Daily Archives: April 17, 2011

Chinese Grand Prix stats and facts

The Chinese Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel’s hopes for 5 wins in a row shattered. Here are some stats and facts from this weekend:

  • Vettel’s 18th pole position means he has as many as Lewis Hamilton, Rene Arnoux and Mario Andretti. It is also his 4th consecutive pole position.
  • Sebastian has now started exactly 40% of his career races from the front row, compared to Lewis Hamilton’s 41.89% and Michael Schumacher’s 42.28%.
  • Mark Webber’s 8th fastest lap was more than a seconds faster than any of his opponents. He now has the same amount as Gilles Villeneuve, Lewis Hamilton, James Hunt and Ralf Schumacher.
  • Hamilton’s 15th race win is one less than Stirling Moss.
  • Michael Schumacher’s 7th place means he has finished exactly 75% of his career races in the points (204 out 0f 272).
  • Felipe Massa, driving car number 6, has finished in 6th place in every single official session (FP1, FP2, Sat Practice, Qualifying, Race) this weekend, and is seated 6th place in the title standings.
  • Each driver on the grid has now finished at least one race. Unsurprisingly, the lowest classified finish so far goes to the HRT drivers, but Pastor Maldonado is next, with one 18th place to his name.
  • Vettel is the only driver who has been on the podium every race so far this year. Lewis Hamilton is the only driver to have taken a podium finish twice in 2011.
  • Sebastian has also led 74% of the laps so far this year – while his teammate has led none. Narain Karthikeyan has not gone higher than 20th at any time.
  • Paul di Resta, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Heikki Kovalainen, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg are the only drivers to have out-qualified their drivers in all 3 races so far.
  • Only the drivers from the top 3 teams have scored points in Australia, Malaysia and China.
  • With 23 classified drivers, the 2011 Chinese GP now holds the all-time record for most classified cars in a Grand Prix. The only retirement was Jaime Alguersuari.
  • Despie Rubens Barrichello’s 13th place finish, Williams have suffered their worst start to a season in their history.

Alonso bemoans slow Ferrari

Fernando failed to keep up with the McLarens and Red Bulls

Fernando failed to keep up with the McLarens and Red Bulls

Fernando Alonso has said that a 3-stop strategy would not have helped his challenge for a podium today.

Today’s Chinese Grand Prix saw a mix between 2 and 3-stop strategies, and Fernando finished down in 7th after a lacklustre performance. However, the Spaniard feels that the car simply isn’t fast enough, no matter what the strategy:

"It's very easy to choose the strategy when you have the fastest car and it's very 
hard when you are slow. Webber today showed qualifying is not very important.

The most important thing is to have a good tyre degradation and a good strategy, 
and this year we can overtake. As I say, the easiest thing is to have a quick car, 
like Red Bull, you pit three, two, one times and you end up on the podium.

We need to improve the car above everything. I don't think it would have changed 
much. We were much slower than the cars we had in front so we would ended up with 
a similar result."

Alonso also claimed that his race never had much potential:

"We just weren't fast at any point during the race and we kept on losing positions 
little by little.

Then we opted to go for two stops so it looked like we were in a good position 
during some points of the race and others where they were flying like bullets from 
behind. We had to try to hold on and finish the race in whatever position."

Fernando is currently 5th in the points standings, 42 points away from Sebastian Vettel.

Points standings after Chinese Grand Prix

Driver Standings

Driver Points
1 Sebastian Vettel 68
2 Lewis Hamilton 47
3 Jenson Button 38
4 Mark Webber 37
5 Fernando Alonso 26
6 Felipe Massa 24
7 Vitaly Petrov 17
8 Nick Heidfeld 15
9 Nico Rosberg 10
10 Kamui Kobayashi 7
11 Michael Schumacher 6
12 Sebastien Buemi 4
13 Adrian Sutil 2
14 Paul di Resta 2
15 Jaime Alguersuari 0
16 Jarno Trulli 0
17 Rubens Barrichello 0
18 Jerome D’Ambrosio 0
19 Heikki Kovalainen 0
20 Timo Glock 0
21 Segio Perez 0
22 Pastor Maldonado 0
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 0
24 Narain Karthikeyan 0

Constructor Standings:

Team Points
1 Red Bull-Renault 105
2 McLaren-Mercedes 85
3 Ferrari 50
4 Renault 32
5 Mercedes GP 16
6 Sauber 7
7 Toro Rosso 4
8 Force India-Mercedes 4
9 Lotus-Cosworth 0
10 Williams-Cosworth 0
11 Virgin-Cosworth 0
12 HRT-Cosworth 0

Hamilton snatches dramatic win in Chinese Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Chinese Grand prix, snatcing victory in the dying laps from Sebastian Vettel. Mark Webber was 3rd, after a heated dash through the field. Jenson Button was a potential winner, but a disastrous mistake at the pit stop left him 4th. Here is the full report:

Button leads from Hamilton, while Rosberg pressurises Vettel

Button leads from Hamilton, while Rosberg pressurises Vettel

At the start, Vettel got bogged down, while Button sailed into the lead. Lewis nearly hit the grass trying to get around the Red Bull, and overtook him at the first corner. Mark Webber only took one position from 18th on the first lap, while Kamui Kobayashi made a move on Jaime Alguersuari.

Mark got up to 15th within a few laps, but was quickly passed by Sergio Perez, as the Red Bull began to lose pace on the prime tyres. Jaime Alguersuari was the first to stop on Lap 10, but a badly fitted back right wheel caused it to fall off after a few corners, sening the Toro Rosso into retirement.

Webber and Schumacher, who had got up to 9th, stopped a lap after. Perez gained another place at the expense of Barrichello, while Rosberg stopped from 4th, who was holding up Massa and Alonso.

Button and Vettel stopped on Lap 13. However, Jenson made a howler of a mistake, when he tried to stop at the Red Bull pit box instead of the McLaren box. He never stopped, and got out of Sebastian’s way, but the damage was done, as he lost 2nd place.

Lewis stopped a lap after, and after being held up on track, lost the lead – but not to Vettel. Nico Rosberg’s early stop had paid dividends, and he was 5 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Webber was now up to 11th after his early stop, up against Kobayashi in 10th, who was suffering with nosecone damage. Di Resta and Sutil were 8th and 9th for Force India. Further up the pack, Alonso and Schumacher were battling for 6th place. After a few laps, Fernando muscled past the Mercedes. However, replays indicated that the Ferrari had used its DRS off the main straight.

Jenson stopped on lap 25, indicating that he was on a 3-stop strategy. Race leader Rosberg and Webber stopped one lap later. This left Sebastian back in the lead of the Grand Prix. Nico soon passed Alonso for 3rd.

The race leader soon suffered a setback, as his radio began to fail. His pace slowed slightly, as Alonso soon lost 4th place to Button. Vettel’s pace wasn’t good enough for his stint, so he stopped on lap 33 for a set of hard tyres, which left Felipe Massa in charge of the Grand Prix. He pitted 2 laps later, leaving Rosberg back at the top.

Hamilton and Button dice it out

Hamilton and Button dice it out

The McLarens were second and third, and hearts must mave skipped a beat on the pit wall when Hamilton dived down the inside of Button to snatch 2nd place. It was close, but both drivers gave each other room.

With his race compromised, Button stopped for the final time, taking on hard tyres, while Hamilton matched him a lap later, and he exited the pit lane in front of his teammate. Further back, Webber shoved his way past Michael Schumacher for 6th place.

In between all of the action, the stewards announced a drive-through penalty for Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver ran wide at turn 1 and slammed into Adrian Sutil, causing front wing damage to the Force India.

Nico was promising for a podium position, but a problem was apparent when it was revealed that he was running low on fuel. Backing off forced him to concede 3rd place to Hamilton. Lewis wasn’t happy with that, though, and soon pushed Massa aside for 2nd place. With only 10 laps to go, it looked as if the McLaren could challenge for the win.

Within a few laps, Lewis had completely eroded Vettel’s lead, and a fantastic battle for the lead emerged. Dives down the inside at turn 14 were fruitless, so Hamilton caught everyone out by taking Vettel halfway throught the lap.

Webber keeps Button at bay

Webber keeps Button at bay

With the lead settled, focus soon switched to Mark Webber, who had made a stunning comeback away from the cameras, and was now 4th. With Button concentrating on Vettel ahead, scintillating pace from Mark, as well as a wheel-to-wheel battle, put him in a podium spot, a massive achievement considering his 18th placed grid spot and poor tyre choice.

Jenson tried to dive back, and clashed wheels, but Mark held his ground for 3rd place. Lewis Hamilton took the race win by 5 seconds, to Vettel and Webber. Button was 4th, ahead of Rosberg and Massa. Alonso and Schumacher battled to the flag, while Petrov and Kobayashi got points finishes. Paul di Resta and Nick Heidfeld battled for 11th all the way to the flag, and clashed with 2 corners to go, which will be investigated after the race.

Hamilton wins, 5 seconds ahead of Vettel

Hamilton wins, 5 seconds ahead of Vettel

It was a fantastic race, action-packed from the very beginning, with a mix between raw pace and strategy. Ultimately, stopping 7 laps earlier was a mistake for Sebastian, and Lewis made many excellent passing moves across the day. Also, we cannot forget Mark’s stunning ascension through the field while under pressure.