Lewis Hamilton breaks through in front of Nico Rosberg, as he is once more certifying his position inside the team. Sebastian Vettel is trying to threaten the first spots, but only finishes third in China.
Hamilton knows exactly what he’s got to do to blow his teammate away. This is, virtually, first goal for any pilot in Formula 1, but the present situation is slightly different. Mercedes is in command of the championship and if Lewis beats Rosberg, he is almost awarded with the title. His mind was set to prove he does not want to let any open road for Nico, that was clear right from the very start. The Brit places himself on the starting grid with the nose of his racing car pointed towards the inside of the track and conveys only one message: he is going to close on his trace at the start. Nothing that happens behind him matters.
And his start is flawless. All Rosberg can do is lump it and wait for the chance to pass by. He places himself behind Hamilton and Vettel is breathing down his neck. Ferrari has got a lot to prove. They are not the average squad of the past. The Scuderia is coming back and wants to fight Mercedes. And Raikkonen is showing it right after the start. Set off from the 6th grid spot, Kimi overtakes both William racing cars after the first lap and places himself behind Vettel.
The Italians’ strategy is based on a reduced tire wearing compared to that of the Mercedes, but Hamilton and Rosberg seem to brave out the damage of tires much better than they expected. Running the second stint on mediums, Lewis falls back a little and the racing battle seemd on again. But his decision was only based on tire preservation, in order for him to be able to push it in the end, in case Rosberg closed the gap between them. The gap between the two of them was 2 seconds before the final pit and it increased up to 6 seconds the moment Hamilton turned back on the racetrack.
Two laps before finish, Verstappen stops on the starting line, with his racing car bathed in smoke and the safety car is deployed. The time is too short to take the car out of the racetrack and the race is finished behind the safety car. It’s a Full House for Hamilton. Pole-position, fastest lap and a triumph for the Brit, while the other half of the garage is dipping into excuses and complaints.
The deployment of the safety car for the final lap had an important outcome in the Ferrari squad. Raikkonen closed in on Vettel and the third spot seemed to be at stake between the two of them, three laps to the end. But the fight never happened and Kimi must wait for one more week to prove he does not come second in the squad.
The people in Williams ran a solitary race with Massa in the 5th and Bottas in the 6th spots. Their pace is disillusioning, as they were a minute behind the leaders before the two laps run by the safety car. Romain Grojean follows them and manages to score for the first time after last year’s Monaco round. The 8th place was inherited by Nars after the incident that forced Verstappen out. Marcus Ericsson comes in the 10th position, thus Sauber manages to score with both cars. Ricciardo places himself in the 9th spot, after a race he was thrown back in the 17th place, after a terrible set off. The setbacks caused by the Renault power unit are still on in the Red Bull team. Kvyat abandoned race with his engine broken down, a similar situation as that of Verstappen and the contention between the Austrian squad and the French motorists will surely flame even more.
Sergio Perez misses to score and come in 11th, right in front of McLaren. Alonso finishes before Button, after the Brit holds Maldonado toward the end of the race and wastes time. The outcome was a tragic one for Pastor, as the Venezuelan was out for the third time in this season.
Carlos Sainz manages to get the 14th position, despite a spin and various malfunctions of the gearbox, while the last two spots are covered by the Marussia drivers, Stevens first, Mehri second.
The battle game resumes next week next week in Bahrain, final round before Formula 1 is coming back to Europe.
|9||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull/Renault||32.117s|
|10||Marcus Ericsson||Sauber/Ferrari||1 Lap|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India/Mercedes||1 Lap|
|12||Fernando Alonso||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|13||Jenson Button||McLaren/Honda||1 Lap|
|14||Carlos Sainz||Toro Rosso/Renault||1 Lap|
|15||Will Stevens||Marussia/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|16||Roberto Merhi||Marussia/Ferrari||2 Laps|
|17||Max Verstappen||Toro Rosso/Renault||4 Laps|
|–||Daniil Kvyat||Red Bull/Renault||Retirement|
|–||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India/Mercedes||Retirement|