going to Webber hands down.

Vettel might have the edge on him in qualifying, but Webber's race pace in the last two rounds has been consistently much faster than Vettel.

Congrats to Lewis for coming through for a great win to liven up the season.

Bring on Turkey!


Ditch the DRS, the tyres already make the racing far from precessional without the 'saccharin sweet' easy-mode overtaking we saw in KL.


Perhaps the symbol of the tiger on the back of Hamiton's new overall's and the change of colour to red in qualy did the trick. In Chinese culture red symbolises good fortune and joy and the dragon is also a symbol of strength and good luck".


I know there's a team also in red overalls that were not precisely on their best weekend here in China... 😉


hahaha, that is a good one mate!


I have to quote DC: THANK YOU PIRELLI!

I have not been that excited about a F1 race in years, and I am not even a Hamilton fan!


Totally agree and everyone interested enough in F1 racing to be on this forum should be buying Pirelli tyres when their current rubber wears out

Pirelli have been very brave and have taken a lot of flack - so us real F1 fans should support them and make it worth their risk!

La Viva soft Pirelli tyres!!!


Now I wonder what the supersofts at Monaco wil bring.....;)


Wondering that too! I know the wear rate is lower but qualy should be entertaining, it will be like sticking on a set of qualifiers but will only last a handful of laps come Sunday. Will we actually see overtaking at Monaco??? Can not wait


This just shows what Pirelli have done for us, and what Bridgestone deprived us of for so many years. By putting the fans first, it's ended up being a better brand marketing strategy anyway - everyone is talking about Pirelli and justifiably so.


Well the Pirells have certainly spiced up the racing. There was a lot happening in that race - especially in the last 20 mins. I'd say that race would have been pretty much what the design brief for Pirelli was aiming to deliver.


Driver of the day has to go to Webber ! What a brilliant drive that was, it's one thing passing people when you've got newer rubber or the car in front doesn't have KERS, but passing people when you don't have KERS and they do! Awesome drive from Mark.

Had RBR gone 3 stops with Seb I think he'd have won today, especially given how quick Mark was. Qudos to the McLaren strategy team (and Mercedes) for making the right call there.


I thought Vettel's defense towards the end was very impressive, especially out of the tight hairpin. All others drivers defending run wide onto the racing line whereas he kept it tight and purposelly was slow out of the corner to prevent Lewis getting a run on him although it was academic in the end.

However his weaving at the start was right on the limit, reminded me of schumys's old tactics on Ralf


I have to say that was one of the greatest races I have seen, in the dry, in my 14 years of watching F1.

So many good drives obviously by Hamilton who just seemed to be so dialed in to his McLaren, despite the overfilling of fuel in the car before the race! Webber was also on fire after his first pitstop. He just set an unbelievable pace. Funny slip in the press conference, after the race, when he was relieved about Vettel not scoring another win!

There were just so many exciting moments for so many drivers, Schumacher having some great scraps, but even more exciting for Mercedes was Rosberg leading for a number of laps. Shame that they couldn't carry on in the final stages.

Massa had a good showing. Alonso seemed to be the only big gun who wasn't having a great day, just very quiet in what was such an exciting race! Where did the Renaults go?

I enjoyed this race so much today. I hope we will have some more races like this throughout the season.


Why bother focusing heavily on achieving pole in qualy when it's all about one thing: preserving tyres!

I read many comments questioning Hamilton's strategy choice this weekend with tyre preservation more important than pushing for pole during qualy with an extra run.


A decade ago, qualifying was the highlight of the weekend for many people. Qualifying can still have an influence on the outcome (eg. Webber), but the race should be what matters.


All the time there has been three-session-qualifying, the qualifying has been more interesting than race (on the whole). I agree it's good to have a race which is more important than qualifying, but not redundant.


As I mentioned in my post above, I really enjoyed today's race. Malaysia was pretty entertaining with much overtaking, however we missed that fight for the lead.

So far this season we haven't had any rain or safety cars and for once I'm happy there hasn't been. The racing has been exciting and close across the whole field without the need for these game changers!


Quality race from start to finish, there were not a lull in action at any point.

Hope people will stop whinging now.


Well worth it, indeed. It's easy to complain about the bad strategies after the fact, but Ferrari should learn to move the pieces, the two cars, independently and in the best hope for each one of them, rather than to try to sacrifice one of the pieces (Massa) in order to try to improve the other one (Alonso.)

In this race Ferrari could have provided Massa with more fighting chances had Ferrari made a 3 stops strategy for him, while letting Alonso keep a 2 stops one.

While it was good in some ways to have Massa showing off at the front and delaying the other top drivers which ended up helping Webber at the end of the race, I'm not sure it was worth. Maybe it was as Rosberg wasn't able to score many points as it increasingly looks as if Ferrari will be fighting with Mercedes and Renault for the third place in the Constructors' championship.

Reading what folks are saying in Spanish on Twitter about the race, expressing disappointment in Ferrari as many are Alonso fans, it's as good a moment as any to think of how to make a lemonade out of half a lemon.

I might as well keep this message on the Ferrari topic. 🙂


Thats the difference between being a great driver and one of the best ever. Many can win from pole but to win despite many factors going against you is something a lot rarer. Its not statistics people love, its raw human emotion and Hamilton's drive today was in the true spirit of Grand Prix racing. Great race and a great win for a quality British team and driver. Jingoism over.


They need to explain what was going on with Alonso's rear wing. It was clearly open at least twice when it should not have been. If the error was with race control's system, then they need to sort that out. If it was with Ferrari, then it must surely be penalized. They said prior to the season there would be severe penalties for cases where a driver overrides the race control lockout and activates the DRS without authorization. But nobody has said a thing.

I agree with F1Fan above, yet again the steward's decisions are entirely inconsistent. Do we still have an ex-driver on the panel? I haven't seen any coverage of that this year.


DRS can not be activated without being enabled by the FIA. There is an article about the Alonso incident on the BBC website - the system did not activate correctly.

Incidentally, if drivers should be penalised when DRS works outside of the designated zones, should they receive a time bonus if the system fails to activate?


They have an ex Ferrari driver in the name of Emanuele Pirro on the panel! The same stewards as Sepang, Malaysia.


According to the information that I have read, Pirro was a steward. To my knowledge, he was never employed by Ferrari in a works capacity. He did work for Benetton and McLaren amongst others.

By the way, Alex Wurz actually raced for McLaren.


Correction: I have just read that it was Alex Wurz as the ex driver on the panel!

That is ex Benneton / ex McLaren mainly as a test driver and ex Williams also mainly as a test driver!


Meh fantastic race, I really do not know why I can never control my emotions whenever Hammy has a driver in his crosshairs.

Yes this race was so unpredictable for when Button & Hammy beat Vettel to the first corner, I knew it was officially on.

Rosberg's strategy shows Brawn is still the best in the paddock when it comes to pit stops

If we are having this much fun during the dry races, I can only imagine the drama that will go down when we get a wet race. Can we all agree that Bernie's fake rain mumbo jumbo is officially dead.

P.s. Vettel fans shouldn't be too bothered about his great second finish because ever since the Chinese Grand Prix was included on the calendar, with the exception of 2005, the winner of this race never went on to win the WDC


What Rosberg strategy were you watching, the one where he started 4th and finished 5th?

Surely on that basis, you should be congratulating the McLaren strategist who helped Hamilton win, or the Red Bull strategist who helped Webber from 18th to 3rd?


Didn't Hamilton win in 2008? I guess this also makes him the first man ever to win the Chinese grand prix twice.


So THAT's why he still looked very pleased!


Lewis Hamilton won from pole in China in 2008, and then won the championship at the next race in Brazil...

Yay pedantry! 🙂


Is there a possibility of button receiving a penalty for the pit stop mistake? What would have happened if Vettel didn't come out on top?


Probably not, I don't think there is a regulation for it. Unlike a RedBull mechanic I don't think it was intentional. Button gave Vettel the position on purpose, not likely. Button was affected more than anyone else, just a good thing the RedBull mechanics were able to get out of the way.


I saw the race live in Shanghai. It was an amazing race. I didn't sit in my seat at all - it was so thrilling! It was my first race to see in person - I couldn't of been luckier. Now stuck in the airport as the plane is three hours delayed. Doesn't matter, I'm still grinning from the experience 🙂


I think I would develop a twitch because you know that there has not been a race like that in recent history.


I hope that will put the Lewis is a tyre chewer myth to rest once and for all, but I doubt it.

Wonderful racing, wonderful race, wonderful result.

Come on Lewis - you can do it!!!!


Mark Webber what a drive,

Bagging the fastest lap of the race into the bargain.


Meanwhile I would really appreciate it if F1 purists did shut up already about the artificial talk.

Why are they holding the sport hostage? Last I checked, the sport belonged to all of us & not just the purists besides the purists have had their day in the sun & now it's our turn for boy have we slept through some off the wall snoozefests


12:44 BST still no penalty for Alonso for operating his DRS illegally?

Surely this MUST result in a penalty that has a bearing on the result!



The activation is controlled electronacly by software, and its a failure that allowed it to be used in there.
If he wants he can press the button the whole lap, its the Race Control job to make it work only when it should work.

Plus if anyone should be p**d off should be ALonso, if it activated in the middle of a high speed corner it could send him to the walls...


I don't think that it was Alonso's fault that his DRS was operable in an area that it was supposed to be deactivated.

I want an investigation and a corrective action though.


It was just a fault in the wing, nothing to gain an advantage and probably only gained him no time at all. A penalty would be harsh, i think Ferrari's concern on the faulty wing is more of an issue.


Can you tell me the best overtaking move of the race ? No ? Exactly , there was too many , and i didn't see 1 failed chase , eventually all the drivers attacking made they move , if not at the first attempt , then after 2 laps maximum . Hamilton move on Vettel should be an istoric overtaking but was just an easy pass in a high speed corner . When we remembering , Mansell vs.Piquet in 86-87 , Hakkinen vs.Schumi in Spa , Montoya vs.Schumi in Brazil and so on , there's a reason . Tell me what move of today will be remembered . None .


Agree to some extent.

1/ There was so much overtaking that the TV directors didn't show any build up to moves. Instead they (perhaps understandably) showed a montage of overtaking which gave the impression that it was easy.

2/ I think there were plenty of successful defences but again - if you were a TV director, would you rather be showing this or overtaking moves which are concurrently taking place?

3/ Memorable overtaking occurs when there are two evenly matched cars that have different strengths (e.g. one better on straights, and the other on corners). That is why I think DRS is artifical as it creates an artifical advantage for the car behind. But on the same token, I struggle to recall any memorable overtaking moves on the Tilke tracks. They all take place at great tracks like Suzuka, Spa, Silverstone, Interlagos.

4/ Which would you prefer? 1 great overtaking move a race, or 10 average moves? Personally, I'd prefer the 10 ...


I've been watching since 1986, and I loved it. I can only say...look at the poll...


Mansell v.s. Piquet


Wasn't this a situation where one driver was on much newer tires and also had a turbo boost button. It doesn't seem much different to the newer tires and a KERS button which Hamilton had today...


It was indeed, Mansell had to stop for tyres because he had a vibration and thought it might be a slow puncture so he was on new ones as he caught Piquet.


Halmilton overtaking Button was the boldest and caught Button by surprise. Could add the way he cut that corner before passing Rosberg. Brilliant moves.


You are making a mistake of assuming we all want to see memorable overtaking moments.

Personally I just want to see an exciting non-processional race so i' m quite happy with what I got thank you.


I guess that's what the videogame era leads the currrent generation to expect. Personally, I have never seen a more artificial race.


I don't feel it was artificial, and I'm someone who feared that it could become so at a track like Shanghai. It's true, we also want to see drivers earn their passes. I think they did today, and it will put more of a premium on defensive ability too, which is fantastic.

Safety cars are also artificial. They're necessary, but they slash a 30 sec lead to nothing. Have you never felt a race come alive when the SC is deployed? I's sure you have...


Been watching F1 since 1985 thanks so I'm not sure I'm part of the video game era.


So hopefully this race can put an end to the myth that Button can look after his tyres better than Hamilton?

Great race, roll on the rest of 2011 and a big thankyou to PIRELLI for making F1 incredible.


Hamilton looks after them by not using them in qualy. I think Button can look after his tyres better, but not significantly. If I was a team head I would prefer the Hamilton type driver to the Button type.


I personally feel that Button was employed exactly because of the differences between him and Hamilton. He's solid and makes very few mistakes and generally brings the car home. Might not be the most exciting, but scores points nearly every time. Hamilton is still prone to mistakes and they are covering every base with both drivers!


Please be aware that this is not intended to disrespect Jenson there is no argument with anyone that he is top 10 in the world and I am a huge fan of his. There is also no question that Lewis is learning from him.

When McLaren signed Button they brought all his experience, his cool head and his driving style. Things that either Lewis hadn't got at the time or that he did differently. I agree with you that enough like a rational reason to bring Button in. That however was Winter 2009 check out the standings back then.

Not only was Jenson ideal team mate but he was arguably the best available driver. Kubica didn't even beat Heidfeld. So at the time Jenson was by far the logical decision.

To my point though in 2011 I would pick Lewis style over Jenson style. I will also say that Lewis has become a better driver than Jenson.

Kubica and Vettel are the only other two drivers that I would consider to pick over Jenson for McLaren and they are obviously not available.


Hamilton's strategy of saving a set of tyers had a massive impact on the race today. Do you think this sets a precedent? Will we be seeing only one run towards the end of Q3 so drivers have fresh rubber for the races? It could also lead to the worrying situation that if a car gets into Q3 that doesn't expect to go any better than p9 or 10, may they not decide to simply not bother running, for the sake of having fresh rubber off the line?


Monaco may be the exception as qualifying is premium and it's very hard to overtake even on newer tyres. Take the 1992 race as an example.

Rubinho's Keyfob

I think you've hit an important nail on the head here. This occurred to me during the race too, when HAM was reaping the advantage of fresh tyres.

The thing is, no matter how far in front of the next driver you are in Q3 (0.1s, 3.2s ?) you are still the same distance in front of them on the grid. I think what McLaren/HAM have done is appreciate that it also works the other way around - being 1 place behind someone on the grid, it does not matter whether you were beaten by 1/100 or 10.0s - you will still be the same distance behind them. But a fresh set of tyres or two will more than make up for that place over the course of the GP.

Yes, I see this panning out as you have predicted ... 😉


It all comes down to right tire moves at this point. Webber being on fresh soft rubber at the end made it easy for him to drive around people.


That's the point! Like a game of chess, they most think 2 moves ahead.


What I would really like to know is how many cars in total Webber overtook on the track in China?


Mclaren have really pulled their socks up and turned their painfully slow car in testing to a race winning car in fantastic fashion. If not for Buttons mistake in the pits he could have finished 2nd on the podium. Of course he would have had to keep Vettel on fresh tyres at bay, but it could have treated us to a great show of the Red Bulls battling each other.

The Mercs seem to have gotten some good work done on their car, but we are still waiting for them to bring home better results especially since they started working on the W02 last summer itself.

The Ferraris have lost the pre-season advantage, but its great to see Massa picking up the speed, with the possibility of an even better finish thwarted by a faulty pit strategy. Lotus are slowly moving up the order and it will be interesting to see them battle in the middle order.


We have the prospect of an interesting battle between Alonso and Massa to see who gets the No 1 driver status for the Hockehheim watershed.


Could you really see Alonso obeying team orders and letting his team mate past?

The term 'hell' and 'freeze' spring to mind.


The German GP is at the Nurburgring this year.


Alonso, he brings in the most money.


That was an amazing event. That is the model that F1 needs to continue to use into the future. Please F1 don't change the formula. It was the best racing from any motor sport event I have ever seen. Please F1, continually strive to make passing possible by using technology.

Strategy and driver performance should be on display, not the blocking ability of slower teams and driver who sabotage other peoples races and frustrate true fans.

Use a Kers deactivation zone,at Monaco and we may get passing there. Remember it is not false racing it is compensation for poor track design.

The new modle ensures that people who pay a ticket will get a spectacle and not a procession. It will ensure viewer satisfaction, both at home and on the track. Now allow more technical innovation and bring back the glory days of F1.


Why no action was taken when Alonso used DRS outside DRS zone?
It was so clear almost every commentator was talking about it , its on Youtube as well.

Alonso is not supposed to used it as its automatically enables its self fine but he did press it right? So is that not illegal ! Lewis looses points last race even though weaving well its a debate but rules are rules for everyone or Ferrari has a different copy with them?

Button? Redbull gives you wings mate not free tyres !!


Given that it is meant to be FIA controlled, and an active system, any action would take a bit longer than just running a ruler over a Sauber rear wing. It could be a couple of days before anything is determined. It will be easier than the Bennetton launch control issue as the McLaren ECU that all cars use now is well understood.


Jenson Buttons new sponsor, Specsavers??


3 miracles of this race

1) An entertaining race actually occured on a track designed by Tilke!!!!!

2) Webber's KERS worked.... ish sorta, kinda.. at the start atleast and then no... but atleast there was some sign of something

3) THE DRS actually was good. I thought at the Australian and Malaysian GP's it was too easy. it looked like a good exit + KERS + DRS = great sucess (in borat accent). But here with the time before the DRS came into play it meant that we saw some good overtakes at the end of the straight. If it was easier then drivers would just wait for the straight, but it wasn't and so we saw drivers battling it out, and drivers weren't just helpless down it, and actually had to be overtaken as opposed to just sitting ducks. A tick for the system I hate.

Saying all that, Webber for Drive Of The Day. 18th to 3rd. You have to admit, Vettel started on pole Webber 18th yet they ended up 2 seconds apart in the end. (And no Saftey Car to bunch them up). I personally think after Malaysia and China Webber has shown to be currently driving better than Vettel which is sad given the points.

Drive of the season so far, and could be still by the nd of the year.


The DRS adds excitment and overtaking so please leave. Great viewing. Kers is a waste of time, now thats artificial.

Can someone please explain what is wrong with Red Bulls KERS. So much brains in that team and they still cant figure it out.

Webbers drive was simply stuuning and deserved the podium, pity there was not a few more laps.

You could of thought kimi raikkonen was in that Red Bull.

Well done Mark you deserve to go all the way.


Newy doesn't like KERS and afaik the car is not really designed around it so the installation is sub optimal

Andrew Woodruff

The best race for a long long time! Can't expect it every week, but when the stars align it is absolutely fantastic!

People who complained about the China track layout look fairly ridiculous now!

Driver of the day must surely be Webber?! Hamilton was great, a strong demonstration of superiority over Jenson, but lucked in with the Red Bull shout of 2 stops for Vettel. Webber was superb and his choice of words in the top three press conference were very interesting! Felt like a return to less corporate times with his welcoming words for Lewis' win! Is there any reaction from RB management on that James?


Every week the commentators complain that a driver has given up a place too easily, but I thought the leading driver could only make one change of direction to defend? If they move all over the place to make it harder for the overtaking driver they'll just get a drive-through, won't they?


You can still defend agressively with only one change of direction (followed by a move back ONTO the racing line). Schumacher's defending today was fantastic for example, really put pressure on the guy trying to make the move work.

Martin commented that Rosberg let Lewis past to easily which was true; he didn't move to a defensive line (though he probably didn't imagine Lewis would try an overtake there tbh).


The standard thing is drive down the inside and make the passing car go around the outside. Button didn't do this with Hamilton and while Rosberg did initially, a lap later he left the door open. Having done it and it worked, why did he change? It could be a sense of the inevitable and that Rosberg would lose more time defending. He might have realised that Hamilton could win and being a friend, let him go.


IMHO the best race for the last twenty five years or more -- since the days of Senna, Mansell and Prost! Webber and Hamilton were truly outstanding.

It seems that the tactics from now on, at tracks with overtaking opportunities, will be to save the tyres in qualifying -- even at the expense of places. It's arguable that there is even an advantage in opting not to make it through to Q3 in order to have a choice of tyres and loads of unused softs. Only rain could upset that apple cart.


You are kidding, right? It wasn't THAT great...


Maybe not bother to qualify at all other than ensuring you hit the 107% rule?


One of the best grands prix I have ever witnessed. As a Webber fan, I thought he could do well if he drove like he did in Malaysia but this was something else!

Lotus seem to be making progress. Their race pace this year has been quite good.


i think it was a class race but i am a little sad that the classic art of defending has gone out of the game. dont think we will see things like alonso v schumacher at imola 05 or turkey 06 again which i enjoyed massively despite being a hardcore ferrari fan. but im open to the new look f1.


Schumacher defense against Alonso was great. Rosberg put up a good fight against Hamilton. But I agree. Once your tyres are cooked there's no fight. You just turn into a sitting duck.


Great result for Hamilton. The Red Bull is still hideously quick though. Red Bull got it all wrong with Vettel as we saw in the hands of Webber just how quick that car was on a 3 stop strategy. Can't help bit feel if they had done a 3 stop with Vettel we would have seen a repeat of Melbourne and KL (DC style as everything in F1 must be abbreviated!) and unless Red Bull make poor strategy calls in the next few races there's only going to be one winner.......


Great race, very enjoyable. Hamilton was superb especially with some of the hard moves he pulled off today in non DRS zones. Webber of course really produced something special, could well be the best drive of his career. Also have to mention Massa who was far superior to his team mate. Which was good to see, especially compared to this race last year when Alsono got him on the pit entry.

Finally Pirelli are marketing geniuses, they are guaranteed to be talked about all the way through the season. Whether its good or bad news the company is making publicity because their product is throwing up this style of racing. I think Paul Hemberey will be getting a big raise end of the season!


Based on the pit stop summary info on, Alonso and Massa basically matched each other for most of the race except for the middle stint where Massa came out ahead of Schumacher and Alonso didn't. The undercut on the tyres and the Schumacher chicane made the 15 seconds. I didn't see enough of the start to see whether Vettel was right and that Massa was on the better side of the grid, but he made the better start and that meant he beat Alonso today. Putting a pass on Hamilton on equal terms in the first stint probably felt pretty good too.


Top draw race, just wonderful to watch, as chaotic as Malaysia with pitstops and people being on different strategies, with plenty of overtaking and lots of it not using DRS.

This is harsh on Vettel when i say this, but F1 needed someone else to win today. Its made it a lot more exciting, its probably helped quell fears of a Vettel runaway championship.

Big well done to Webber and Lewis, the 2 best drivers out there, but they all deserve big pats on the back for making that one hellova race.


Fantastic race. Could we ask more? Probably yes, but they've kinda messed up the DRS. Doesn't matter anyway, the tyres made up for the lack of DRS passes.

Was a bit dissapointed by the Ferrari 2-stop strategy and how much Massa lost because of that.

I was hoping for a 3-stop strategy for Di Resta so he can get some points again, but he had another good weekend.

Keep it going guys.

Thank you James for this. Great stuff. Please keep us company for the next 3 long weeks. F1 is going to be missed.


The big surprise for me was that Massa was quite possibly the fastest car on track on soft tyres.

It was a great performance from him, and I can't wait to see how he goes in Turkey, his statistically best track.

Ferrari's strategy was very disappointing considering Massa had the speed on the soft tyres, and that he had a lack of speed on the hard tyre in Malaysia and Australia.


What a surge of happiness and feel-good on all the F1 forums and social networking! Amazing!

Great to see a lot of good hard and fair fighting on the track today!


Who say it's too easy for Vettel to win?


Good stuff in general; Chinese GP used to be OK when it was wet but today it was OK because it was dry. Could be the new rules are finally working making it easier for the cars to follow each other closely, at least some of the moves weren't DRS-related (as JA pointed out).

Poor Sutil... harassed by the Saubers.

I don't understand the joyous press release from the Team (G)lotus - HK had a decent race but P16 - c'mon... In the good old days even P7 would get you 0 points but now they're all utterly delighted with P10 and start spraying spumante. Williams will come back strong and Perez had a drive-through penalty, big deal. They're not racing anybody, they're making up the numbers.


It is about relative performance to the best cars and rivals. The team felt they were in the main game for the first time rather than being in Race B.


What a GP, amazing racing! Brilliant drive from Lewis and Mark from 18th to podium. Great stuff.

DRS, Pirellis, KERS let us keep them all!

3 stops much better than 2, which was chosen by and was reason why Renault picked mediocre points.


I think today RBR pit wall has chosen the wrong strategy for Vettel. Christian Horner said they changed the strategy to a two stopper after Vettel's poor start Had he stuck to the 3 stop strategy as the McLaren duo, he should be a better position to fight with Lewis or whoever come near. He was in front of both McLaren after the first stint. With the age of his tyre, is really a matter of time Vettel passed by whoever that caught him. Given another two more laps, Webber would have passed him too.

Webber no doubt is my driver of the day ... no KERS, starting from 18th and ended up 3rd, no bad for a number 2 driver indeed. Remarkable Mark Webber !


I'm loving that stategy is back in F1 but the improvement in 2011 is that the overtaking moves that matter are happening on the track rather than in the pit stops when refueling was still in play in 2009. Great drives from Lewis and Mark today!!!


JA, I think its about time Webber earns Driver of the Day, if not of the season!


Vettel should really have qualified 16th for a win!


I still don't understand why Red Bull didn't just copy McLaren's pit strategy after Vettel passed them both. He had the pace to stay in front of them, so if he just each time pitted a lap after Button or Hamilton did he would have been just fine on P1.

Big mistake from Red Bull if you ask me.


Agree would have been an easy win but all decisions in real time...!

I'm sure Newey will be pondering tactics a lot more now...

I wonder if RedBull don't want to appear too good (after Vettel's qualie performance) and prompt Mclaren's hand re its development effort.



as I love your reports and all the details I have to comment on your ignorance of the Mercs.

As it looks you will soon need to put aside your notorious paranoia of them and start giving them their deserved share in your reports. Especially Schuey is pulling the best starts of the field and shows great fights throughout the season and this all remains unmentioned. They are on their way back straight to the podium, so please warm to the idea of that!




Fact is that Schumacher had the best starts and positions in the first laps, fact is also that he was out qualified by Rosberg and out raced by Rosberg. So, that should have been mentioned more you say?


Game, set, match: Mima.


Yea, he seems to be only interested in the race winners. Not a single word about Schumi's great start!!! This year, Schumacher has had the best starts and overtaken more cars than the entire grid on the first lap. Its only because Schumi got stuck behind the Force India's in the first stint that he finished 30secs behind or we may have had a close finish between Schumi and Rosberg.


"I have to comment on your ignorance of the Mercs. As it looks you will soon need to put aside your notorious paranoia of them and start giving them their deserved share in your reports."

Is this really necessary?


Isn't it about time we lay the Lewis vs Jenson tires management contest to rest?


also i think doing an extra pitstop and attcking the racetrack for as much of the race as possible is the way to go rather than a defensive race with one less pitstop


What a great race! What great drives from both Hamilton and Webber.

Hamilton showed how much his all-round ability has improved since the start of his F1 career. He showed a great ability to strategise a race plan, as well as an excellent ability to manage tyres, drive fast and overtake. His two overtaking maneuvers on Button and Vettel were simply outstanding.

Webber's performance from 18th on the grid was simply brilliant. After a slow start on the Hard tyre, he came on beautifully on the soft tyre and drove the wheels off the car on the way to a mighty 3rd place, showing that he definitely still has what it takes to challenge for a World Championship.

Mercedes have come along well since the first two races, but I think they will need a lot more speed in the car to challenge for Wins and World Championships.

Renault have a good car with good speed, but both Petrov and Heidfeld are inconsistent and cannot drive the car to it's ultimate potential. The difference between these two and Kubica was that Kubica was not only much than those two, but he was also much more consistant than the two, which means to me that this car had a decent chance of challenge Red Bull and McLaren for the World Championship. Renault technical director James Allison said last year that "If we can give him a car that's even half capable of getting a championship he'll get one". I think this was one of those cars. If Kubica can get back at the start of next year or even at the end of this year, with the same ability he had before the accident, he could dominate the sport the same way Schumacher and Ferrari did. Renault are a team that are definitely on the up.

Ferrari have produced a bad car and must improve the car dramatically if they want to win races, let alone win championships. Sauber are going to challenge them in Turkey if they can't improve the car.

Lotus are getting ever closer to the more established teams, and Williams are their closest challengers.

In summary, a great race and brilliant drives from Hamilton and Webber.


A very enjoyable race in front of the tube till the last lap all the way to the lead car. Pirelli should be recognized for their part in the excitement, and whoever recognized that it was the way to go and not just keep with previous season tire specs. I changed my mind as to who was going to be the eventual winner of this race quite a few time during the actual race. While the race is difficult to read, the differences of pace between teams and teammates at different stage of the race, makes it very exciting. More of the same please. So many above average drives today, make for a difficult pick as to who shone the most. LH, NR, MS, MW, FM all did very well. SV did not do so bad himself, but I am glad that one got away from him. It gives me hope that he won't be running away with the whole thing and that we might see racing till late in the season. I won't mind if he wins it at the end, but give us a long season. If not for his pit mistake Button went well also. With Mercedes seeming to have made a step up and assuming Renault just had a tough day today, that would give 5 fairly competitive teams to mix it up. Not bad! Not bad at all. If it is not too much to ask. I also enjoy following The WRC championship. Does anyone on this board know a site of similar standard to this one treating on rally? Thank you in advance for any directions on that. Marc


A fantastic, dramatic and nail-biting race! Great to see how much the win meant to Hamilton who was choking back the tears. His aggressive drive thoroughly deserved the 25 points but I still feel McLaren have much work to do to match the Red Bull pace. Vettel's slow start and conservative strategy cost him an easy win. With a three week gap to get their KERS system reliable I think Red Bull will still be the cars to beat in Turkey.


I said in a previous post where there was a discussion about the tyres/KERS/DRS making artificial and boring racing that near the end of a race it would all shake out with a sprint to the finish and then it would be exciting. Well it really was in my view exciting at the end and whilst Hamilton was excellent, the most impressive drive in my opinion must be the fighting Aussie, Mark Webber.

I also thought that Webbers comment along the lines it was good for Vettel to lose to keep things interesting and not let Vettel have it all his own way may well mean a resumption of hostilities between the two and a drive like that for Webber will definetly have him pumped up for Turkey.

Making for a very interesting season throughout the field.


Really good race, the racing should have been more like this last year if last years tire supplier had done what they where ask to do.

One thing this race showed is that divers need tool (overtaking weapons) to aided passing. In past races overtaking was impossible, with 3,4,5, plus cars bottled up. With KERS and DRS passing is possible but drivers still have to make the move stick, but lets face it tires are everything. If you can't get the power of KERS down onto the track because your tries are shot then it really becomes redundent.

What shocked me more than Webbers 3rd place finish was how many car finished the race, 1 retirement from 24 cars.


It was a race that I enjoyed, but while it was a pass at the end, the tension wasn't there as it was almost a taking candy from a baby situation. With KERS Vettel might have survived, but without the combination of DRS and KERS meant that Vettel had to defend for too much of the lap.

t will be interesting to see how the strategies develop over the season. Rosberg went from fourth to first by stopping a couple of laps earlier than those in front. It is almost a case of race to a window where you won't get held up. It will be interesting to get some detail on the Mercedes fuel consumption issues as Nico was in position to win the race being the first of the three stoppers. If you can get the hard tyres to switch on at the end, as Button and Hamilton did respectively in the last two races in the last stint, then carrying four or five extra laps could be okay. In Nico's case after performing the undercut at the first stop he then stopped after the McLarens for the second and third stops. It seems as though the Ross Brawn strategic brilliance got as far as the first stop.

The soft tyre performance was also key. Webber went from about 25 second behind Hamilton at the second stop on lap 24 to 7.5 seconds at the end. And that was after a fairly poor stint by Hamilton, wearing out his tyres and getting passed by two drivers who did it better. It would be interesting to see how much of the race Webber had without KERS working. At 3ths per lap, he would be 15 seconds further up without considering the time lost in not being able to get past some drivers.

Similarly, since Vettel had a KERS failure, it is quite possible that with it working he would have won the race. I wonder how long it will take for both Red Bulls to go through a race weekend without a KERS problem?

Ferrari possibly failed to learn from Malaysia, where they were passed by drivers they had passed, such as Button, who then immediately stopped. Alternatively, Ferrari could have trusted the simulators that suggested that two stops was the quickest way to go.

The first safety car of the season could be interesting. We might see some drivers stopping to get off their soft tyres, do one lap on hards and then go back to soft tyres - even reusing the softs there were taken off later in the race. The performance differential in China was just too big to make the hard tyres an effective racing strategy. The car is just too slow, so you get caught up racing other cars and cannot get into a window to perform an undercut.

Qualifying strategies could be interesting too. Ferrari didn't do too badly reusing soft tyres. Webber - since he hasn't had the hard tyre Q1 performance - might be better off running one lap of soft tyres in Q1, running the same tyres in Q2 and then considering what to do in Q3.

Off to Istanbul and hopefully turn 8 corner speeds to help us understand relative downforce levels. Certainly the McLarens will be a lot closer than 15 km/h this year.


You're right about the KERS. Development there is crucial and I only wish that the teams had some more leeway in how much power they can store and re-use.

Petrov may owe his podium finish to his strategic use of Renault's very good KERS system to defend against the pass near the end of the Australian GP.


Having watched the whole race at Turn 14,I was really impressed by Lewis.

He was braking so late!

I was also impressed by Nico Rosberg.What a pity for Nico as he overshot at the corner when overtaking Massa and handed the place to Jenson.



To quote Sebastian Vettel "that's what I'm talking about".

Honestly I don't care how it's achieved but you want a race decided in the last few laps. Well I do and as long as it's decided on the track.

Some random thoughts:

Alonso should get a penalty for the active DRS where it shouldn't be active. It gave him an advantage of speed if nothing else. When Sauber get kicked back for an infringement that gave no advantage then it's only right.

Vettel seemed to weave as much if not more than Hamilton in the last race. Either it's one rule for Hamilton or more likely McLaren didn't lodge a complaint unlike Ferrari at Malaysia.

Vettel's two stop strategy might well have worked if he was able to build his usual huge lead from the start. Red Bull don't seem to be able to react and change their mindset if needs be.

Is playboy Button back? Lack of focus, lots of smiles for the cameras, giving Lewis room to pass, indicates someone not totally on it.

What's going on at Ferarri? Alonso should be streets ahead of Massa but it's not happening for him. Give it six races and will we be hearing "ok, look, Massa is faster than you"?


1. Alonso - His DRS situation has been clarified and no penalty required.

2. Vettel weaving - Can't see the problem it's motor racing and as a Mclaren fan, I'm please to see that they did not lodge a complaint.

3. Vettel's strategy - It was more a case of taking a punt with the tyres rather than a poor stategy. Given that both pitstops gave him track position and the race came alive for Hamilton after his third stop, when should Vettel's stategy have been changed? - hindsight is allways 20/20

4. Playboy Button - being pleased to see his long-term girlfriend hardly makes him a playboy? As for Hamilton's pass, lets give Hamilton the credit for placing his car inside Button's

5. As for Alonso and Massa, expect normal business to be resumed in Spain. I suspect Massa will have a good race next time out in Turkey!


I agree, Cliff. It seems people say 'Who can I criticise? oh well, might as well make it almost everybody.'

You then see who they DON'T have go at, to see who they are a fanboy of!

It's all very tiresome, pleased to see that moderation is going to be much stricter.

Perhaps it should be; 3 hits & you're out!


Haha. No Webber on that list.


I really don't know what to make of the new look F1 to be honest.

Thought today that a lot of the passing was a little bit too predictable when you had 2 cars on different strategies with tyres at different stages of wear. The car on the older tyres basically has nothing to defend with & we end up seeing a Catch-&-Pass.

Like at the end, It was blatently obvious Hamilton was going to pass Vettel because Hamilton's tyres were 2-3 seconds faster & the grip advantage was so large Vettel could do nothing to hold him off & the same was seen through the field today.

Going back to those 2 Alonso Vs. Schumacher fights for the win overthe final 10 or so laps at Imola in 2005/2006. Those were 2 great fights for the win, The car behind both years was faster but it was never clear if he would get past or not.

Today in a somewhat similar situation, It was predictable what the outcome would be as soon as Lewis started catching Vettel & I didn't find that situation quite as exciting.


I don't agree. It was because Hamilton was so good. Rosberg and Button were on the same strategy as Hamilton yet there tyres were cooked at the end and couldn't get near Vettel.


But Imola isn't China for Imola is simply Monaco without the barriers so it's very possible to keep a much faster car - with new tyres behind you for the longest time.

I would rank Imola in the same category as Hungary & Monaco.

And No, today's passing wasn't predictable at all for Vettel was just four laps away from winning the race that's he was just a fraction away from making the two stop strategy work & if it wasn't for Hammy's rapid pace, he probably would


passing was entirely predictable today, vettel was never going to have been able to keep lewis behind him because lewis had so much more grip and performance on his newer tyres.

every time a car on new tyres came up behind one on old he got past within a lap or 2.

there was not a single time today when the outcome of a fight between a car on new tyres v one on old tyres was unpredictable. every single time the car with newer tyres got by and every single time it was completely obvious he was definately going to get past because there was such a big grip difference between them.

mark webber said in his post race comments on the bbc forum that a car on older tyres had nothing to fight back with and that the passing wasnt really that genuine.


i agree.

there was an air of predictability with many of the passes we saw today and that took some of the excitement away for me.

wheres the fun & excitement in watching 2 cars race if the tyre situation or even the drs or kers mean the outcome is inevitable?

f1 is turning into nascar and that aint a good thing.


It's clear today's race was a winner with the popular audience. Realistically though, it's clear the overtakes today were about differences in grip and DRS.

I'll admit though that Hamilton's and Webber's car positioning for overtakes made a difference.

A sad day though for racing purists.


I am a purist.

I loved it.


Perhaps we can define a proper understanding of pure. I advocate 2 necessary (albeit, not in themselves sufficient - ie there are more criteria):

1. Every racing driver has equal opportunity within the natural cause and effect structure of the event.

2. Every aspect of the top class of motorsport is optimalised to the highest reasonable standard.

And now to where F1 2011 manifestly fails:
- DRS rules obviously violates #1 because only the driver behind can use it. The aero turbulence effects that aid the car in front fall under the category of the natural cause and effect structure of the sport. Sure, itd be better if they did not exist to begin with, but two wrongs don't make a right, they do not represent authenticity.

2. The Pirelli tyres violate the standard of highest reasonable optimality in design and performance. They are decades behind in durability compared to what is presently possible. I argue they thus degrade the overall technical standard.

Now I don't knock anybody who says they enjoy the spectacle, as long as they concede it is not a true racing spectacle. What people, like you sir, enjoy is an event akin to fireworks shows because the sport appeals to a lower common denominator than before.


We had two races the 3 vs the 2 stops. They merged in the last 10 laps. Why is this a sad day? I thought it was great.


It wound up biased against the 2-stoppers.


By about 15 seconds I guess. But the 3 stoppers had way more passing to do!


I don't agree with the purist thing. If it was that easy then Button would have been in P2. He wasn't because he cooked his tyres and doesn't have the race craft of Hamilton.


You must have really enjoyed some boring F1 races in the past.


Don't worry, there was always the London marathon.



I presume your view is that the attacking driver shouldn't have more tools (DRS) at his (or her) disposal than the driver being chased?

In this era of aerodynamic downforce and high reliability brakes we have had the situation since the late 1990s when engine differences became small that overtaking is often able to be frustrated by driving down the inside. Now the defensive mechanism is to drive faster enough that you are never within one second of the following driver. This comes at the risk of wearing out the tyres too soon.

So far in three races we have seen the driver and teams who have done the best job getting the result. As David and Martin commented, there was less passing than they had expected.

While F1 is partly a business activity, for us spectators it should be entertainment. What we have now is the points being given out on Sunday, rather than being strongly determined by what happened on Saturday. Until the late 1980s qualifying didn't matter than much - drivers could focus on race set up and win. Is a return to racing results where the fastest race day cars winning, rather than the fastest qualifying cars not purist enough?


Wow, that was an absolute corker of a race. Given the increased importance of tyre strategy this year and the use of DRS and KERS, qualifying on pole may be less of an advantage if the race pace of the front runners is similar. While Vettel did it again in qualifying, it was Red Bull's strategy that let him down. Last year they probably wouldn't have paid the price given all teams would have been on similar strategies, but this year strategy may be just as if not more important than a good qualifying. And though Mark was joking when he said maybe they should try missing out of Q2 an Q3 more often and save the tyres for a charge to the front in the race, maybe he's onto something. Interested to hear your thoughts on this James.


Wouldn't work some places, but it does make you wonder if LH can win as he did saving a set of therein quali


single lap Q3? Willing to bet its going to be a shootout with 2 minutes left of the hour!


James, the sense I got was that Vettel was without KERS for a lot of the race. From the first stop onwards he was usually in clear air, so just ten laps without KERS (3-4ths) would have given him the gap to stay away from Lewis.

Also if cooler weather gives Red Bull a 7ths advantage as in Melbourne and Shanghai then it will be Red Bull that can more often do one run to save tyres in Q3. McLaren run a greater risk of being behind a Mercedes or Renault at turn one, and hence would be reliant on the drivers to deliver a faultless lap.


What was also disappointing was that Massa received no reward for his scintillating drive. A great mix of aggression and speed, but thwarted by a simple issue of team tyre strategy.


I guess you were a bit easy on Hamilton's risky maneuver on Button primarily because that isn't an overtaking place in the circuit and credit needs to given to Button for avoiding a clash. That said, Hamilton did well to get past Rosberg who was on the same strategy. My heart goes out to Vettel though who was clearly hampered by a bad team call but still showed the world he's capable of finishing within 5 secs off the leader with worn out tyres and a stop less making him a huge force to reckon when the season goes to Europe.

Mark can relax a bit as it was his best race till date by overtaking a sling of cars on his way to third. Jenson was caught dozing when he went to the Redbull pits as eventhough it brought the lighter side of F1 into the limelight, it was embarrassing to see a driver of such experience making a silly mistake under pressure.

Finally, I wouldn't say McLaren outthought Redbull but the latter dug their own hole because its clear that if a P18 can be converted to a podium why taking so much of risk with your leader who has also showed great pace through out the weekend? McLaren can relax as they have bought some life into the season but the writing is on the wall.



Hi James,

what about Alonso using his DRS before the pit line?

Did you hear anything about it? Does Alonso deserve a penalty here?


What a stunning race by Mark Webber. I simply could not believe how much pace he had. If he had a working KERS system there is no doubt he would have been ahead of Sebastian Vettel on the grid.

I also much note im tiring fast of Vettels "no one can race me" attitude, its like its a crime to defeat him. He speaks of the championship like its his given right. I was fond of the kid at one point.

It is also very clear to me that there is no love at all between the drivers at RBR, that must mean unfortunately Webbers days are numbered. Because if he can still drive like that he could stay in F1 till age 50 as far as im concerned!

Andrew Woodruff

I don't think Vettel came across like that after the race at all. He was actually quite humble and dignified in defeat, unlike Lewis and others (Barrichello in one of the early races in 2009 I recall) have been when things have swung against them on strategy.

It seems to me that a lot of people don't like Vettel because he appears very young, isn't a salt of the earth-type Australian, and is inconveniently quick. He can sometimes be a touch precocious, but more often than not he is engaging and talks a lot of sense.


That was pretty darn sweet!

Today I decided to stay on the tradmill through the whole race. Turns out Mr Brundle is a great personal trainer. Words of encouragemet at all the right times.

Congrats to Lewis - a killer drive.

Was there a time when constractors trophy was given on points?


What happened to Hamilton on his in lap for the first stop? Was he scheduled to come in on the lap Button did?


Yes. Button was actually due in the lap before he did come in.


It was an amazing amazing amazing race, unbelieveble.
Championship contenders trading good moves over one another which is exactly what fans want to see. Over the years, contenders score points but they usually never happen to go head to head, 2005, kimi vs Alonso is a very good example. Now you can see baby Schumi vs baby Senna overtaking each other more than one time in a race which is just awesome. Then there's webber who came from 18th to 3rd, probably the best drive of his career. In addition we had Schumi vs Alonso wheel to wheel battle. Nice to see Massa on form too. It was like eating Chinese buffa for free.


Excellent race - great drives by Lewis & Webber, Ferrari must be at a loss given their pre-season form. Good insight as to Webber's attitude to his team-mate in the post-race interview when he said it was good for someone to finally beat Vettel, before he realised what he was saying & slightly corrected himself.

Interesting how many passes resulted from superior drive out of corners & it makes me wonder how different (or not) the racing would be if the FIA hadn't bothered with the DRS, just relying on KERS and Pirelli tyres thus avoiding the whole 'artificial' racing debate.

I also think D.R.S. is a bit of a mouthful & we should all start pronouncing it 'D(u)RS', like KERS. Ithankyou.


Ferrari seem to pick the wrong strategy more than the right one recently. Could pick out more races where they have cost their drivers more than won them. As great as Webber's drive was, if Massa was on a 3 stop he'd have been too far ahead to overtake for 3rd I'm sure.


The only thing was that there were so many pit stops which confused me a bit. I don't userstand why nico was leading the race out of no where without overtaking the race leaders. I don't understand how he lost the lead to Vettel. And I don't understand why Button went to wrong box which i thought was very funny. And frankly I can't be bothered to analyze, reanalyize and deanalyize those. I can live with that as long as a race is as good as that.


Great race again and this time a different winner. Lewis clearly making most out of the strategy. Webber driving like a man possessed; 3s faster than Merc/Macca sometimes when in pursuit.

Ferrari once again falling behind because of poor pit-stops. I wonder if they even review about what went wrong other than the car obviously. It was written all over the past two races that they were behind the cars they overtook on track, because of longer pit-stops.

And it is time they reviewed their pit-calls; atleast one of the two drivers should have been on a 3-stopper since the majority did it that way. Why risk when you don't have the absolute pace of the RBs?

There is a interesting battle going on behind RB with Macca, Ferrari and Merc fighting it out for track positions with very less differential in their race pace. Renault could be in the mix too in the next race, hence it is critically important that every bit of advantage is taken during the pit-stops and the way it is constructed.

Hope Ferrari come back strong with their updates and take the fight to RB and Macca.


While I'm here, on the subject of the current racing not being for the purists, I don't remember anyone dismissing Nigel Mansell's drive at the 1987 British GP where he clawed back half a minute on and then passed Nelson Piquet as being 'artificial', and he was on much newer/fresher tyres & he had a turbo boost. The outstanding drive is what was important, and it should be the same today.


It's the tyres with a little bit of KERS and DRS. LH must have had better tyres than JB at that point else JB would have defended better; LH past JB far too easily and JB made no fight back - team orders maybe... Vettel lost because of tyres. Weber got third because of tyres. Tyres, tyres... Oddly, Rosberg had fuel issues. Seems too that if you get the tyres wrong for one part you are knackered for the rest. Tyres, tyres... Basically it makes it a lottery rather than a race. Likely Ecclestone will get rain in on this too just to randomise it even more. We'll end up with an obstacle race rather than a race.


Great race and some good passes by Hamilton - I think RedBull just played it far too conservative with Vettel if you compare his pace and tyre stops with Webber - he needed to really race and get past the Mclarens from the start once he lost the lead and capitalise on his car's superior pace but suppose given their qualie pace, it was an easy one to make and probably not an easy plan to implement as it would mean passing both Mclarens on the road.

Brillant drive from Webber and finally Massa looks like the driver he used to be prior to his terrible accident - really hope he can keep up this form.


Or maybe RedBull don't want to make it look too easy 🙂 - As mentioned by someone else, after taking the lead, if Vettel stopped one lap after the Mclarens it would likely have been an easy win.


Refreshing to see Massa perform at a good level again. Hope to see that form continue throughout the season...


I think drivers should now start to learn regarding 'the race-craft of defending' now, more important than ever. Having said this, I think Schumacher has the best race-craft of the lot, even though he does not seem to have outright speed like before. I reckon he must be now at least 10% slower than he was in first career. Nonetheless, his first defending move on Alonso at the hairpin today was legendary. Thank goodness it was fair and legal, and even received a small praise from DC.

Btw, could someone please send a tweet to Kimi Raikonnen that "F1 isn't boring anymore, could you please come back ASAP, before you forget how to drive an F1 car?", I think realistically, only you can do that, James. 🙂

Thanks for the brilliant journalism James, throughout. It must be unbelievably tiring for you, having to juggle so many things at once!!


Yippee, having watched a great GP is like having had some great wine / or great sex. 😀


What a brilliant race. Watching the replay again.

I wonder where all of the pirelli doubters now. Real strategy now back in f1. Webber would not have been able to charge like that on bridgestones.

Fantastic drives from Lewis and webber.


McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen win in 2005 at a dry Suzuka after qualifying 17th on Bridgestones. I think James Allen had a good race too! The fact that I refer to one of the best drives and races of all time says this one was good!

Before I posted this comment I watched that race again and this one was comparable to that as far as entertainment goes!

Both races were heavily decided on pit strategy and drivers needing to make passes on the track. The 2005 race however had "precession" laps where Michael Schumacher held up Fernando and Kimi and impacted the race, this didn't happen today. I can't wait for Turkey.


That one sprung to mind for me too. Passes for the lead at the end of the race are rare indeed! I'll never forget commentating on that race. Along with Brazil 2008, the most exciting race I called


At James Raikkonen who is a driver whom i admire heavily suzuka 05 cannot be compared to this race as Raikkonen passed fisichella for the lead not based on degraded tyres but through utmost bravery i could remember the display showing Raikkonen kept his foot in when fisi braked early the passes yesterday you saw them coming it was catch and pass.


But jenson. What on earth was that today?

I really thought he had a good chance if he'd done ok in the pits.

Good to see seb smiling in defeat as well. Comes across really well even in defeat. He had a good old chuckle at jb 😉


I still don't think DRS is required because the tyres have turned things around and they are the same for everyone. Loads of over taking without the need for DRS. Well done pirelli.

Saying that - I can't say I'm too worried about DRS either but it does leave the car in front unable to defend.


Although I really enjoyed the race, I must say that I still find the current regulations make racing--even in this one--artificial and often downright silly.


I don't agree, drivers are now rewarded for how fast they can navigate the slower car in front not if they can. See Hamilton vs Button and Kobayashi vs Perez.


All that's need to be said has been said above. Here's some other observations.

Trulli's fastest lap was apparently faster than Alonso. Interesting but nothing much there, Alonso should have done 3 stops.

RBR's victory celebrations reminds me of my drunken days in university, a lot of loud music and uninhibited mayhem. McLaren's on the other hand is comparable to the Queen's banquet.

Martin Brundle is generally fair in dishing out praises for outstanding drives, but today, his adulation of Hamilton was quite... well... on a different scale. While Coulhard is on the other end of the adulation spectrum.

Sadly, if everyone is on equal strategy, RBR is still much much faster. So here's hoping for more RBR mistakes and a different GP winner in Turkey, it doesn't matter who as long as it's not boring RBR domination.


Trulli's lap was on new tyres, Alonso was on old ones. Still a good effort


I was initially hostile to DRS, especially with KERS too, since the overtaking is sometimes heavily assisted (artificial). Vettel taking Hamilton with DRS was an example. That way it's easy. But this race convinced me that combined with fast-wearing tyres, overtaking becomes a question of how often and how well, with the best drivers still finding passes on expected sections. This China GP was excellent since it demanded skilled maneouvres, good strategy AND tyre conservation (as well as a fast car). Red Bull did forget the rule of the race leader following what their nearest rivals were doing, though. Had they copied the 3 stop, Vettel would probably have won. Though we would have seen him have to overtake repeatedly, so who knows... fairly sure we'll have an answer to that soon.


oops 'unexpected' sections


I agree with most of your statement, I just grumbled at the DRS, but I would like the KERS more if it was unlimited.

The true drivers do more efficiently pass and this is what wins races now, not if the driver can pass but how well the driver passes.

I don't know what the season pas per race number is but we all know this will be a record year.

Interestingly though I think there are fewer crashes because drivers know there will be a good opportunity to pass on the DRS straight so they don't seem to risk as much on semi-chances.


Good point about the crashes James. The other aspect that struck me was how the drivers bunched into threes, one car pursued by another two who get within a second, then use DRS to get even closer, but don't have enough to get past, at least for a number of laps until someone's tyres wear off quicker. Definitely good for the race coverage as there's always some kind of position battle going on.


What a great race. I forsaw an event with Vettel winning specially after quali. But what a race instead! And too all those who still want to write negative.. come on get a life! We saw strategies; mistakes and overtaking till the end of the race. What more do you want! And to allthose that stil want to claim that the overtaking was only due to tires etc: he they could adopt the same strategy! I hope that the next races will be as exiting as this one...

And Button? I think he wanted the secret ingredient of the drinking company to give him some more wings!


Cheers Pirelli!




I must admit, that was a very good race! The positioning of the DRS was judged perfectly: It didn't make overtaking overly easy, but it allowed the cars to stick close to each other.

Fantastic drives from the McLaren and Red Bull drivers, Nico Rosberg as well. Not only was the fight for the lead great to watch, but it was extremely nice to see Seb defend and react maturely to Lewis's pass - he didn't panic by throwing his car at him (Hamilton); a probable sign that since winning the championship, he really has matured a great deal.

I'm an Alonso supporter, but boy was he anonymous in this race today and man, did Massa give him one heck of an a** kicking! Seriously, the most complete driver in F1 needs to re-work his starts (a similar problem for Schumacher in his early years) and his overtaking. I believe the latter is an area he hasn't excelled in since 2007 and it looks to be something he's wary of, by playing it too safe. So kudos for Felipe for maximizing his opportunities today.


I am not an Alonso supporter, he is normally worth 0.4 s/lap over most drivers including Massa. There is a little evidence his car was set up differently to Massa who was generally faster in all sections all race. Alonso's sector 3 speed trap was faster than Massa's but Massa's was faster in traps 1 and 2. Plus everyone is focusing on Alonso's DRS, I hope there is an investigation, not to penalize but to find out how and prevent it, because as James mentioned above this can be very dangerous and is a safety issue.


From James's april article


My reply to comment 43

"To me it looks like these new tyres don’t reheat very well, meaning it costs 1.5-2 seconds for a second stint on the refries. Surly all the teams will notice this and all the top teams will only do 1 flying lap in Q1 and Q2 thus saving virgin tyres."

Apparently McLaren and RBR noticed, Webber trying to save soft tyres in Q1 cost him the win as his 3 stop strategy, which he planned all weekend, was far superior to Vettel's 2 stop.

Congrats to Lewis and McLaren, but Lap 11

Webber was 25 seconds and 12 places behind Vettel. The difference between 2 and 3 stops was this much! How do RBR's Vettel, Ferrari and Renault justify the two stop strategy?

Mark's comments in the post race "I might as well skip qualifying and save Tyres" is pretty interesting. I think the teams can only afford to use 3 sets of tyres in qualifying otherwise the refry effect will cost them dearly in the race.


Agree. I think FIA will have to change the rules for Q3 at least so an extra set of options is made available for use just in Q3 itself, say, otherwise the final qualifying is going to be an anticlimax. There were already signs of this happening this time round.


Relatively few complaints about KERS, DRS and Pirelli this time. Is this because of who won the race?


You make a fair point. As a fan of Mclaren i'm pleased that they won today, but fans complaining about KERS & DRS because their favourite driver or team is not winning is unhelpfull. The next race in Turkey should produce its own overtaking without the DRS, but I suspect the complaints will start again after the Spanish GP, a place where overtaking was never great. No prizes for guessing where they put the DRS Zone either.


Awesome race,long live to F1!!!


Thank you Pirelli for transforming Formula 1! In 20 years of watching Formula 1 that's probably the best race I've ever seen. Regardless of whether it's too easy to overtake or not, you can't ignore the fact that with about 20 laps to go any one of 5 drivers looked to have a genuine chance of victory.

In previous seasons, the cynics would say the only part of a race worth watching was the first lap, because after that, the positions wouldn't change. Certainly even the harshest critic couldn't say that now! If the races continue like this, with the closing laps being the most critical part, then we are in for a sensational season!

Markin Brundell

Today we saw how DRS makes racing a movie(not a film!), but kills racing. Why should "the drivers that did everything correctly" be punished, is still beyond me. Take Vettel for example. He made a bad start, but that gives him "wings" after 2 laps. Lewis made a good start, but basically, was punished for that. Ridiculous. Why it is not time limited like KERS? I my opinion, it would make its usage tactical and fair too(not artificial, if you like).

About weaving and changing the line more than once. I think we saw it today. But didnt see penalties. When Lewis was given a penalty week ago, I thought "finally". If the rules are set, they should be forced every and every race, not dependant on how the wind currently blows.

The Alonso case...

I think disqualification for Alonso should be way to go, provided they really broke the rules.

Doesnt matter whether it was because the driver clicked too early or the system malfunctioned. Opening up the rear wing gives you an advantage. It was very tight between Alonso and Schuey at the end. Maybe it was that tiny gain which enabled Alonso to close the door in time during the last lap? Probably not. But if such thing is tolerated, we might well see it happen again in a more decisive battle.

Sigh. This race makes me wonder, why there is so much effort to make races exciting, while principal, primary issues to ensure credibility to racing and to the results, are not only unsolved but also sidelined.

Funny. Everyone else except me seems to have a real party here. But I have not lost hope yet. One day we will see racing again in f1.


You must have missed the Michael-Alonso, Lewis-Jenson and Webber-Kobayashi battles then, they were real racing at its finest. hell, Rosbergs move on Massa into the last corner was incredible.

Just because people were on different strategies doesn't make it false racing; with that logic Schumacher's win at hungary 98 was a joke too. The DRS was perfect today, all it did was negate the 'dirty air' effect; we saw plenty of cars not being to overtake easily due to it and even when some guys did get a good run in, good defending kept them the position.

Have to say james, Michael's defending was sublime today.


The DRS is limited to one straight I don't get your point. I wish KERS was unlimited.

I didn't see the weaving you are referring to today sorry. I am a Hamilton fan but the video evidence shows he changed direction a few to many times.

DQ Alonso? That is not going to happen, but it should have been issued and investigation for a potential safety concern.

Would you prefer the effort put into F1 to make dull boring races and if all the drivers race in the same regulations then why does todays result lack the credit it deserves?

Unless this message is a deliberate wind up it makes no sense, has no credibility and lacks sufficient background to be considered honest.

Markin Brundell

"The DRS is limited to one straight I don’t get your point."

That one straight has a meaning too. It is still the same, only the car behind can use it. This is where the problem lies for me.

"Would you prefer the effort put into F1 to make dull boring races and if all the drivers race in the same regulations then why does todays result lack the credit it deserves?"

Indeed, the rules are same for everybody. My whine was more triggered by personal views, of how I would like to see DRS implemented. Just like you came up with an idea of unlimited KERS or suggestion of playing on safety card with Alonsos case. That was emotional(insufficient backround?) too I would say, but Im not going to tell your opinion has no credibility at all or was made to wind up something.

By credibility thing I meant waterproof regulations in combination with waterproof stewarding. I really think it should come first, before thinking of setting up a show. If you find a way to quarantee cases like Massa overshooting his starting box at Spa(and getting away with that) or somebodys wing playing a trick never happen again, I cant see how it could make races dull-boring.


Don't understand your DRS point. The passes were not all DRS enabled, it was a really varied race

Markin Brundell

Im not from english speaking country(far from that)and not a journalist either. Forgive me if I failed to express myself clearly. I tried to give an example, what makes me think that DRS is not a good idea. I try again. Currently, nobody is giving 25 points for the last place and zero for the winner. That is right and sounds logic I guess? But DRS is something like that absurd scoring system I came up with, helping weak and disarming strong drivers.

Luckily most of the DRS passes were done at the very end of the straight and generally, the best car/team combinations still come on top. But the signal that you can gain by imperfections during some stage of the event(lets say, qualification), sounds strange or even destructive.

Never said the passes were all DRS enabled. But even if drivers don´t gain a place with DRS, they gain time. And this influences the outcome of the race, one way or another.


Are the people complaining about DRS the same ones complaining about boring races last 4 or 5 years ago? Which do you want? DRS is no more artificial than any other component, in fact it is only there to correct a flaw in the design of modern F1 cars - dirty air.

Some people could do with remembering what GPs from 60s-80s were actually like. Huge gaps between teams, unreliable cars and substantial differences in the driving characteristics of each car did more to confuse people's assessment of the driver's quality than DRS and Kers could ever do.


Well said!! It seems that people forget easily, or haven't really followed F1 for more than 5-6 years....However, i think that they will start to understand and appreciate this sport as time goes by.


Here's what I love about this season:

To win you need to have the best combination of: overall car, kers, strategy, flexibility, driver quality, pit stop times, qualifying strategy.

It makes every choice interesting. It rewards overall excellence and severly punishes mistakes.

Rubinho's Keyfob

Forget about "driver of the day", what about "mechanics of the day"?

Seriously, that was some outstanding work done by the McLaren garage today, under huge time pressure. To have swabbed out a flooded engine in the garage with seconds to spare, sending the car to the grid with the gearbox covers missing and then patching it up while on the grid - and then for the car to go on to win the GP, well, credit where credit's due, those guys did an amazing job.

To have done anything less would have robbed us of many exciting moments in a thrilling race (the first corner and the HAM move on BUT alone were wonderful moments) - so thanks to the guys at the back of the garage for their hard work today 🙂


Fantastic race - the credit goes to Pirelli who appear to have produced tires that have added to the sport. This makes one wonder what will happen in Monte Carlo with the super soft tires that are only supposed to be able to last 6 laps on a full tank of fuel. Top drives by Hamilton and Webber.

I also think the DRS has added to the sport. It makes it less likely that a slower car on a conservative strategy can hold up a quicker car on a more aggressive strategy. In years past the Ferraris would have held the field up for much of the race which would have played right into Vettel's hands. The ability of quicker cars to get past them allowed for a fair fight between the 2 and 3 stop strategies. Purists should be pleased with this.


[mod] There's no shame though in admitting you prefer a fireworks show to a pure sporting contest.


maybe ferrai was on 2 stop strategy bc they used one pair of softs in q1.all other big teams were on hard in q1..


Horner said on a two stop they missed it by 5s, I was just thinking Seb could have gone faster by a 2 tenths each lap to be on the safe side rather than crusing up front. Tyres wernt all that bad after his second stop. And whats going on with RB's KERS ? Its seems to malfuction midway through every race.


james, you didn't put up my comment! [mod]


No, because we've had enough of stuff which isn't constructive and yours was just empty negativity. It's got nothing to do with whether it's anti Alonso, Vettel, Schumacher, Hamilton etc, I don't care who it is, I'm just not going to accept cheap shots and pointless negativity about drivers or anyone else for that matter. If you don't like it start your own website and fill it with that kind of stuff. Or there are plenty of other F1 sites where you can go.


Thank you Sir,

Finally a site that is willing to dump the negativity some seem to feel the need to constantly spout.

These drivers and teams work incredibly hard, even HRT, and I doubt that any of us could come close to competing with them at this level.


Thank you Lewis, Seb, Mark, Jenson, Michael, the FIA, Pirelli, Nico, Felipe, Fernando... and a huge pat on the back to the brilliant combination of Martin and David in the commentary box bringing the race to life and making it so clear and exciting. I loved every minute of it. I'm not prone to blowing sunshine up the proverbial, but today was outstanding in every way and I'm properly grateful to you all for an amazing race. I love F1 through and through. Roll on the rest of the season! Thank you very much gentlemen for some top quality entertainment 🙂


DRS overtakes are the most boring overtakes, I've ever witnessed on any motorsport... it's so fake, that it completely puts me off the whole event.

Less aero and current tires are the only way to go. Kers and DRS are best left in the trash can.


Yes, but the point is that a lot of the overtakes were not DRS yesterday.


So maybe they should withdraw DRS and leave whatever was responsible for the overtakes. Interestingly Hamilton who was arguably the best overtaker last season has made very few DRS passes - in both Melbourne and Malaysia his DRS just couldn't do the job for him - found that such a paradox.


Things that made me smile about this race:

1) HAM winning

2) MAS beating ALO

3) WEB driving through the entire field

4) VET not winning another lights to flagger

5) Ted Kravitz recounting the story of BUT pitting in the RB garage

6) Imagining how far Montezemolo's toys were thrown out the pram as HAM went over the line


A lot has been said about Vettel's weaving at the start of the race to defend his line. Now even in the past, there have been instances of lot of movement by the drivers to defend places at the start, to even an off-track excursion by Kimi at Spa,2009 where he kept the place.

Given that, even the "move once to defend" was a gentleman's agreement between the driver's before being moved into the Steward's purview, is there an unwritten agreement that allows more weaving at the start of the race.

James, would like your views on this...


I replied to a similar question last week. It's impossible for the stewards to look at every sideways weave at the start. The rule about weave once to block works for a racing situation, but cannot be applied at the start with so much going on. That said, if someone makes a habit of it at starts then it would be brought up in FIA drivers briefing on Friday night and dealt with there. I don't think we've seen anything extreme enough to warrant sanctions this season. It is racing, after all


However, Schumacher did it more often than not when on pole, in his 7WC heyday. There was never a penalty, but for a polesitter to lurch across the track to block the P2 car is cynical in the extreme.

When I did Club racing back in the dark ages, I can remember 3 occasions where pole position drivers were penalised 10secs for deliberate blocking.

They used to claim that it was the enormous power of their engine that made the car leave the grid at 45degrees!

The Stewards usually said 'Bullshit' !


James, this seems a very contentious issue this year. I don't think it is clear to anyone what exactly constitutes "weaving": i) move once to cover and re-join the racing line, or ii) move once to cover and stay put (obviously both followed by turn-in)?


It seems to me that whenever Vettel is on pole his first thought is always to cut straight across the 2nd placed driver and not to focus on getting a good start. It's backfired on several occasions and I don't think it's necessary.

Also, I understand how difficult it would be to police the weaving rule at the start but I think Vettel is the only person doing it. Partly this is because he is starting from pole, but the movements down the field are generally to move out of the path of cars in front rather than into the path of cars behind.

Do you think that someone should have a word with him at least?


Yes, and thank you Pirelli for supplying a product that is creating such a great spectacle. And all this despite all the critics bagging you at the beginning of the season. Way to go!


Maybe I'm a bit harsh but I think Lewis' drive has been overrated.

Yes, he had a problem just before the race but these are professional drivers and I wouldn't expect them to be affected by it.

Jenson gave him room to pass into turn 1. Rosberg basically gave Lewis his position once he dived down the inside. The move on Massa was good but Massa was on 2 stops so he had less traction and Vettel was completely defenceless.

Webber was my driver of the day but I feel he could have won.


A great race to watch, but I still think we're getting slightly ahead of ourselves regarding a Championship battle. Red Bull, despite what Christian Horner said after the race, messed up Vettel's strategy.

He was ahead of the McLarens after the pitstops, and I know he was behind Rosberg, but he was on much fresher tyres after the later stop, and surely even on a three stopped it would have come back to Vettel near the end of the race (as it did for the McLarens).

I know this is all with the benefit of hindsight, but it strikes me as odd that, once they were ahead, the Red Bull team didn't just cover of McLaren's strategy. Especially considering we had already seen Vettel had the pace (he passed Hamilton on the track after all) so you would think they would bet on him to pass Rosberg later on, when, presumably he would have been on fresher tyres.

A great win for Lewis, and he took every opportunity, but really, Vettel lost this race as much as Hamilton won it. No discredit to Hamilton for taking advantage - that's part of being a great racer - but Red Bull are still, I think a cut above at this stage.


I agree that the RB car is a cut above, but their ability to develop KERS and sometimes their tactics are lacking.

If the rules didn't limit the KERS system as much as they do and some of the other teams had 10 or 12 seconds of boost per lap we might see RB in trouble.


Great race, and the key difference was that the passes were enabled by strategy decisions which were driven by tire choice/wear/grip, not DRS and/or KERS. James, in your pre-season you asked us to say what we thought the story of the season would be, and I said tires, and I hope this race is an indication of things to come.


Does any one know what happened with Lewis on lap 14? He started it as a leader but finished it behind Felipe Massa. Did Hamilton make unforced mistake of any kind or simply the Pirrellis reached the cliff on that lap? His previous lap was 2 sec quicker even though it was behind Button's car. Thanks.


I cant believe it. I'm currently in the U.S to watch a wedding and I was so tired I missed the GP though I am not sure my hotel has Speed TV. To cap it off I cant watch the highlights on BBC till I get back home.

Typical Lewis, you stay up nights on end to watch him and he doesn't then you take a race off and he goes and does this.


watch a wedding? What am I on about. I meant to attend a wedding.


same thing happened to me - only site i could follow the race on was F1Fanatic's live commentary with very patchy internet connectivity in the middle of where the satelites will NEVER have a footprint and then Lewis goes on and wins

Glory Kodzo Dzramedo

Hello James. I believe Vettel lost out because right at the start he was more concerned with Hamilton as he was more focused on preventing Hamilton from getting past at start which did not work as he was passed by Button and Hamilton. And there after the red bull team were still concerned with Hamilton which forced them to change to a two stop strategy.


Hello James! Just from my own observation. Why is Mclaren using it’s tires more during its first stint than Red Bull and Ferrari? Mclaren can’t usually push hard on a heavy fuel load because they have to look out for their tires more than Red Bull & Ferrari during the first stint? But after that, as the fuel load goes down, it seems they could manage their tires and be at par with these teams. It seems if Ferrari can unlock their qualifying pace, they could be a real threat on raceday. I might be wrong tho.

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