Who will come out on top in Chinese Grand Prix?
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Apr 2014   |  12:09 pm GMT  |  175 comments

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix is always an intriguing race and strategy has played a significant role in the outcome in recent years.

Overtaking is easy here because of the longest straight in F1 at 1.17km, so teams can plan for the fastest strategy knowing that traffic will not be a huge problem. That said, the speed differential between cars due to the new hybrid turbo engines, could see cars with less straight line speed struggle to pass midfield cars with good straightline speed.

Unlike many F1 venues, where protecting the rear tyres is key to success, Shanghai is all about getting the front tyres at the optimum temperature, especially for qualifying.

A significant percentage of the lap time in Shanghai is spent turning.

There are two unusual corners, Turn One and Turn 13, which are long and drawn-out, Turn One being a 270 degree, tightening corner. This overstresses the left front tyre and this is the limiting factor in any strategy plan. Teams have a limited scope for working on set ups for this kind of circuit situation, so there are always question marks about how competitive a team will be over a race distance.

So getting the strategy right with the correct set up and an optimized plan for how to deploy the two Pirelli tyre compounds, soft and medium, over the 56 laps is essential.

Tyre degradation is not as high at Shanghai as the recent Malaysian Grand Prix, for example and the temperatures are always cooler; usually around 20 degrees. There is a chance of rain forecast for the weekend.

Track characteristics

Shanghai International Circuit; 5.45 kilometres. Race distance: 56 laps = 305 kilometres, 16 corners in total, a mixture of slow, medium and fast

Aerodynamic setup – Medium/high downforce. Top speed 322km/h (with Drag Reduction System on rear wing) – 310km/h without.

Full throttle – 55% of the lap.

Time spent braking: 15% of the lap. 8 braking zones. Brake wear: Medium.

Total time needed for pit stop: 22 seconds.

Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried): 0.34 seconds (average).

Form Guide

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix is the fourth round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship.

The season so far has been dominated by Mercedes, with pole position and victory in all three races. Mercedes powered cars have also performed well with Force India second in the Constructors’ Championship currently.

Red Bull and Ferrari have had mixed starts to the year and this weekend it will be important for both not to lose too much more ground to Mercedes before the European season starts next month. Renault says that its teams will be able to use the maximum potential of the engine this weekend for the first time, although still lacking power on the straights, it will make the engine more drivable, so the Red Bull should perform pretty well.

As far as drivers’ form is concerned at Shanghai; Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have both won the race twice, while Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel have also won in China.

Weather Forecast

It can often been overcast and cold in Shanghai and rain is quite common. The 2010 event was held in wet conditions, as was the 2009 edition. The temperature is forecast to be around 20 degrees, quite low by F1 standards and there is a threat of rain.

Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Shanghai: Soft and Medium.

This is the third time in four races that this combination of tyres has been used; only Malaysia saw a different selection.

The medium tyre is designed for use in lower temperatures and the soft tyre in higher temperatures, so we could see some graining on the soft tyres this weekend, as the cold tyres slide across the track surface in the long corners.

As with the previous races this year, establishing the performance difference between the soft and medium tyres will be the key to race strategy. We’ve seen teams paying the price for not doing enough homework in Friday practice – Williams in Bahrain being a prime example.

This dictates not only the fastest strategy, but also how long the stint lengths should be.

Number and likely timing of pit stops

Last year’s race was won on three stops, the 2012 edition was won on two stops.

Depending on what Free Practice reveals in terms of relative tyre compound performance, pre race predictions generally show that two stops is slightly faster than three stops and gives a driver track position over his three stopping rival after the latter’s final stop. But the danger is that the two stopping driver would be vulnerable in the last few laps on worn tyres.

The key to making a two stop plan work is not leaving yourself too many laps to do at the end on worn tyres. Kimi Raikkonen fell foul of this memorably with Lotus in 2012 and dropped out of contention in the closing laps. This year’s more robust tyres show a slight tendency towards one less stop than 2013, so China will be an interesting strategy challenge for teams.

While Mercedes have the upper hand at the moment and seem to be able to do the race on the minimum number of stops, Ferrari and Williams have higher degradation and it is hurting their race potential, despite both being among the faster cars in qualifying.

Chance of a safety car

The chance of a safety car at Shanghai is reasonably high, at 43% and there is an average of 0.7 safety cars per race. In the 2005 and 2010 races there were 2 safety car periods

Recent start performance of drivers

Getting a good start can make a huge difference to the way the strategy is managed and the final result, while a poor start compromises a race and makes it harder for the strategy engineers. As far as 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost (-) places off the start line this season as follows:

Gained places

12- Ericsson
11 – Bottas
7 Massa
6 Hulkenberg
4 – Kobayashi, Sutil, Maldonado
3- Chilton, Ricciardo, Bianchi, Gutierrez
2 – Rosberg

Net Held position
Alonso, Button [Perez– see Notes]

Lost places

10 – Vergne
4 – Vettel, Kvyat
2 – Raikkonen, Hamilton
1 Grosjean, Magnussen

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.
Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1
Bahrain notes: Vergne pitted at the end of lap 1 after contact

Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution by the mechanics and we have seen tyre stops carried out in less than two and a half seconds by F1 teams, although this year the emphasis is on trouble free stops and consistency rather than the fastest outright stops.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the recent Bahrain Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it.

1. Force India 24.440 seconds
2. Ferrari 24.457
3. McLaren 24.476
4. Williams 24.528
5. Mercedes 24.687
6. Red Bull 24.706
7. Lotus 25.032
8. Sauber 25.293
9. Toro Rosso 25.345
10. Caterham 25.367
11. Marussia 25.383

The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli.

For a useful at a glance info graphic with all the key considerations for the race, click here Infographic

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

This product includes two speed bumper boats, two remote controls,

car shop richmond va and two counts of burglary to a motor vehicle.

Carpeted car matsMore attractive are carpeted car mats, vinyl car mats inexpensively.

‘ A year, eighteen months went by, and they are better explained by a lawyer.

Once the detailing is through, you have to love

the noise that they make their final decision based on emotional values such as driving pleasure, craftsmanship and user-friendliness, he added.

kenneth chapman

With the margins enjoyed by mercedes during the first three races it is almost impossible not to believe that they will again dominate this race.

they will debut the new nose cone which by all accounts is radically different to the stop gap unit previously used.This, i have read, will give them another performance lift. If so then they may well be unbeatable.

the third place and beyond is where it becomes difficult to predict. i somehow feel as though vettel will do well here and ricci/bottas/magnussen/hulkenberg/perez will all be duking it out for the last points paying positions.

i would also very much doubt that we will get a replay of the last ten laps at bahrein or anything like it. that was a unique set of events that came together and i feel unlikely to occur any time soon.


I think victory will be served to Rosberg on a silver plate this weekend — for “the team work” much appricaited by Toto Wolff in Bahrain. By the way, would Rosberg on soft tires have had a chance to challenge Hamilton back in Bahrain if there was no Saftey Car?


I will be watching who is ahead of its driver compatriot in same team.

This is the best comparison of drivers in same machinery.

Safety car specially in later stages of race might be a lottery for some teams.


Presumably… the statistic of “Full throttle for 55% of the lap” was based on last year’s data? I’m guessing that this year’s power units will need more nursing round the track?


I think rosberg will win this and maybe a couple more races in the rest of the season (ala webber and barrichello) with hamilton taking the lions share of victories where merc dominate


Gotta love it that Maldonado has come out saying the drivers penalty system will ruin racing


Hahahaha – maybe it will for you pastor!


We’re really talking about who will be P3 yes?

Button or Ricciardo are the most likely contenders on pace if not results in the first 3 races.


Let’s not forget what Nico Rosberg said at the start of the season: speeds on the back straight could even be higher than in the V8 era. So those guys at the back need to be careful… all those renault guys.


China is turning into a good example about how you shouldn’t write a circuit off. It seems to be becoming quite a popular event, with a good local fanbase. Also it’s given us some pretty good races; before Bahrain 2 weeks ago, I’d say China 2011 was the best dry race in recent times. 2007 and 2006 were also hugely dramatic developments in tight title battles.

If there is a criticism it is that this is arguably this is one circuit where DRS doesn’t cover itself in glory because if anything it makes the overtaking too easy. Either way though the races tend to be pretty good and it’s carving a nice niche for itself.

The race will either be Rosberg’s or Hamilton’s barring a surprise event. More likely to back Hamilton in the wet, but 50-50 in the dry. Behind them will be really interesting – who’ll have the upper hand this weekend?


When I say “dry race” I also mean “dry qualifying”, which means I’m excluding the 2005 Japanese GP (a dry race which followed a wet qualifying) from my definition.


Probably the question to be asked should be “Who will come out third?”



It’s a tiny point, and I love the pre brief analysis – but the circuit map shows them only using 7th gear at the end of the straight – surely it will be all 8 gears this year?


Has the title of this story been translated from Chinese? Surely it should be “Who will come out on top in THE Chinese Grand Prix”?


have you never made a mistake?


Have you ever had a sense of humour…?




Hi James, can you explain the differance why the Mercs have such a power advantage over Renault and Ferrari Engines please?? Seems that the top runners are good with Aero, but the power differential is costing us the viewer of great races, there is fantastic racing from P3 onwards. I guess if you can answer this you will be hired by Renault…HEHEHE…Cheers

Craig in Manila

Who will come out on top in the Chinese GP ??

Seriously, seems like a pointless question/exercise as it’s kinda hard to imagine that the Merc Factory Team will have suddenly lost the massive advantage that they have over the other teams.


Some miscellaneous stats:

i) Since 1995, the only drivers to have won 3 consecutive races are Damon, Schumi, Alonso, Jenson and Vettel.

ii) Only once since Red Bull’s good run begun in 2010 has the team failed to win for a run of 4 races – German GP to Italian GP of 2012 – but they stand on the brink of that this weekend

iii) Ferrari have gone 17 races without a win, their worst drought since 1995/1996.

iv) Mclaren are now 21 races without a win, their worst run since 2003/2004 when they went 27 races without success.


McLaren’s worst droughts (GP’s are the bookend wins of each drought):

53 GP’s; JAP’77-GBR’81; 3 yrs 8 mos 25 days

49 GP’s; AUS’93-AUS’97; 3 yrs 4 mos  2 days

27 GP’s; MAL’03-BEL’04; 1 yr  5 mos  6 days

25 GP’s; MEX’69-ZAF’72; 2 yrs 4 mos 14 days

20 GP’s; JAP’05-MAL’07; 1 yr  5 mos 30 days

goferet, you forgot Hakkinen winning three straight from EUR’97-BRA’98.

Alexander Supertramp

Well, Brazil 2012-… is still counting. 22 gp’s without a win?


Yes indeed. Sorry, didn’t include the present drought in there, b/c goferet touched on it. And yes, it’s 22 (not 21). Their present drought (to Apr 18th) in terms of time is 1 yr 4 mos 24 days.

Alexander Supertramp

what’s the longest period without a win for Ferrari?


3 years, 10 months and a day. 59 Grands Prix, between Spain 1990 and Germany 1994.


59 Grands Prix, between Spain 1990 and Germany 1994. 3 years, 10 months and a day.


I’m surprised at Redbull’s pit stop times.

James are they one off pits stops or the average times?

Wow Force India, great job.


Fastest stop in Bahrain

They’ve been faster at other events


Dunno the order with the Mercs but prepare for them to be split by Vettel…….


? pick your poison.


Off topic sorry but I read F1 is considering bringing back active suspension 2017 how cool is that!!!!

Imagine the cornering speeds with the power units, mind you i also read the move is intended to replace other expense e.g removal of complex wings, so downforce maybe lost in other areas


Did Patrick Head suggest that…

Prost to come out of retirement with the Williams ’93?


That will save costs….not!


If active is back, perhaps Our Nige could make a comeback? He was mega in that 1992 FW14B! Nigel was taking Copse corner at Silverstone an amazing 25 MPH FASTER than his team mate Mr Patrese during qualifying for the 1992 BRIT GP!


Haha exactly…


James, looking at the track map, how accurate it is?

Particularly wondering why the DRS 1 zone is so far down the straight, and if those speeds and gear diagrams on the back straight are right.


The straight is so long that to have DRS available for the entire length is too much of an advantage.

Although, it is one of the longest detection-to-activation distances on the calendar.


It would take a brave (or foolish) man to bet on anything other than a Mercedes win!


LH to win. Nico to dnf


could be the other way around.


I agree. Not sure why, this is just the result I’m anticipating.




i hope nature takes it course and the winner is peppered in respect while the losers are peppered in sympathy.


… and Maldanado is peppered in carbon fibre.

Actually, I wish no ill of Maldanado, I just wish he’d take responsibility for some of his actions occasionally… a small wisp of smoke from the E22’s brakes would have been a nice thing to see as Esteban Gutierrez went airborne.


he’s teflon.

Michael Spitale

Am I the only one who is stunned how reliable the cars have been? I heard pundits say they thought as many as 14 cars would be out of race 1 and for the most part all 3 races have been very reliable.


Yup! I forgot about that one.

The 2014 Australian GP will put to shame the debacle that was the 2005 Indianopolis GP! Blah! Blah!


Which makes you wonder what Lotus are still doing wrong!


It wasn’t just pundits making those noises, in fact they were only repeating things that certain team principles were saying that have been strongly attacking this years formula because of their own agenda’s! Testing gave a good indication of the reliability of these cars. The only team’s that hadn’t completed race distances were RB and Lotus but RB’s recover has been pretty miraculous all things considering!


A pundit? Mistaken? Really?

I’m shocked.

Shocked, I tell you.

(With apologies to our host James Allen, since he usually doesn’t go out on such shaky limbs.)


that’s why i find it more interesting to talk about events which have actually happened rather than those which are yet to happen as the truth can only be obtained from events which have happened. the former is hot air.


we will have the privilage of seeing the race results on sunday morning. i can’t wait to see rosberg challenging hamilton again.


Maybe the question should be ” Who will come 2nd ?”;)


As a ham fan I dont think i can watch anotger 2 hours of battling, think ill need a few vodkas to get through it (although its a morning race here in UK so maybe not) 😉


c’mon man! vodka is the best breakfast drink there is!


Kimi has been having vodka to start the all his life, champion’s breakfast!


*start the day


It’s also a 4 day weekend, so maybe yes 😉


Would it not be better to judge the pitstops based on the average times from the previous race, rather than the single fastest time?


very true john, and the performance or the potential performance of the mechanics can be displayed by the average times the mechanics service the car rather than how long it takes for the driver to go into the pits and out again to rejoin the race. the latter means the driver’s input to get in and out of the pits is included.


@ JA

By all means add ‘average’ but please keep ‘fastest’ – it gives an indication of what they should be aiming for consistently.


I can understand including the drivers time in and out of the pits as that’s clearly an important part of ‘team’ (including driver) overall pitstop performance. I just don’t find showing the single fastest time to be that useful. Consistency should be just as important to overall results as headline grabbing speed.


that’s true but don’t forget that each track has a different pit entry and exit length whereas the box is exactly the same from track to track. to tell the story accurately, is best to eliminate factors which introduce error.


It’s a good point

We will consider it thanks

Alexander Supertramp


1. Lewis 2.Nico 3. Ricciardo


1.Lewis 2.Nico 3. Hulkenberg 4.Ricciardo 5. Button

For some reason, I feel Vettel is going to DnF..


Dan is driving beautifully at the moment but beating Seb in quali is a big ask. Having said that, I hope you are right.

Alexander Supertramp

Off course it’s a big ask, but he has done it two times already, both in dry and wet conditions!


Why is the number of gained places so much higher than lost places( 45 vs 17)?


Maybe you are comparing the list to the last few years when Webber contributed heavily to places lost 🙂


I think you’ll find Hamilton also contributed very heavily to the places lost list last year. In fact, he lost the same number of places as Webber did. Only 4 drives on the whole grid lost more places.


Because of the cars who hit trouble on the opening lap, which are included in the notes below


with all due respect, does that include hamilton who hit trouble with a piston misfiring as soon as the lights went out?


Hamilton and Vettel both had engine problems in Australia that are skewing their start stats.


Hamilton did not get swamped at the start, he lost a position to Rosberg at the start and Ricciardo during the 1st lap. He retired in lap 2 or 3.


Ok thanks, it probably be more representative IMO to leave out drivers who were proven to have a tech problem on first lap resulting with DNF e.g. vet or ham on OZ


Yeh i thought this was odd james, ham gained pos at start in bahrain, held pos in Malaysia, and lost i cant remember how many places in Aus due to tech fault, so how come he’s -2


Because of his position on opening lap in Australia


I have a feeling Rosberg will have an edge. He is a robot.

After the drubbing he got in Malaysia of almost 17 seconds, people were predicting that his confidence has been destroyed. Especially when his teammate got pole in Australia and but for a car malfunction, would have probably drove off into the Aussie sunset. Instead, Nico puts the car on pole in Bahrain and comes in second within a second.

He is closing the gap fast between himself and Hamilton and I think he will win the battle this weekend, if not the war.

Rosberg first, Hamilton second.


Rosberg studied Hamilton and could not beat him. Lets see what happens when Hamilton studies Rosberg.


Not really

In Bahrain, ROS studied HAM in sector 2, where he was being beaten and turned it around for quali, beating HAM to pole

He lost the GP at the start

He was quicker in the race as both men acknowledged


“Not really” Sorry James I must have got caught up in the moment I thought Lewis won that race.

Nico had the telemetry, he had the faster tyre, he had slightly better set up and the 10 sec deficit was wiped clean by the SC and still Nico could not get the job done. The question is why, where did Nico go wrong.


No, ROS was not quicker than HAM in the race. Lewis had enough margin until the SC


Do you think Rosberg’s tyre strategy was poorer than Lewis’s in Bahrain? (safety car aside).

There was chat that simulations put the strategies almost equal and it seemed the gap between the two tyre types was closer than first thought after practice.

But still, putting Rosberg on the slower tyre for middle stint when fairly heavy with fuel looked like a team decision to keep their cars apart after the first stop, particulary due to how much Rosberg pushed Lewis in the first stint.

Then again, Lewis deserved the pit undercut advantage as he kept the lead, but Soft, Soft, Medium seemed a more logical choice.

Wonder if these strategies and pit entry laps would have remained if Rosberg had passed Hamilton say a only a couple of laps before Lewis’s first stop was due!


It was designed to give him a chance in the final stint. He wouldn’t pass him with the same strategy would he?

The safety car helped him too.


Very interesting point about Nico be a Robot.

I suspect that this feature in his driving skills was what make him lost the Bahrain GP to Lewis. That race was all about creativity and racecraft — something that, after Bahrain, we all know how Nico lacks in comparision to Lewis


Tha’s why it’s an interesting pairing. The question is, what did the robot learn in Bahrain?

It’s funny, it was the same situation in Malaysia last year when Nico couldn’t pass Lewis despite the two DRS zones. He did the same strategy twice, passing on the first DRS zone, instead of the 2nd one. Lewis just repassed him on the 2nd one. You think, he would have learned the first time around. Maybe the robot have reached it’s intellectual capacity when it comes to racecraft.


I agree, Nico Ros does lack that “killer instinct” when it comes to aggressive cut and thrust racing. He doesn’t seem to have that “tiger” aspect to his overtaking.

Remember the 2010 AUS GP when Lewis drove around the OUTSIDE of that fast swoopy chicane at the back of the circuit? That’s called putting manners on a driver!

I think Nico is happier leading a race from the front. Unlike Jenson, Fernando and Sebastian he doesn’t seem to be able or actually like to battle his way through the pack, like Jenson did at Canada 2011 or Fernando at Valancia 2012, or even Mark at China 2011.

Harsh? Or truth? Probably a bit in between.


While I’m not Hamiltons biggest fan, I would have to say that he is driving beautifully at the moment. Rosberg is no bunny and never was but Lewis does seem to have him covered. The way he kept taking the lead position back off Rosberg last time out was driving at it’s finest. Taking all the circumstances into consideration, I would say it was the best driving I have seen. Of course I’ll deny it if I am ever reminded of this comment 😉


The SC saved Rosbergs blushes last time out. The gap. as 13+ sec at its widest.

It’s a great rivalry though, loved the after race interaction between the two after the race too.

Lets hope it stays that way – can’t help but feel the media want something to write about between these two and a friendly competitive relationship is not it.


Ironically, I am Hamilton’s biggest fan, but I really think that Nico and Lewis are very evenly matched and he just can’t seem to dispose of Nico’s challenge so easily. It truly is very close between the two and judging from last year, Nico is not easily spooked. He actually outperformed Lewis by the end of 2013.

But I’ll probably do the same as you after this weekend. Deny (P1,2,3), deny (Q1,2,3) and deny(Race) when Lewis beats Nico the whole weekend. 🙂


@ Nic and Gaz – That Monaco pole by Schumi in 2012 was spectacular. Especially, at 43. I would have loved to have seen him on the top step in Monaco in 2012. That would have been special.


@kbdavies & grat – Kindly read my comment correctly. “Nico outperformed Lewis BY THE END of 2013.”

I didn’t say he outperformed him the whole of last year. I’m sure everyone here would agree that at the tail end of 2013, Nico had more momentum and actually outscored Lewis in the last several races. I am merely suggesting that Nico doesn’t get frightened easy by a strong driver like Lewis. He might get beat soundly, but showed strong ability to compose himself and come back, like at THE END OF 2013.

I also made a point that Nico is slowly closing the gap this year after Lewis won pole in Oz and would have probably romped off in the distance by about 30 sec if it weren’t for a tech issue and after Lewis won pole again in Malaysia and humiliated Nico by 17 secs for first place. But Nico came back and won pole in Bahrain and then came within a second of Lewis for the win. Wouldn’t you call this closing the gap?

I know a Lewis comment always get hotted up but a little bit of calmness and objectivity will go a long way in this site. Let’s not turn jaonf1 into Crash.net. Heaven forbid.


Nico was driving a car he’d been helping the team develop for 3 years. The fact that Hamilton made it a race between them last year speaks volumes for Hamilton’s adaptability, although the extra two DNF’s did Rosberg no favors.


foreverf1 –

How exactly did Nico “outperform” Lewis last year? Lewis outpointed and outqualified him. Even if we add up Nicos’s 3 DNF’s based on the positions he was in when they happened, and minus it from Lewis’s DNF based on the position he was in when it happened, Lewis still comes out on top.

The only reason Nico won 2 races last year was Lewis’s delamination at Silverstone (a race he would probably have won) and Vettel’s retirement from the same race; leaving Nico to inherit the win.

Simply put, Lewis beat Nico in a car and team designed around him for the past 3yrs. And he did it in his first year there. Now, that is outperforming; but the other way around.


RE NickH: You’re right Nick, that’s why Autocourse in 2012 didn’t feature Nico Ros in their top 10 drivers of the year as the editor said he was not worthy of a Top 10 ranking because he was out-paced by Michael too often!


What’s even more amazing is that Michael was actually the quicker Merc driver in 2012 (not reflected in the points, I’m not going to mention all the mechanical problems that affected Michael). Rosberg’s now proven quality up against Lewis shows Michael wasn’t too shabby even at 43!


This one is Rosberg’s to lose.It is one of his favourite tracks.Also it would be interesting if Merc go for split strategy…Remember last year? Vettel almost snatched the podium from Lewis…:)


its time for nico to show lewis who is boss , I think he could have had him last time but he need to keep his foot down and force Hamilton in second place and stay there, or he will be number 2. . . not advocating accidents but come on he lifted a couple of times when he shouldn’t ( or lewis wouldn’t have)


Rosberg’s mistake was not the lifting when on the outside of Lewis, it was because he kept going to the outside and also when he overcooked his overtake down the inside.

Needed to take lessons from Perez, on Hulk etc, he never forced Lewis to lift or hesitate getting back on the throttle by the corner apex.


He lifted?!? Where oh where did he lift??


Hmm, never saw an instance of that in the race. I did see where Nico had to whip the steering wheel to the left for a fraction of a second, as Lewis switched back on him into Turn 2. That was the time where Nico got on the radio afterwards. He sure as hell didn’t lift there.

If you’re saying out of Turn 4, when Lewis closed the door on him, that was just common sense driving from Nico. As Nico said today, if you’re on the inside for a corner, you’re the boss. In both instances where Nico went off track a little, he was on the outside.


he lifted when otherwise he would have lost his frontwing and lewis would have had a puncture. in that case ,sure he would be back in the pits before lewis .. . .


He already showed him, in Barahin


I think Lewis has shown Nico who is boss and you cannot have 2 bosses driving both cars.


If it rains, I can see Ricciardo winning his first race. The Red Bull is mighty aerodynamically and his confidence is soaring. Plus, it would add fantastic spice to the championship and add a few beads of sweat to Mercs currently unblemished foreheads.

Fernando "150%" Alonso

With Dan leading the Bulls charge, i have to admit i will love to see RedBull challange Merc for the win. I just can’t belive i just said that 😀


I would love to see anything challenge the Merc, so far it’s only been the Safety car and that’s another bloody Merc!!!


Mercedes will still dominate the race in the wet. In quali if it’s wet it might be close


He was awesome in quali in the wet in Melbourne, hopefully that will transfer to a wet race. Would love to see him win like Schumacher did in the pouring rain in Spain 1996. The dominance of the Williams Renault were finally put to a halt.


That truly was a mega drive from Michael at Barcelona 1996. He was FOUR seconds a lap faster than any other car, all fitted with Goodyear’s excellent “Quattro” rain tyres. FOUR seconds a lap.

Michael’s drive at Spain 1996 with out of the same box of Senna Portugal 1985, Lewis Silverstone 2008, JY Stewart Nuburgring 1968 or Villeneuve Snr Watkins Glen 1979. All of them were just in a different league on a wet track.


After Hamilton and Rosberg crash at the first corner, Hulkenburg will get his first, overdue win.

If the crash doesn’t happen, my money is on Hamilton.


If they do crash into each other at some point, who do you think is most likely to be the main cause of the crash, Ham or Ros?

Ham looked a tad more agressive with his swipe in the last race. Or is it just Rosberg showing weakness perhaps being more likely to back out of a pass round the outside or overshoot a pass down the inside.

My money is on an incident being triggered by a team strategy decision that one of them feels gives an unfaif advantage. Monaco could be very interesting 😉


Hamilton, followed by Rosberg, followed by A.N. Other. Exactly how it is going to be for the rest of the season. Who says f1is predictable? Still the battle for 4th to 10th should be exciting.


Who’s A.N.?


Any other driver coming in third, so far: Magnussen, Vettel and Perez


Actually,Magnussen finished second in Australia and Jenson finished third. So far only in Australia, we have seen a non-merc 1-2


Actually, it’s now officially Button, Vettel and Perez. RIP to RIC’s P2 …


Oh, and he’s talking about Newey of course!


4th to 10th?

Come, watch F1 and see the amazing 4th through 10th finishers! 🙂


Hopefully Ferrari will bring a software update here to give them better drivability as they are destroying their rear tyres and around this track they will really suffer.

Nico has always been strong here so I look forward to another close race between the pair and hopefuly another Bahrain, although with 2 DRS zones I hope overtaking isn’t too easy.


Ferrari’s software update: Windows XP.


XP works, i think they have gone down the OS/2 line and reached the end.


Won’t Ferrari be bringing a TP Update?

That should help!


I’m not sure why but trying to imagine 0.7 safety cars per race does make me chuckle.


Just as long as its sound is 0.7 x !


Mind you looking at Jenson, Adrian Sutil and a few other drivers at the minute I would say they are only 0.7 of a person……….

Have some chicken fried rice with curry sauce and chips after the race lads!

Fernando "150%" Alonso

Try to imagine taht every three races we have two safety cars 😉


Some China stats:

i) Ferrari 4 wins, Mclaren 3 wins, Red Bull 1 win, Renault 1 win, Mercedes 1 win.

ii) No driver has won the race back to back

iii) Alonso is the only driver to have won in different teams

iv) Most successful poles: Lewis & Vettel 3 poles, Alonso 2 poles

v) 5 out of 10 have won from pole.

vi) No driver has won more than once from pole

vii) Drivers that got their first win on a rainy day & haven’t been able to win in the dry since >>> Schumi, Kimi, Vettel, Jenson.

viii) Ever since the race was moved on the calendar in 2009, whoever has won the race, hasn’t gone on to win the title.


Chinese GP winners’ grid slot:

1st – 5

2nd – 1

3rd – 2

5th – 1

6th – 1

Pole man has podiumed in every GP except for two – Lewis in 2007 (DNF), and Vettel in 2010 (6th).

Lastly, I’d expect that the race distance for the Chinese GP is the closest to the 305 km minimum, at just 66 metres over (305.066 km).


“iii) Alonso is the only driver to have won in different teams”

Just looking at the current drivers and it seems to me (and I stand corrected as usual) that only 5 have won on any circuit in different teams. HAM-ALO-BUT-RAI-VET. Seems a little light on.

Only 7 have won races at any time. The above list plus ROS-MAS. Surely it’s time someone else stepped up and joined that elite list.

Which current driver do you think will be the first to join the other 7 in winning a GP?


A maiden GP winner? At present it would require both Mercedes’ drivers not finishing. But best bets were that to happen are Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, and even Magnussen.

How about maiden podiums? Magnussen has his already, but surely Ricciardo and Hulkenberg aren’t far behind. Bottas too.


didn’t you forgot MAL in spain ?

MAL means Evil in French…Lotus is kind of French…is there a link somewhere here ? 🙂

Poor PAstor, he may be remembered more for his crashes than for his “drive of a lifetime” in spain ( yet another “out of space” one shot that gave Seb the title in 2012…and they say ALO is all Luck)


RIC is the best bet because of the RBR, but I would not count out HUL in a rainy race or even PER in an odd strategy call

All of the above is assuming both Mercs are out of contention

Alexander Supertramp

Ricciardo. He’s fast (I underestimated him) and he drives a RB, so it’s a matter of time. And then there’s Kevin. I’m looking forward to Mclaren’s performance, they’re supposed to have a nice aero upgrade.


Surely the new boys in the big teams are a good shout for joining the GP winners list – although depending on pace relative to mercedes! If I was to bet, I would put Ricciardo most likely to be first new winner, Magnussen or bottas as other contenders.


@ Glennb

You are quite right but as always, machinery helps and as it is, the best drivers end up in the best machinery.

As for the drivers on the grid to have won, you forgot good old Maldonado.

Now my pick to join the elite is of course Riccardo in that super machine that is the Red Bull.


Spain 2012 was a group hallucination, I’m beginning to doubt it ever really happened.


Ahhhh, yes, I forgot MAL. Apologies to him.

I would agree that RIC is in a beautiful position to pick up a win in the near future. Time will tell as they say.


@ Gaz Boy

Lol… With that #13 on his car, all we can do is pull out our prayer beads


Let’s hope Pastor doesn’t turn into a torpedo going into the hairpin at the end of the back straight!!!


Who will go well in Shanghai?

Well the circuit is a front limited track, meaning any cars potential is limited by the amount of understeer it generates. Limit the front tyre sliding reduces “graining”, meaning better wear life. I have to assume Mercedes and Red Bull are doing good business on that front, perhaps Williams as a dark horse?

It’ll be interesting to observe the high speed downforce generated in that fast turn 7/8 swoopy chicane; a car with good high stability there should be good at Barcelona and Silverstone in terms of generating high speed efficient, clean downforce. We’ll see.

After looking at some pictures, I think Lewis is using a technique used by Keke, Our Nige, Michael and Mika: to get more rear end to balance out the understeer, Lewis is trail braking up to the rotation point, which keeps the weight on the nose, therefore reducing understeer (which Lewis hates). I remember watching Mika through the Luffield section at Silverstone using this technique in 2001, to great effect – he won the race!

In theory, a quick car at Shanghai should be good at Barcelona, as the Spanish track is also a front limited circuit.



Here’s a good read about what Paddy thinks about Lewis’s driving style ever since he tested with Macca. The title might be misleading but just read on.



RE ForeverF1: Thanks! I was sort of right………Lewis probably is using trail up braking to the rotation point after all!

This is an excellent article, the only thing being it is slightly out of date in so far as Sebastian uses a similar technique, using pre-apex oversteer to “back” his Red Bull into a corner.

Theoretically, Lewis and Sebastian would be ideal team-mates in terms of their over-lap in driving technique.



Nice! Very well explained.

I’m getting used to the new cars this year, especially, as it is turning out to be a driver’s car. I love the twitching, growling, the nervousness, extra torque and dare I say, the numerous lock-ups of the new cars. Makes for exciting viewing.


RE ForeverF1: I put a post on this excellent website about Sebastian’s technique.

In case you didn’t see it, Sebastian sets his car up for oversteer, and then when the sliding rear end comes he actually uses a dab of throttle – which of course, is counter intuitive to most drivers – to get ride of the oversteer. With his car therefore sliding into the apex, it is therefore pointed straight and early, he can then get on the throttle earlier than most drivers – including Mark, because Mark, lost most drivers, will use the brakes to eliminate oversteer, not more throttle!

This technique of using pre-apex oversteer to back the car into the car is very similar to what motocross riders use on the dirt tracks, pretty much a 4 wheeled version with Sebastian effectively rotating his car using the rear axle.

Nigel, Michael and Mika had very similar techniques, and Lewis is of the same ilk. They are effectively steering the car with the rear axle, using the throttle to generate oversteer that allows the front of the car to pointed early out of the apex.

It’s an amazing technique, and you are spot on in saying only really Lewis and Sebastian can master it! It sounds easy, but many a driver cannot live with pre-apex oversteer, but if you master the technique, it does allow for outrageous early throttle out of a corner.

PS Check out Lewis and Sebastian’s technique at Turn 1/2 this weekend – a good idea is to use a slow motion video to spot the oversteer pre apex and Lewis and Sebastian’s response to it.


Wow! You’re a total gear head. I just understood half of what Paddy said while you added to it some more with the Seb analysis.

I’m glad you enjoyed it.

I am salivating at the prospect of Lewis and Seb in the same car. Austin 2012, perhaps.

This is why I respect Lewis so much, he is the only driver in the current crop who has teammed up with the previous year’s champion and did amazingly well against them. And he did it twice. A third one would be unbelievable.

Seb will be much harder to pip than Rosberg, though, just because Vettel has something that Nico does not have, a dark spot in his heart. Nico’s too nice on the track.


I know this is completely unrelated to China, but is related to F1, so I’ll ask it.

I was watching some BBC Classic F1 from 1979 (Belgium) and noticed that the ugly Ferrari 312 T4 had inboard rear brakes – it still won the race in the hands of Mr Scheckter.

Which made me think, are inboard brakes banned? And if so, when were they banned?

I would imagine that the advantage of running inboard braking systems is the reduction in unsprung weight on the axle, but as carbon fibre discs are featherweight this advantage is practically denuded. And of course, inboard discs require a brake shaft to the end of the axle/hub, and of course, where does all that heat build up go from the discs? Straight on the gearbox?????

Ah the 70s, not only high inflation (At the 1977 Argentine GP, inflation in Buenos Aires was 500%!!!), sky high fuel prices, football hooliganism, rubbish music, three day weeks, everybody on strike, rubbish in the streets, awful fashion sense and crap cars, but some hair brain ideas on F1 cars – although I will admit, I do like the quilted jackets the F1 teams/personnel/camera-men used to wear – the only piece of 70s fashion that isn’t extreme.

Oh, and don’t forget in F1 6 wheeled cars (Tyrrell 1976-77) and a giant fan rotating at the back (Brabham 1978) – imagine if that fan came adrift? The poor driver following would have his head sliced off!


Ah yes, a time of actual *innovation in F1, not like today’s “design-not-to-lose” mindset.

And leave my fashion sense out of this!


RE Rich C: Have you seen the “sartorial elegance” of the likes of Jackie S, Emerson, Niki, a young Luca, James H, Jody, Super Mario, Regga, Chunky Chapman, Carlos Reutemann, Gordon Murray and a certain Mr Ecclestone? Argh! Avert your eyes!

There’s some photo of the F1 paddock from a hot sunny day at I think Austria, Germany or Holland from the mid 70s, anyway, full of hot pants, high heels and skimpy tops. And that was just the men!!!


@GazBoy.. you should have seen my wardrobe when I moved to London from Oklahoma in ’73: double-knit suits – they travel *really well which I needed – and browns etc but my fav suit was no kidding a butterscotch-colored plaid that you could see coming for a mile. The chicks dug it but the lads.. well I was big and mean-looking so I only got a few odd looks. Then I got all conservative and started buying business attire down on Savile Row, so you *know what that looked like.


Rich C: Argh no, not the concorde collared shirts and the flares! Not the bloody flares! That’s all you see in a picture of F1 mid 70s is those awful polyester open necked shirts and brown flared trousers! Ugh! Even DC’s white jeans are better than F1 fashion circa the 70s!


The first car to use inboard brakes was the Lotus 72 (to the best of my knowledge, but goferet might prove me wrong), it also was the first car to have radiators at the side pods instead of the nose

It had some neat looking cooling ducts at the front, and at the rear there was no bodywork in those days

The shafts were troublesome from time to time but were reliable enough to hand Jochen Rindt its only WDC, after he had passed away in Monza


@ ferggsa

Lol… Unfortunately I have no idea about brakes and all that.


Inboard brakes are indeed banned, they were the cause of Jochen Rindt’s fatal crash at Monza when a brake shaft failed.


PS – the old Prancing Horse, she ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be………


Oh that’s good.

With Renault promising a fully working engine plus Ferrari having promised some upgrades for this race, am hoping we shall have a competitive weekend.

But seeing as it tends to rain in China, am expecting an all out carnival like what happened in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 >>> all classics by the way.

Meanwhile with the exception of 2005, we have tended to get surprise winners in China for instance Lewis was expected to wrap up the title with a win in 2007.

Inversely, Lewis was expected to fold under the pressure in 2008 after a dismal Japan.

So all in all, am expecting the unexpected this weekend.

Fun fact:

Apparently because the Chinese Grand Prix was losing money every year, the organisers refused to renew the contract in 2010 that is till Bernie allowed to decrease the licence fee.


I’m genuinely beginning to doubt that we’ll see a competitive race this season, outside the two Mercs.


C’mon James, “who will come out on top in China”???

I know ur trying to build up some anticipation, but this is a Slam Dunk, 1-2 for Mercedes.

Doesn’t matter how much Renault turn up their engines, the first 3 races would have easily been a 1-2 for Merc, barring Hamiltons DNF in Aus. Mercs pulled out a 2 sec per lap margin in pure pace over the last 10 laps of Malaysia, despite them racing eachother! When u have that kind of performance advantage, you can afford to choose any strategy and make still pull off a 1-2.


What? You’re bored alraedy?


Merc1/2 season over !


Did you guys hear about this letter?


I’d love to see the text of the letter. Well, well, well, looks like the ‘minnows’ are organizing themselves as well.


This has been brewing for a while – I commented on this matter to Gaz, only a few days ago. The F1 Strategy Group is almost certainly a breach of EU competition laws but, up to now, the teams have stopped short of a legal challenge – I suspect because they are frightened of Bernie. Maybe with Munich just around the corner they are feeling a bit braver 😉



I honestly care extremly little about them. …(sic)

Forgive me if this appears to be pedantic, but weren’t you arguing the exact opposite just a while back? Do you remember? Let me jog your memory – Kimi threatening legal action over his unpaid salary and you arguing passionately how this would be bad for F1 as we would likely lose a team from the grid.

As for why the minnows continue to race, you’ll have to ask them. I guess it’s in the hope that one day they won’t be a minnow.

It’s a good question when you think about it. I mean, why does any athlete compete? They can’t all win. Take your example of 100m athletes. How many 100m sprinters turn up for the Olympics – I don’t know, but I am guessing 40+, there are only 3 medals up for grabs and, barring a miracle, they all know who will win those 3 medals. Yet still they train just as hard as the winners, do their stretching and warm up before the race, run their hearts out and it’s all for nought, as the results are a forgone conclusion 🙂

Any psychologists out there got any thoughts on this?


Go ahead, bite the hand that feeds you, even if it feeds you crumbs.

Let’s be honest C63, no one is forcing these minnows to participate in F1. I understand their struggle and call for fairness. But honestly, who in their right mind calls up a meeting and says “Let’s start an F1 team, we need 250M and we’re going to finish P16/P17 for 5 years straight.”

It makes no sense to me that these guys hang on just to participate. Unless Bernie is such a cool guy to hang out with and call your friend that it’s worth the wasted money and resources.

If you and I were to race top 100m sprint pros, and we’d get our butts handed to us, would we keep showing up weekend after weekend to keep getting our butts handed to us? How long before you’d say, “I’m going for a nice drive in my C63.” or “I’m going for a nice jog in the park instead.”

I don’t understand these small teams who are basically “extras” on a set filling in empty space between the real scenes and battles. If that is all they are and all they can hope to be, there has got to be a cheaper better way to fill in that empty space on track and in the garage. Customer cars? 3 or 4 car teams? Caterham fighting to finish P12 or whatever it was so they can finish 10th in the standings to get some cash…pathetic.

So, I understand the problem, but I see little simpathy coming their way. I honestly care extremly little about them. I would if it was my money they were wasting finishing P17, but it’s not. So keep on burning those little stacks as sacrifice as to not agner the Gods of F1.


If you were a huge multi national company and were approached by a F1 team would you be interested in sponsoring them?

There is perhaps a good opportunity for Ferrari to get Dyson Vacuum cleaners on-board but otherwise… why? It’s not cutting edge, it is hardly a sport, it doesn’t command a regular time spot on tv and unless you are on a Merc your name is associated with losing. The boss is corrupt, the fans are sick of it and Ferrari v Mclaren is in the distant past.


Everything you say is true of course. But here is the thing about F1, everything opposite of what you say is also true.

ERS V6 racing engines are cutting edge even if they sound like an elderly gentlman wheezing, you need to have skill and fitness to participate and it is physically demanding to handle those G forces, it is a world wide sport so needs to move around the time slot to accomodate the world, sure Merc is fast but RBR just came off 4, Ferrari has one plenty in the 14 years of the millenium, Bernie is slick and put together one heck of a calendar and assortment of venues.


About time! I realize Williams is in the Strategy Group, but still I would think they should support this.

Of course the other lower midfield team, STR, is under the thumb of RBR, so wouldn’t sign.

Who is privy to the prize structures, overall (from Bernie’s FOM), and at each race? I can google ‘Wimbledon Prize Money’ and instantly get the prize payouts, for 2013 and 2012, for everyone from the champions right down to the first round losers. Why not with F1?


Well, it doesn’t have to be a ‘budget’ series, but then you’ll lose a bunch of the grid. If there were absolutely no rules on what teams could spend, you would end up with 3 teams spending a ton of money, running 6 cars each. I don’t think we want that, so there has to be some line in the sand. The equivalent in the ‘real world’ would be anti-trust laws that stop any Big Corp’s out there from gobbling up any and all competition. That’s done b/c we know that competing businesses are always better for a consuming public.

I hear ya on policing costs, it’s like nailing jello to the wall.

But the prize structures should be public, and they should be less top-heavy (as we assume they are). Also it’s ridiculous that we might have 12 teams next year, but only 10 will qualify for payments?

The FIA/FOM should go through all the info they have, with the stance that any info should be made public unless there are pressing reasons why it shouldn’t be. A “sunshine” exercise, if you will.



Why does F1 need to be a budget series?

I understand that in the end most professional series have implemented a caps, but there is no possible way to do a cap in F1.

Think about it. MB could agree to a cap and have their company R&D trip up on an invention that was paid for and filed under road car development. Yet if this invention is going to make them ultra competitive, they pass on the info and all the cost of R&D is not visible. Yet all the other teams would need to invest that cost to develop the same solution to be able to compete, and they’d have to do so under the cap.

Or RBR could be developing a new ERS unit to use in the manufacture of thinner stronger cans when they discover – hey this could make our cars go faster. Email this info to Newey, no charge.

McLaren come up with something for use in their road cars, but blend the R&D cost down and split it between F1 team and road car division as both benefit. How can a team that has no raod car division split the similar cost of R&D, production, development to compete?

If you’re in F1, and you’re rich, you can set up a program that will provide R&D and ideas not under the F1 umbrella as a hobby. FIA can’t tell you how to spend you money outside of F1 if you’re DM for example. But what is to stop any team from adopting ideas developed elsewhere under their own investment?

Bottom line, F1 is always a money sport. Usually if not nearly always biggest wallet wins. Look at Mercedes, they opened up their wallet HUGE, and where are we today? Only a bigger wallet will be able to challange them. And it appears that like wallet is RBR.


Have to say I saw this comming

What the top teams and FIA want will never marry with the bottom feeders,

Cant see it lasting myself, how can you have a level playong field if the better funded opposition makes the rules


I can’t see a cap being enforcable in F1.

Only way is for a manufacturer to make the car, and give the same exact car to all teams. That controls cost, would be “fair” and “sporting”.

But….it’s NEVER going to happen.


*playing field


Wow! Someone out-foxed Mr E over a financial matter? That must be a world first! The Guinness Book of World Records must record this incredible fact!

Actually, I’m being flippant (really?) because I do know when Niki Lauda was, ahem, negotiating with Mr E over a Brabham contract for 1978 (Niki was at Ferrari at the time) the wily Austrian said he wanted a salary for a million quid. Mr E said “get stuffed Rat!” or words to that affect, but in fact Mr E was bluffing, Niki was always one step ahead of Mr E when it came to dosh, and guess what? Mr Lauda got his £1 million salary for 1978.

Putting on over Mr E? It can be done!


@ Gaz Boy

Ha, Lauda is a hero. Not many people have medals at home as proof they got one over Bernie especially in his latter days as he appears to have gotten harder with the passage of time.

Top Tags
SEARCH Strategy
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!